Thunder Basin sophomore forward Cena Carlson was selected as the 2021-22 Gatorade Wyoming Girls Soccer Player of the Year on Thursday.

In its 37th year of honoring the best high school athletes in the nation, The Gatorade Company announced this year’s winner.

Carlson is the second winner from Thunder Basin High School. She joins Grace Roswadovski, who received this same honor during her senior season at TBHS in 2018-19.

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Cena helped the Bolts win the Class 4A state championship this spring and to a perfect record of 18-0. Carlson scored 24 goals and dished out ten assists. She finished with a total of 58 points. That’s an average of 1.5 goals and 3.6 points per game. The 5-7 sophomore forward is a two-time first-team all-state and all-conference choice.

Carlson has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her junior year of high school this fall. A devoted member of her church youth group, Carlson has volunteered locally on behalf of a vacation bible school as well as Blessings in a Backpack, which mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school-aged children who might otherwise go hungry.

Campbell County head coach Stephanie Stuber provided some high praise for Carlson in the release from The Gatorade Company.

“Cena Carlson is a game-changer, for sure. She has the mindset to find the back of the net and is electrifying with the ball at her feet. She always makes things happen on the field.”

This award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. It distinguishes Carlson as Wyoming’s best high school girls soccer player. She is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced later this summer.

Carlson joins recent Gatorade Wyoming Girls Soccer Players of the Year Emily Taucher (2020-21) from Rock Springs High School, Alyssa Bedard (2019-20) of Rock Springs High School, and Laramie’s Lexi Pulley (2016-17 and 2017-18), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Carlson has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Carlson is also eligible to submit a short video explaining why the organization she chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants has totaled more than $3.5 million across 1,300 organizations.

Information from a release by The Gatorade Company was used in this story.

Thunder Basin at Laramie Girls Soccer

No. 1 Thunder Basin played at No. 5 Laramie in girls' soccer on April 1, 2022.