For the Reporter
Auburn Riverside’s Calley Heilborn has been named the 2017-18 Gatorade Washington Volleyball Player of the Year.
Heilborn is the second one in her family – and from the high school – to earn the state honor. Older sister Carson, who is coming off a solid junior year with the University of New Mexico’s volleyball team, received the award following the 2014-15 season.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Heilborn as Washington’s best high school volleyball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Heilborn joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kayla Banwarth (2006-07, Wahlert High School, Iowa), Alisha Glass (2005-06, Leland Public High, Mich.), Jordan Larson (2004-05, Logan View High, Neb.) and Foluke Akinradewo (2004-05, St. Thomas High, Fla.).
The 6-foot-1 senior outside hitter led the Ravens to a 23-1 record and a second-straight Class 4A state championship this past season. Heilborn recorded 484 kills, 366 digs, 60 assists, 45 blocks and 34 service aces while posting a kill percentage of .403. The Player of the Year for both the Tacoma News Tribune and Seattle Times, Heilborn was also MVP of the state tournament for a second straight year. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 1,394 kills and 1,189 digs.
Heilborn has donated her hair to make wigs for people working through health challenges. She has also volunteered locally designing sets for elementary school plays and as a coach for youth volleyball, basketball, soccer and tennis players.
“Calley is such a great all-around player who brought poise and power,” said Liz Quitiquit of Kennedy Catholic High. “She was very consistent.”
Heilborn has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a national letter of intent to play volleyball on scholarship at Western Washington University this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Heilborn joins recent Gatorade Washington Volleyball Players of the Year Kennedy Croft (2016-17, Tumwater High School); Shayne McPherson (2015-16, Kennedy Catholic); Carson Heilborn (2014-15, Auburn Riverside); Courtney Schwan (2013-14 and 2012-13, Bellarmine Prep); Katlyn Mataya (2011-12, Burlington-Edison); Rachel Roeder (2010- 11, Issaquah); Alexis Olgard (2009-10, Mead); Kylin Munoz (2008-09, Monroe); and Brittany Quick (2007-08, Hanford) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Heilborn will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.
The Gatorade Company is its 33rd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes.
To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow the conversation on Twitter #GatoradePOY. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com.