Capping off a remarkable senior season in which she dominated in leading Seven Lakes to Katy ISD’s first volleyball state championship, Ally Batenhorst was named the 2020-21 Gatorade Texas Player of the Year on Wednesday morning.
Capping off a remarkable senior season in which she dominated in leading Seven Lakes to Katy ISD’s first volleyball state championship, Ally Batenhorst was named the 2020-21 Gatorade Texas Player of the Year on Wednesday, May 5.
The 6-foot-4 powerful outside hitter averaged 6.6 kills and 4.3 digs per set in guiding the Spartans to a 25-1 record and the Class 6A state title in the 2020 season. In all, Batenhorst recorded 574 kills, 371 digs, 33 blocks and 32 aces in 87 sets last season.
The Gatorade State Player of the Year award was established in 1985. Per Gatorade.com, it acknowledges the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes for athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Batenhorst said. “Last year, I was just a candidate (for the award). I didn’t make it to the finals. This one is an incredible feeling. It’s an award not only for athletic performance, but academics and your character. That’s what makes it special, and it’s something I’ve always tried to accomplish. It’s a really big deal for me.”
The acknowledgment is the latest in a long line of distinguished awards for Batenhorst following a spectacular senior season that highlighted an outstanding high school career.
“I adore her as a person,” Seven Lakes coach Amy Cataline said of Batenhorst following the team’s state championship win over Klein on Dec. 12. “She loves her teammates and it shows. It’s fun to coach talent, but, man, it’s fun to coach a kid that plays with so much heart. She is a team player to the core, and you just don’t find that in many elite players these days.”
Batenhorst was also named an Under Armour All-American, Class 6A state championship game Most Valuable Player, 2020 MaxPreps All-America first-teamer, 2020 PrepVolleyball.com High School Fall All-American and academic all-state selection for her performance in 2020.
Batenhorst was also on the 2020 USA National Training team and helped the USA 18U national team to a gold medal at the NORCECA Volleyball Championships in Honduras in 2018. In the classroom, she has a 4.11 GPA.
Batenhorst’s Gatorade P.O.Y honor came two days after the Spartans received their state championship rings during an awards ceremony on campus.
“It was so cute,” Batenhorst said. “We designed it in December, and it was cool to see it. I like that it’s a bright blue color. It also says, ‘It’s time,’ which was our slogan. I love that because that was kind of our theme for the year. It was exciting to see my teammates and be able to celebrate and have that closure for the season.”
Batenhorst, the No. 3 recruit in the nation for the Class of 2021, graduated from Seven Lakes in December to enroll early at Nebraska in January. She is expected to compete for playing time in the fall.
Because the pandemic delayed Nebraska’s 2020 season in the fall, Batenhorst was able to experience a regular season as the Huskers played 19 games this spring, going 16-3.
Batenhorst participated in everything as a Husker, except for the games.
“Usually early graduates go into the spring and it’s offseason,” Batenhorst said. “I actually was able to graduate early and go right into their season and experience a real season without actually being eligible. It was special to have that under my belt before I go into the real season for me (in August).
“I learned about just being willing to work every moment you’re there. You have to take every opportunity to get better. It’s longer, harder and it’s a lot. Once you accept that and work hard, you develop the mindset that you want to play and will do everything you can to play. It becomes fun and something you enjoy. Having that training this spring and knowing the drills and practices, it will definitely help me going into the fall.”
Batenhorst is back home in Katy for a while, visiting family and training, but will return to Nebraska at the end of May for summer school as she continues workouts up until the start of the 2021 season.
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