Bio

DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gatorade likes Gator: Lanier National POY



It seems only fitting that a Gator has been selected Gatorade’s National Volleyball Player of the Year for 2015-16.
Xavier Prep’s Khalia Lanier has earned that honor, which was made in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports. Gatorade made the announcement on Wednesday (Dec. 9), and the player was honored at a surprise afternoon assembly on campus.
Lanier, a 6-foot-2 senior outside hitter, also was the Arizona Player of the Year. She led the Gators to a Division I state runner-up finish opposite Phoenix Desert Vista.
With a 4.21 weighted grade-point average, Lanier will move on to play collegiately at Southern California. Academic achievements also were considered in the decision of who would receive the award.

Gatorade National Player of the Year Khalia Lanier, back row center, holds trophy while celebrating with her Xavier teammates and coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. (Photo by Alexandra Gutierrez)
 
Lanier had 496 kills, 324 digs and 28 service aces while posting a kill percentage of .438. She was a 2015 Under Armour First Team All-American as named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and was the No. 1 national recruit by PrepVolleyball.com. She was a member of the U.S. Girls’ Youth National team, which played in the U18 World Championship final in Peru in the summer of 2015.
Lanier’s busy life also includes a number of public-service achievements.
In the summer of 2014, she worked at an orphanage in South Africa, where she taught preschool-aged children. She also has volunteered on behalf of the Desert Mission Food Bank, providing emergency food assistance for families in the north Phoenix area.
Lanier joins Xavier graduates Bianca Arellano and Stephanie Preach as Gatorade’s Arizona Player of the Year.

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