Central's Stahl named Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year

Elkhart Central senior Azariah Stahl has been named the Gatorade Indiana volleyball player of the year, Gatorade announced on Thursday.

Stahl, who will play volleyball at Purdue next fall, is the first volleyball player to ever win the award from Central High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Stahl as Indiana’s best high school volleyball player. Stahl joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kim Glass (2001-02, Horseshoe HS, Penn.), Kim Willoughby (1998-99, 1999-00, Assumption HS, La.) and Ogonna Nnamani (1999-00, University HS, Ill).

The 5-foot-11 senior outside hitter amassed 804 kills, 317 digs, 40 blocks and 31 service aces this past season, leading the Blazers (30-4) to the Class 4A state semifinals. An Under Armour Second Team All-American as named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, Stahl recorded a .573 hitting percentage and .679 kill percentage. A two-time First Team All-State selection as named by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association, she made the 2012 USA Women’s Junior National Team.

Stahl has maintained a 3.40 weighted GPA in the classroom. She has donated her time to mentoring students with special physical, emotional and social needs through physical activity.

“Azariah Stahl is not only an all-around great player, but she excels at teamwork,” said Angie Hardman, head coach at rival Adams High. “She by far is the best player on her team, and I would go as far as to say definitively the best player in the state. She shows great control, consistency and precise decision-making with each play. She is a player that stands out above the rest. The best part about her, though, is the fact that she is all about the team. She is an excellent role model and example of what volleyball players around the state of Indiana should look like. I would take 12 of her on my team.”

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 high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.

Stahl joins recent Gatorade Indiana Volleyball Players of the Year Lauryn Gillis (2012-2013, New Castle High School), Emily Wolfert (2011-12, Yorktown High School), Taylor Morey (2010-11, Muncie Burris Laboratory School), Taylor Unroe (2009-10, Muncie Burris Laboratory School), Darcy Dorton (2008-09, Muncie Burris Laboratory School) and Caitlin Cox (2007-08, New Castle Chrysler) among the state’s list of former award winners.

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