Updates from Gatorade Athlete of the Year events in Hollywood this week.
It's time to put a wrap on the 2013 Gatorade Athlete of the Year festivities. Let's do this ESPYs-style.
BEST COMEBACK: Morgan Andrews
The Notre Dame-bound soccer star from Milford (N.H.) was back in Hollywood for the second consecutive year as the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year. This time, Andrews wouldn't be denied the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year trophy.
MORE: Q&A with Morgan Andrews
"I'm shocked, but I feel amazing," Andrews said of winning the award. "I didn't want to have any expectations going in. The competition was great and I truly believe every athlete here deserves this award, so I'm thankful for it."
BEST INJURY AVOIDANCE: Andrew Wiggins
The Kansas-bound basketball star from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep said he hadn't heard the story that maligned NBA big man Andrew Bynum injured his left knee while bowling. "Oh really?" Wiggins said as he prepared to lace up his shoes with his fellow nominees at Lucky Strike in Hollywood on Monday night.
Yeah, really. Wiggins bowled pretty well, posting a 122 in his second game. More importantly, he escaped the bowling alley unscathed and was named the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year on Tuesday night.
BEST DRESSED: Paul George
The Indiana Pacers forward was a presenter on Tuesday night and sported a black leather shirt with pink pants. His black loafers were bedazzled with diamonds.
BEST DANCER: Trayvon Bromell
The Baylor-bound sprinter showed off his dance moves during a session with Twitch.
BEST ADVICE: Philip Rivers
The San Diego Chargers QB's advice to Max Browne? "Have a plan." Browne's plan might be to win the starting QB job at USC, where he enrolled early to give himself the best chance to do just that.
BEST HONESTY: Sarah Baxter
Baxter, the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, has never lost a race during her high school career. She lost at bowling, though.
"We all have that competitive spirit and everything, but I know where I stand, and I don’t stand a chance in anything that involves hand-eye coordination. I’m in running for a reason.”
The only junior among the 12 nominees in Hollywood, Baxter will have a chance to redeem herself at Lucky Strike -- and possibly win Athlete of the Year -- next year.
BEST PREDICTION: Cristian Roldan
The Washington-bound Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year didn't hesitate when I asked him to name the best game of the year in any sport. "No doubt, there’s no doubt about it -- I say no doubt a lot -- it's Game 6 of the NBA Finals. I don’t think there’s another game you can put on the list. The way it ended, I think that explains it."
Sure enough, Game 6 between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs won Game of the Year at the ESPYs.
BEST CAREER GOAL: Carley Hoover
"I’d love to be a Yankees announcer," the Stanford-bound Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year said. "Derek Jeter, that’s why I’m No. 2. I don’t know if he knows it or not, but he’s going to be my future husband, and that will happen once I’m announcing his games. Back when I wanted to be a baseball shortstop, I calculated all this out, and I told my dad that Derek would be retiring about the same time that I was coming up. I figured I could take over for him."
BEST DEDICATION: Clint Frazier
The Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year played a minor league game in Arizona on Monday before flying to Hollywood to attend Tuesday's dinner. He attended the ESPYs on Wednesday before flying back to Arizona. On Thursday, he went 2-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored.
Thursday, July 18, 7 a.m.
The Gatorade Players of the Year capped their experience in Los Angeles by attending the ESPYs (and walking the red carpet beforehand).
Did I really touch Lebron?? Yes. Yes I did. pic.twitter.com/YRfH8wpOA4— Lauren Carlini (@laurencarlini) July 18, 2013
This is nuts. I am sitting behind the best football player to play the game. Jim Brown— Max Browne (@MaxBrowne4) July 18, 2013
Special thanks to @Gatorade for this experience and major love for all of the the POY athletes. Good luck in all your futures!!#rio2016#2020— Lauren Carlini (@laurencarlini) July 18, 2013
Wednesday, July 17, 11:30 a.m.
How have the Gatorade Players of the Year spent their day after last night's awards dinner? Learning to dance with Twitch of "So You Think You Can Dance" fame.
We have dance class with tWitch (@official_tWitch) from So You Think You Can Dance in a little bit. This will be interesting. ��— Mercedes Russell (@MerSladezz) July 17, 2013
@TrayvonBromell can straight up DANCE. Showed us all up.— Lauren Carlini (@laurencarlini) July 17, 2013
Wednesday, July 17, 6:45 a.m.
Congrats to Morgan Andrews and Andrew Wiggins, who got to carry these trophies around all night after being named the Gatorade High School Athletes of the Year. Eric Snyder caught up with Andrews and Wiggins last night.
Tuesday, July 16, 3 p.m.
I wasn't invited to the Gatorade Players of the Year workout this morning and that was probably a good thing. I already feel guilty enough about the In-n-Out double-double I inhaled yesterday.
Kendell Williams, Edward Cheserek, Mercedes Russell and Cristian Roldan are going to eat well tonight. / Susan Goldman
Check out a full gallery from the workout here.
Great workout, now for the rest of the busy day ahead!! Massage, hair and makeup, reception, and Athlete of the Year awards! #GATORADEPOY— Lauren Carlini (@laurencarlini) July 16, 2013
Less than three hours 'til dinner! I better start working on my hair.
Tuesday, July 16, 11:30 a.m.
The Gatorade Male and Female Athletes of the Year will be announced tonight at the W Hollywood Hotel. Here's a look at the previous honorees.
GATORADE MALE ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
2012 – Johnathan Gray, football
2011 – Dylan Bundy, baseball
2010 – Brandon Knight, basketball
2009 – Garrett Gilbert, football
2008 – Matt Barkley, football
2007 – Kevin Love, basketball
2006 – Greg Oden, basketball
2005 – Greg Paulus, football
2004 – Dwight Howard, basketball
2003 – LeBron James, basketball
PHOTOS: Last year's AOY ceremony
GATORADE FEMALE ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
2012 – Breanna Stewart, basketball
2011 – Morgan Brian, soccer
2010 – Chiney Ogwumike, basketball
2009 – Skylar Diggins, basketball
2008 – Chanelle Price, track and field
2007 – Maya Moore, basketball
2006 – Tina Charles, basketball
2005 – Cynthia Barboza, volleyball
2004 – Candace Parker, basketball
2003 – Allyson Felix, track and field
Tuesday, July 16, 9 a.m.
Twelve Gatorade National Players of the Year were invited to this week's festivities, but only 11 are here. Former Loganville (Ga.) baseball star Clint Frazier had another commitment -- trying to make the major leagues.
While his fellow Athlete of the Year nominees were bowling at Lucky Strike, Frazier was going 1-for-4 with a run scored for the Cleveland Indians' rookie league team. Frazier, the No. 5 pick in June's MLB draft, is hitting .333/.379/.596 with two home runs and 15 RBI through 15 games.
Tuesday, July 16, 8 a.m.
We now have photographic evidence that the Gatorade Players of the Year went bowling -- and had a great time -- last night. Check out the full gallery here.
Bowling was so fun!!! pic.twitter.com/7quAIqJUGQ— Lauren Carlini (@laurencarlini) July 16, 2013
Follow the Gatorade Players of the Year in Hollywood on Twitter with one click.
Monday, July 15, 10:30 p.m.
Max Browne says he'll consider himself a success when he makes it to the NFL and becomes a Pro Bowler. If his performance at Lucky Strike Lanes in Hollywood is any indication, the former Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) QB might also have a career as a pro bowler. In the kickoff event of this year's Gatorade Athlete of the Year festivities, Browne rolled a 177.
PHOTOS: Good times at Lucky Strike
Athlete of the year program founder Bruce Weber told me it might be the highest score by an athlete of the year nominee, including LeBron James, in history (since 2003). Browne said he isn't much of a bowler and called it luck, pointing to his second game, when he rolled a 109.
Browne, who enrolled early at USC, didn't have much time to savor his impressive showing.
Now time to head back to campus, training in the morning— Max Browne (@MaxBrowne4) July 16, 2013
Andrew Wiggins, who rocked a Brooklyn Nets cap, showed good form as well. The former Huntington (W.Va.) Prep basketball star bowled a 122 in his second game.
Every athlete was presented a personalized bowling shirt, but the loudest fashion statement of the night belonged to Milford (N.H.) soccer player Morgan Andrews.
Andrews claims these beauties are from the seventh grade. Justin Bieber would surely be jealous.
* * *
Monday, July 15, 4 p.m.
Greetings from Hollywood! I took one for the team by agreeing to fly to Los Angeles to hang out with 12 of the nation's best student-athletes at the Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards. Try not to feel too badly for me -- the traffic's brutal, but the weather's, uh, decent.
Over the next few days, I'll be chronicling some of the cool events -- from bowling to an award's dinner with pro stars -- that this year's nominees for the Gatorade Male and Female Athlete of the Year get to experience. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can follow the nominees in one handly list by clicking here. Trust me, you'll want to do this:
Last week, I cast my vote for the Male and Female Athletes of the Year, who will be announced Tuesday night. It was a ridiculously difficult decision. In addition to the fact that it's inherently difficult to compare athletic accomplishments across sports, the award is about much more than performance on the field or court. Every candidate has also excelled in the classroom and made a difference in his or her community -- it's why they're all National Players of the Year in their respective sports. You could make the case for every athlete here.
The first big event of the week? Bowling at Lucky Strike in Hollywood tonight. It's time to find out who's got game, and I think it's safe to say that no one will pull an Andrew Bynum.