Sun Prairie senior Maddie Gardner on Thursday was named the state’s 2019-20 Gatorade softball player of the year.
Gardner becomes the first Gatorade Wisconsin softball player of the year from Sun Prairie High School, according to a release from the organization that was distributed by Sun Prairie athletic director Eric Nee.
The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence and high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field, according to the release.
Gardner becomes a finalist for the Gatorade national softball player of the year, scheduled to be announced in June.
Gardner, a 5-foot-7 right-handed pitcher, was the 2019 co-Division 1 player of the year in the state and led Sun Prairie to a runner-up finish at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament. Gardner and the Cardinals, coached by Jamie Olson, were expected to have a strong team this season, but the 2020 spring sports season wasn’t played in the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gardner was a two-time first-team All-State selection and led the Cardinals to the Division 1 state title in 2018.
She finished her prep career with 71 wins, four no-hitters and 739 strikeouts in 459.1 innings pitched.
“Maddie works very hard to get the job done for our team on the pitching mound,” Olson said. “She carries the majority of the pressure and weight of our team and it never phases her.”
Gardner competed for the St. Louis Chaos in tournaments last summer and fall.
Gardner has volunteered locally as an elementary school mentor and youth softball coach. As far as interests, she has Department of Natural Resources licenses in boating, snowmobiling, hunting and bow hunting and trapping.
Gardner has a 3.92 GPA. She has signed a national letter of intent to play softball on scholarship at the University of South Florida.
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 and field.
One national player of the year is awarded in each sport.
From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School athlete of the year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Recent Gatorade Wisconsin softball players of the year were Syd Supple (2018-19, 2017-18 & 2016-17, Oshkosh North High School) and Kayla Konwent (2015-16 & 2014-15, Westosha Central High School).
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