RIDGE RIVER, La. (June 6, 2007) – In its third decade of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade® Thirst Quencher, in partnership with RISE Magazine, today announced senior pitcher Ashley Brignac of John Curtis Christian School (River Ridge, La..) as its 2006-07 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year.
Brignac becomes the first female recipient from Louisiana to win Gatorade National Player of the Year honors, joining Peyton Manning (1993-94, Isidore Newman School, New Orleans, LA), Travis Minor (1996-97, Catholic, Baton Rouge, LA), Brock Berlin (1999-00, Evangel Christian Academy, Shreveport, LA) and Randy Livingston (1992-93, Isidore Newman School, New Orleans, LA).
The award, which recognizes not only athletic performance, but also meeting high standards of academic achievement while demonstrating exemplary personal character on and off the field, distinguishes Brignac as the nation’s best high school softball player. A national advisory board comprised of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country selected Brignac from nearly 370,000 high school softball players nationwide. Brignac is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year Award, to be presented at a special ceremony the afternoon prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
The senior pitcher recently completed an outstanding career for the Patriots, leading the team to a fifth straight state title, the program's second consecutive in Class 2A. The 5-foot-9, 155-pound right-hander missed the start of the season recovering from minor knee surgery, but the returning Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year didn’t miss a beat once she returned, striking out 421 batters and allowing just 14 hits and 13 walks in 159.2 innings. Brignac was 25-0 this season with a 0.00 ERA for the Patriots (30-6-1) and pitched 21 shutouts, 21 no-hitters and seven perfect games. She also hit .500 with six home runs and a slugging percentage of .869. The two-time Louisiana Sports Writers Association's Farm-Bureau-Miss Softball selection, Brignac posted a 31-1 record her junior season, striking out 491 batters and posting a flawless 0.00 ERA in leading her team to the state championship.
An experienced international player, Brignac was the staff ace on the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team that won the 2006 Pan Am Championship with a 10-0 record. She will depart for the Netherlands later this month where the team will compete in the Junior World Championships.
Brignac has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom and will be co-valedictorian of her class. An active member of the Fellowship for Christian Athletes local chapter, she is also a volunteer of the 2006-07 school-yearbook staff and was selected to the state’s All-Academic softball squad.
“She’s as good as there is in the country,” said JT Curtis, athletic director at John Curtis Christian. “She’s really one of those special players and special people that only come around once in a great while. As far as an all-around person she is as close to being perfect as you can get.”
Brignac will attend the University of Louisiana-Lafayette on a softball scholarship this fall.
“Without question, Ashley is deserving of recognition as the nation’s best high school softball player based on her statistics on the field and the impact her play had on John Curtis’ success,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jeff Urban. “But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young players of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. She represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient.”
The Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes one winner in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in football, girls volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field. The selection process is administered by RISE Magazine, which works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.