Westminster’s Morgan White earns Gatorade’s State Player of the Year
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
After a remarkable career that saw her start all four years at Westminster School at Oak Mountain ended with heartbreak due to COVID-19 cutting her senior year short by close to two months, Morgan White now has one last memorable moment to claim from her high school days.
On Wednesday morning, June 17, the Westminster graduate was named Alabama’s 2020 Gatorade Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year to honor her remarkable career and strong start to the senior season.
Named to the All-County First Team each of the last three years and to the All-County Second Team her freshman year, White has been a staple soccer player in Shelby County since she stepped foot on the field at Westminster.
While she has been one of the most talented players in the state during her time with the Knights, she’ll likely be remembered for her heroics in the Class 1A-3A State Championship game last year.
In a tie game with the final 10 seconds ticking off the clock in overtime, she nailed a close to 40-yard shot with less than five seconds to play to lift the Knights to their first state title in school history.
“The thing I remember the most from that moment, honestly, was after when we celebrated,” she said. “Katie (Hoaglund) and I were talking and it just all of a sudden hit us. All the work we put in since freshman year paid off. It was such a relief. All the extra things we did were finally worth it because we finally did what we were hoping to do since freshman year.”
And while that will be a lasting memory along with her now winning the state’s top award, White wants to be remembered more for her leadership role, which is what made the shortened end to this season so difficult.
“We wanted to usher in the younger players and welcome them to the Westminster soccer world,” she said. “When you find out you can’t do that, it made it even harder.”
But White said she’s going out a state champion, and will always remember that moment.
White is the first Gatorade Alabama Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Westminster School at Oak Mountain. 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 White as Alabama’s best high school girls soccer player.
Winning at the state level also makes White a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in June.
White joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports.
The 5-foot-8 senior forward and midfielder scored six goals and passed for four assists in eight games this spring before the remainder of the season was canceled.
Also a member of the Super-All State Team, White concluded her prep career with 107 goals. During her junior season alone, she not only played hero in the title game, but posted 36 goals and 18 assists.
White has also been a basketball standout at Westminster where she led the team to the Final Four multiple times.
She has also assisted the elderly in her community and has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs and Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries.
“Morgan White is a difference maker who can play just about any position on the field,” said Helena head coach Clif Naron, who has seen White first hand. “She’s very talented and dynamic, and she represents her school and teammates well.”
White has maintained a 4.31 GPA in the classroom and is now set to play collegiately with a scholarship to the University of South Alabama.
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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, 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.
White became the fourth player from Shelby County to be honored with the distinct award in the last seven years, joining Jasmine Greene (2017-18, Spain Park High School), Julia Pack (2015-16, Oak Mountain High School) and Claudia Day (2013-14, Briarwood Christian School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
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