In its 25th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, announced Wednesday that Brittany Fenumiai of Juneau-Douglas High School is its 2009-10 Gatorade Alaska Softball Player of the Year.
Fenumiai is the third Gatorade Alaska Softball Player of the Year to be chosen from Juneau-Douglas 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, distinguished Fenumiai as Alaska's best high school softball player.
"I wasn't expecting it last year or this year, so it was a shock to win it twice in a row," she said. "I'm just thankful, and obviously hard work pays off. Thanks to my coaches and everybody that supported me and helped me through everything."
Even after winning the award two years in a row, Fenumiai remains humble as ever.
"It's a great accomplishment, but as much as I appreciate it, it would be really cool for someone else to experience what I've experienced and how it feels to get it," she said.
As the state's returning Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, the 5-foot-7 senior right-handed pitcher finished 6-1 with a 1.27 ERA this season, recording 27 strikeouts in 33 innings and leading the Crimson Bears (20-2) to the Large School state championship.
A two-time returning All-Southeast Conference selection, Fenumiai, also a middle infielder, batted .581 with 40 RBI, 39 runs scored and eight home runs this spring. She finished 10-for-16, amassing 13 runs scored, seven RBI and three home runs during the postseason, capturing All-Tournament honors. As a freshman and sophomore, she helped lead Juneau-Douglas to the 2007 and 2008 state titles.
Also a basketball standout, Fenumiai has maintained a 3.63 unweighted GPA in the classroom, and as a Rotary Youth Leadership Award recipient, she has volunteered on behalf of the National Honor Society, the Special Olympics and her church in addition to donating her time to the school's peer-mentoring program.
"On the field, when she comes to the plate, people pay attention, because something's going to happen," said Juneau-Douglas coach Dave Massey. "She's been our No. 3 hitter the past three years and very easily could've been as a freshman. She's very consistent on her swing, and she has wonderful eyesight.
"She's one of those kids that you're really happy to see come up, and you wish you had nine of her instead of one," he continued. "She's a good leader and a great influence on her teammates."
Fenumiai remains undecided upon a collegiate destination, but she hopes to continue her basketball career at Division II Hawaii Pacific University, in Honolulu, where she would join her sister Nicole.
She also recently received a call to play softball at Division I Youngstown State. Fenumiai said she has yet to reach a decision.
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, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.
Fenumiai joins recent Gatorade Alaska Softball Players of the Year Carrie Ann Laliberte (2007-08, Juneau-Douglas) and Joanna Schultz (2006-07, Chugiak) among the state's list of former award winners.
This story used information from Gatorade's press release.