Webb School of Knoxville Lady Spartan volleyball sensation Nicklin Hames
has added another accolade to her already exemplary athletic resumé. In its 33rd year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company recently announced that Hames is the 2017-2018 Gatorade Tennessee Volleyball Player of the Year. Hames is the first Gatorade Tennessee Volleyball Player of the Year in the history of Webb’s volleyball program.
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 Hames as Tennessee’s best high school volleyball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Hames joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including USA Volleyball players Kayla Banwarth (2006-2007, Wahlert High School, Iowa), Alisha Glass (2005-2006, Leland Public High School, Mich.), Jordan Larson (2004-2005, Logan View High School, Neb.), and Foluke Akinradewo (2004-2005, St. Thomas High School, Fla.).
The 6-foot senior setter and right-side hitter recorded 385 assists, 225 kills, 218 digs, and 46 service aces her senior season and led her Lady Spartans to a 35-7 record and a historical fifth consecutive Division II-A state championship – only the fourth program in state history to claim five straight state crowns. Hames was also named state tournament MVP this year for the fourth time in her varsity career.
The University of Nebraska signee was a starter for the United States Girls Youth National Team that competed at the 2017 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship and was a 2017-2018 Under Armour First Team All-American. She is a five-time All-State honoree and was selected First Team All-American by FloVolleyball.
“Hames makes everything look easy,” said Harding Academy head volleyball coach, Michael Sansone, in a Gatorade Company press release. “She serves tough, she plays great defense, she’s a great blocker, and she demands the ball on offense. She’s just a phenomenal volleyball player.”
Nicklin Hames has maintained a 3.29 GPA in the classroom and has volunteered locally on behalf of a retirement home and youth volleyball programs.
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 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.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Hames will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. Twelve spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.