Wait, Danielle Nowell, there’s one more honor for you.


Wait, Danielle Nowell, there’s one more honor for you.

On Thursday, Gatorade announced that the two-time Class 3A pole vault champion is the Oklahoma Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, marking the first time a Plainview athlete was selected for the award.

The award comes one month after the future Arkansas Razorback broke her own state meet record of 12 feet, 10 inches, in the state meet at Noble Stadium, helping Plainview earn its 15th team championship.

“This girl, vaulting-wise, is the best vaulter the state of Oklahoma has ever had,” Plainview coach Jerry Naylor said. “I think it was a well-deserved honor.”

Nowell vaulted 12-9 in April at Lone Grove. Her career high is 13-1.
“It kind of ends my high school career on a high,” Nowell said of winning the award.

The 5-foot-3 Nowell, who also won state in 2007, was honored for her on- and off-field accomplishments and character. She earned a grade-point average of 3.88, was a cheerleader and volunteered in many community service initiatives in association with the National Beta Club and her church youth group.

“Danielle is not only a great athlete but a leader in and out of the school building,” Plainview assistant coach Tony Willoughby said. “She is an incredibly hard worker.”

This is Gatorade’s 25th year to present athlete of the year awards for many sports in each state and the District of Columbia. Past honorees include Ardmore thrower Geoffrey Tabor (2008), Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (Michigan, 1992), WNBA player Candace Parker (Illinois, 2002), sprinter Allyson Felix (California, 2002) and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (California, 2005).

“I’m very excited about it,” Nowell said. “It’s a very hard thing to get it. I’m glad to be a part of the elite people who have received it.”
The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE magazine and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with sport-specific experts and a media advisory board to determine the state winners in each sport.

I.C. Murrell
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