In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Hayley Frank of Strafford High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Missouri Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Frank is the first Gatorade Missouri Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Strafford 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, distinguishes Frank as Missouri’s best high school girls basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March, Frank joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Maya Moore (2005-06, Collins Hill High School, Ga.), Rashanda McCants (2004-05, Asheville High School, N.C.), Candace Parker (2001-02, 2002-03 & 2003-04, Naperville Central High School, Ill.), Diana Taurasi (1998-99 & 1999-00, Don Antonio Lugo High School, Calif.), Shyra Ely (1999-00, Ben Davis High School, Ind.), Katie Smith (1991-92, Logan High School, Ohio) and Lisa Leslie (1988-89, Morningside High School, Calif.).
The state’s returning Gatorade Player of the Year, the 6-foot-2 senior guard and forward had led the Indians to a 31-0 record and a berth in the Class 3 state tournament semifinals at the time of her selection. Frank averaged 22.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.1 blocks and 2.0 steals through 31 games. In its bid for a fourth straight state title, Strafford entered the semifinals riding a staterecord 113-game win streak. Missouri’s all-time leader in rebounds, field-goal percentage, 3-point field-goal percentage and freethrow percentage, Frank entered the state semifinals ranked fifth all-time with 819 assists and ninth on the career scoring list with 2,945 points.
An All-State infielder on the Strafford High softball team and a three-time state tournament qualifier for the Indians’ golf team, Frank has volunteered locally as a peer tutor and youth basketball coach. The vice president of the Strafford High student council, she has also donated her time to multiple community service initiatives through her school’s National Honor Society. “Hayley is one of the best leaders I have ever seen,” said Dan Jones, head coach of Clever High School. “I got to see her in the locker room hallway before the [district] championship game—to listen to her was mesmerizing and inspirational. She plays the total game, so singling out what she does well … you can’t.”
Frank has maintained a weighted 4.11 GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 1 in her class. She has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Missouri beginning this fall.
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. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Two-time winner Frank joins Gatorade Missouri Girls Basketball Players of the Year Lauryn Miller (2016-17, Kirkwood High School), Taylor Baur (2015-16, MICDS), Napheesa Collier (2014-15 & 2012-13, Incarnate Word Academy), and Sophie Cunningham (2013-14, Rock Bridge High School) as athletes who have won the basketball award.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Frank also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.