CHICAGO — In its 36th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Raven Nunnery of John Curtis Christian School as its 2020-21 Gatorade Louisiana Girls Track & Field Player of the Year. Nunnery is the first Gatorade Louisiana Girls Track & Field Player of the Year to be chosen from John Curtis Christian 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 Nunnery as Louisiana’s best high school girls track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Player of the Year award to be announced in July, Nunnery joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa), Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School, Calif.), Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas), Grant Fisher (2013-14 & 2014-15, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Candace Hill (2014-15, Rockdale County High School, Ga.).
The 5-foot-3 senior broke the tape in the 200-meter dash with a wind-aided, personal-best time of 23.41 seconds at the Class 5A state meet this past season, leading the Patriots to a third-place finish as a team. At the time of her selection, Nunnery’s winning 200 clocking ranked No. 9 nationally under all conditions among 2021 prep competitors. Her personal-best time in the 100-meter dash (11:38) ranked as the nation’s No. 7 all-conditions performance by a prep girl this spring. At the state meet, Nunnery ran the anchor leg for her team’s first-place 4×400 relay quartet and its second-place 4×200 foursome in addition to taking second in the 100 dash. A MileSplit 50 Honorable Mention, she graduated with the fastest all-conditions 100 time and the fastest all-class state meet 200 clocking in Louisiana prep history.
An exceptional all-around athlete who also excels in softball, volleyball and girls flag football, Nunnery is a member of her school’s yearbook club and has volunteered locally as a youth instructor with Pretty Muscle Girls Track Club. “Raven has blossomed into one of the best in the country,” said Eric Smith, head coach at John Curtis. “She has a very high track and field IQ and she understands the dynamics of the sport. She’s an excellent student-athlete who inspires her team and peers in all aspects of life.”
Nunnery has maintained a 3.51 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on an athletic scholarship at the University of Houston 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. 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.
Nunnery joins recent Gatorade Louisiana Girls Track & Field Players of the Year Heather Abadie (2019-20, St. Michael the Archangel High School), Logan Lewis (2018-19, Baton Rouge Magnet High School), Leah Scott (2017-18, Dutchtown High School), and Kyah Loyd (2016-17, C.E. Byrd High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Nunnery has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Nunnery is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.
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 playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.