CHICAGO (March 8, 2019) — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced McKenna Warnock of Monona Grove High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Wisconsin Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Warnock is the first Gatorade Wisconsin Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Monona Grove 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 Warnock as Wisconsin’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, Warnock 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 6-foot-2 senior guard and forward led the Silver Eagles to a 20-3 record and the Division 2 Regional finals this past season. Warnock averaged 29.7 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 blocks per game. A three-time First Team All-Badger South Conference selection, she is also a two-time First Team All-State honoree.
A devoted member of her church youth group, Warnock has volunteered locally on behalf of a homeless shelter and youth sports camps. “McKenna Warnock is just an all-around excellent player,” said Jerry Schwenn, head coach at Deforest High. “It’s very hard to match up with her athleticism. She’s physical, she can rebound and she has unlimited range as a shooter.”
Warnock has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Iowa 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.
Warnock joins Gatorade Wisconsin Girls Basketball Players of the Year Sydnee Roby (2017-18, Rufus King High School), Estella Moschkau (2016-17, Edgewood High School), Hannah Whitish (2015-16, Barneveld High School), and Arike Ogunbowale (2014-15 & 2013-14, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School) as athletes who have recently won the basketball award.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Warnock 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.
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.