The 12 high school athletes who won Illinois player of the year awards from Gatorade (2024)

Gatorade honored the top high school athletes in Illinois throughout the 2023-24 season, capped in June with the naming of the spring players of the year.

Gatorade uses a selection committee, which "leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport," according to a release.

Here are the 12 Gatorade high school players of the year in Illinois, selected "for excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community."

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Dierre Hill, Belleville Althoff football

  • Why he was picked: The 6-foot, 183-pound junior running back and defensive back rushed for 1,788 yards and 23 touchdowns, leading the Crusaders (10-2) to the Class 1A quarterfinals. He is the nation's No. 51 recruit in the Class of 2025 according to On defense, he added 32 tackles and three interceptions, returning two for TDs.
  • What's next: The University of Oregon commit will play his senior season at Althoff.

Ellie White, Chicago Mother McAuley volleyball

  • Why she was picked: The 5-foot-11 senior outside hitter led the Mighty Macs to 39-5 and a second straight Class 4A state championship. The two-time Gatorade POY had 484 kills with a .437 kill percentage and a .402 hitting percentage. The first-team all-American added 313 digs, 95 blocks and 37 aces.
  • What's next: White will play volleyball this fall at the University of Michigan.
The 12 high school athletes who won Illinois player of the year awards from Gatorade (1)

Isabella Keller, Effingham St. Anthony cross country

  • Why she was picked: The 4-foot-8 freshman won the Class 1A state title with an all-class best time of 16:26.2 to complete an unbeaten season on 3-mile courses. Her sister, University of Notre Dame runner Anna Sophia Keller, is a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in cross country.
  • What's next: Keller will return to defend her state title at St. Anthony this fall.

Aden Bandukwala, Hinsdale Central cross country

  • Why he was picked: The 5-foot-11, 140-pound senior won the Class 3A state championships with a personal-best time of 14:13.56. He also was 35th in the Nike Cross Nationals championship meet after finishing fifth in the region.
  • What's next: Bandukwala will run this fall at Duke University.
The 12 high school athletes who won Illinois player of the year awards from Gatorade (2)

Kloe Froebe, Lincoln basketball

  • Why she was picked: The 5-foot-9 senior guard led the Railsplitters to 38-0 and the Class 3A state championship. The four-time all-stater and Illinois Ms. Basketball averaged 28.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.2 steals and 4.8 assists. She is the daughter of Kari Walters, a 1994 Journal Star player of the Year for Bushnell-Prairie City.
  • What's next: Froebe will play this winter for the Colorado State University women's basketball team.

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Morez Johnson, Harvey Thornton basketball

  • Why he was picked: The 6-foot-9, 235-pound senior power forward averaged 17.2 points and 14.1 rebounds, leading the Wildcats (29-5) to the Class 3A supersectional where they lost to Peoria Richwoods. Johnson, also Illinois Mr. Basketball, is the nation's No. 29 recruit in the Class of 2024.
  • What's next: Johnson will play this winter for the University of Illinois basketball team.

Roos Van Roekel, Barrington soccer

  • Why she was picked: The 6-foot defender led the Fillies (19-2-2) to conference and Class 3A regional and sectional championships. She had 18 goals and five assists, leading a defense that produced 16 shutouts.
  • What's next: Van Roekel will play soccer this fall at Loyola University Chicago.

Easton Bogard, Oak Park-River Forest soccer

  • Why he was picked: The 5-foot-9, 155-pound senior midfielder and forward led the Huskies to a 21-1-2 record and the program’s first undefeated regular season before a loss in a Class 4A regional final. He scored a school single-season record 33 goals and added 15 assists.
  • What's next: Bogard is signed to play at Indiana University.

Ryan Sloan, Elmhurst York baseball

  • Why he was picked: The 6-foot-5 right-handed senior pitcher led the Dukes (31-11) to the Class 4A state finals with an 0.18 ERA, a 0.50 WHIP and a .117 batting average against. He is the nation's No. 6 high school prospect in the Class of 2024 by PrepBaseballReport.
  • What's next: The Wake Forest commit is expected to be selected in the early rounds of the MLB first-year player draft.

Bella Dimitrijevic, New Lenox Lincoln-Way Central softball

  • Why she was picked: the 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher was 6-3 with a 0.54 ERA, leading the Knights (33-5) to a Class 4A supersectional. She allowed 49 hits and 13 walks while striking out 354 batters in 169.2 innings. She hit .405 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs.
  • What's next: The Florida State commit will play for the Croatian national team at the European Championships in September before her senior season at L-W Central.

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Ali Ince, Normal Community track and field

  • Why she was picked: The 5-foot-10 distance runner won IHSA Class 3A state championships in the 800- and 1600-meter runs to earn her second Gatorade POY award in track. Her 800 (2:05.10) and 1600 (4:34.22) times ranked as the nation’s No. 6 and No. 4 performances by a prep girl this spring.
  • What's next: Ince will run at the University of Oregon.

Patrick Hilby, Aurora Central Catholic track and field

  • Why he was picked: The 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior middle-distance all-American won a national title and set a state record with a 1:47.55 win in the 800-meter race at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor. It is the No. 6 clocking in U.S. high school history. He also swept the 400 and 800 at the IHSA Class 3A state meet.
  • What's next: Hilby will run at the University of Wisconsin.
The 12 high school athletes who won Illinois player of the year awards from Gatorade (2024)


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