Westwood’s Ticora Gaskin named Gatorade Player of the Year

CHICAGO — In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, last week Gatorade announced Ticora Gaskin of Westwood High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade South Carolina Girls Track & Field Player of the Year. Gaskin is the second Gatorade South Carolina Girls Track & Field Player of the Year to be chosen from Westwood High School in as many years. Fellow Westwood Class of 2023 graduate Brianna Rodriguez was awarded the same honor in 2022.

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 Gaskin as South Carolina’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, Gaskin joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Jasmine Moore (2018-19, Lake Ridge High School, Texas), Sydney McLaughlin (2016-17, 2015-16 & 2014-15, Union Catholic High School, N.J.), and Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa).

The 5-foot-5 senior repeated as the Class AAAA long jump champion this past season and took second in the 200- meter dash along with seventh in the 100 to help the Redhawks earn a share of the team championship. Gaskin set a new state long jump record with her wind-legal leap of 20 feet, 3 inches at the state qualifier, which ranked No. 12 nationally among girls prep competitors in 2023. She was nearly a foot better than any other girls athlete in the state in the event and represents the first 20-foot prep jumper in South Carolina in nine years.

Gaskin has served as an active member of local church ministries for years, including singing in youth and teen choirs and performing with the liturgical dance ministry. She has also volunteered with a soup kitchen in addition to serving as a teen usher, youth assistant teacher and Vacation Bible School. In addition, she has donated her time as a youth gymnastics coach.

“Ticora Gaskin repeated as Class AAAA long jump champion, but it was her 20-3 performance in the qualifying meet that eclipsed one of the most impressive state marks on record—set in 2014 by Fort Dorchester graduate and 2021 Olympic 100-meter hurdles gold medalist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn,” said Erik Boal, editor at DyeStat.com. “Gaskin improved her long jump by 11 inches from last year and has the potential to contend for a Big South Conference title immediately next year in college.”

Gaskin has maintained a 3.37 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on scholarship at Campbell University 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 leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.

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