Congratulations to Sonia Citron ’21 who was named the 2019-20 Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Player of the Year on March 6, 2020.
This award distinguishes Sonia as New York’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, she 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, 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-1 junior guard led the Koalas to a 22-0 record and the sectional semifinals at the time of her selection. Sonia averaged 23.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.1 assists through 22 games. A Second Team All-State selection as a sophomore, Citron is an All Section 1 honoree and led the USA Basketball U16 Women’s National Team to a gold medal at the 2019 FIBA Americas Championship.
“Citron is a complete player in every sense of the word,” said Michael Blanco, head coach at Scarsdale High. “She can play any position and guard any position. She can score on every part of the court and handle the ball. She always defends the top player on the opposing team.”
This award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Sonia, a junior, has maintained a weighted 4.83 GPA in the classroom. Over and above her rigorous academic schedule, Sonia participates in many activities at Ursuline including an after school club, Warm Hands Warm Hearts, that prepares a meal each month for 100 clients at a local soup kitchen. Her unassuming yet warm presence is noticed and admired by the other girls and everyone within her company.
Sonia also, importantly, stands out as a humble, generous and genuinely kind young woman who exudes confidence and compassion. She is a leader on and off the court. She instills confidence in her teammates which elevates the enjoyment of the game for players and fans alike.
Ursuline basketball coach Beth Wooters says, "Sonia receiving the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year award is a tremendous honor and is well deserved, especially as a junior. Sonia's basketball abilities are just one aspect of her. She is an outstanding student and is an active member of her school community. I am just thrilled that she has been recognized with this amazing award."
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 and 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.
Sonia Citron joins Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Players of the Year Celeste Taylor (2018-19, Long Island Lutheran High School), Emily Engstler (2017-18, St. Francis Preparatory School), Andra Espinoza-Hunter (2016-17, Ossining High School), Dominique Toussaint (2015-16, Christ the King High School), Lauren Brozoski (2014-15, Long Island Lutheran High School), and Sierra Calhoun (2013-14, Christ the King High School) as athletes who have won the basketball award since its inception in 2007.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Sonia 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.
Photos here by Chris Pope of Christopher Pope Photography.