The accolades continue to roll in for one of Arundel’s greatest.
On Tuesday, Gatorade announced Wildcats senior Zaria Ragler as its 2021-22 Gatorade Maryland Volleyball Player of the Year.
The award honors Ragler, the Capital Gazette 2021 Player of the Year and Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro Player of the Year, as not only an achieving athlete and Maryland’s best volleyball player but as a student with high academic performance as well as someone with “exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court,” according to a news release.
“It feels amazing,” Ragler said. “I love playing volleyball and to play and be recognized for something I love to do is truly awesome. I’m so blessed and grateful for everything volleyball has brought to my life.”
Ragler, an Ohio State signee, is now a finalist to be Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year, which will be decided later this month. She is the second Arundel player to be selected as Maryland’s best after Brooke Watts in 2021.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program highlights one high school athlete from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in football, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, baseball, softball and boys and girls track and field annually. The selection committee compiles information from coaches, scouts, media and others to determine its honorees.
No one embodied Arundel’s near-unbeatable spirit more than Ragler. WIth 227 kills, 77 blocks, 68 digs and 47 aces, the 6-foot-1 middle blocker piloted the Wildcats to a 20-1 record and their second straight Class 4A state championship.
“Zaria Ragler was dominant this year,” Severna Park coach Tim Dunbar said in the release. “When they could get her the ball, she was almost unstoppable. She was better than anyone else I saw this year.”
Ragler also shines off the court. An Athletic Leadership Council member who runs camps and clinics with Metro Volleyball Club, she also serves as a Girl Scout and completed service projects with Delta Gamma. She has the chance to help her local volleyball community more than she already has. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” program, Ragler might select a local or national organization that benefits young athletes through sports to which she can donate a $1,000 grant.
She’ll also have the opportunity to persuade Gatorade to bestow upon her one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants through a short video essay. The winners will be announced later this year.
“I know I couldn’t have done it without the support from my family, friends, coaches and teammates,” Ragler said. “The love that I’ve received from all these amazing people have helped me become who I am today and I will never forget that.”