Barely one week after announcing Rio Rancho High School senior Noah Brewer had been named the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year, the Rams completed a diamond sweep: On Thursday, Gatorade announced that infielder Brianna Gallegos is its 2020 Softball Player of the Year.
Gallegos is the fifth Gatorade New Mexico Softball Player of the Year to be chosen from Rio Rancho High School, and the second in a row, following Briana Martinez last year. One week earlier, Rams baseball player Noah Brewer had been named the Gatorade baseball recipient for the state in the pandemic-shortened season.
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 Gallegos as New Mexico’s best high school softball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award to be announced in June, the 5-foot-8 senior outfielder and infielder batted .600 with four home runs, seven RBIs and a 2.181 OPS in six games this spring before the remainder of the season was canceled.
A first-team All-State and All-Metro selection, Gallegos led the Rams to the Class 5A state championship in 2019, socking 19 home runs, hitting .515 with 36 RBIs, 56 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.
Also a talented singer, Gallegos has volunteered locally on behalf of a VA hospital and youth softball programs.
“Brianna has been a leader on our team since she started in the eighth grade,” said RRHS coach Paul Kohman. “She tied the state home run record last year, even while missing five games because of a concussion, and I have no doubt she would have broken it this year.”
Gallegos maintained a 3.57 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at New Mexico State University.
Gallegos joins RRHS Gatorade softball winners Martinez (2019), BreOnna Castañeda (2015), Nicole Pendley ((2014) and Brittany Burtner (2001) — the first Gatorade recipient in any sport at RRHS.
All four previous Rams winners went on to play collegiately: Burtner (Colorado State University), Pendley (University of Oklahoma), Castañeda (University of Utah) and Martinez (University of New Mexico).
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.