Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award

FAIRFAX, Va. - Three high school volleyball players were announced by The Side-Out Foundation and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) as winners of the 2017 Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet. A four-person review board evaluated each application and AVCA and Side-Out are proud to announce Megan McFarland from Bishop Feehan High School (Attleboro, Mass.), Alyssa Dallmer from Central Bucks High School South (Warrington, Pa.) and Kayla Podgurski from Columbus Academy (Pickerington, Ohio) as winners of the 2017 Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award.

As Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award recipients, these three individuals are awarded scholarships as part of Side-Out’s Ambassador Program and received a special announcement at the banquet on Friday.

“Every year we receive applications from some really incredible student-athletes but this year's crop of applicants is truly special,” said Side-Out Executive Director Rick Dunetz. “We had the highest number of applicants in our history, so it was an extremely difficult process for our review board. All in all, these young people are amazing and it is clear that their experiences impacted their team, their community, and most importantly themselves.”

The Side-Out Foundation is the only charity in the United States using the power and teamwork of the volleyball community to beat cancer. To be a Side-Out Ambassador, individuals had to host a Dig Pink® event for The Side-Out Foundation, complete at least two hours of stage IV breast cancer education and write an essay about their experiences. Side-Out received a record number of applicants to be a part of Side-Out’s Ambassador Program in 2017, almost doubling last year’s total.

“The work done by Side-Out and their student leaders is remarkable,” said AVCA Executive Director, Kathy DeBoer. “They know that determined, hard-working individuals can impact change influence intractable conditions like metastatic breast cancer.”

The Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award is given to three ambassadors each year who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to the sport and to their community. These national honor winners received the highest scores on essays submitted to the Side-Out/AVCA review board outlining their role in staging Dig Pink® events, addressing why they felt connected to the cause and elaborating on other ways each had given back to the community throughout the year.

In addition to the three AVCA Dig Pink Award Winners, six individuals earned scholarships for their efforts through the Side-Out Ambassador Program. Emily Ashby (Castle Rock HS; Castle Rock, Wash.), Maille Bernice-Benavente Moriarty (Seward HS; Seward, Alaska), Holly Sherburne (East Rutherford HS; Rutherfordton, N.C.), Megan Rex (Oelwein HS; Oelwein, Iowa), Riley von Borstel (Seward HS; Seward, Alaska) and Jane Wickett (Espirtu Santo Catholic School; Oldsmar, Fla.) have been announced as scholarship winners.