Olathe Northwest’s Skyler Pierce wins Evelyn Gates Award as KC’s top volleyball player

Olathe Northwest High School senior Skyler Pierce is the 2023 recipient of the Evelyn Gates Award, given annually to the top high school volleyball player in the Kansas City area.

An outside hitter, Pierce has signed with the University of Nebraska to play volleyball at the NCAA Division I level next year.

The announcement that she’d won the Evelyn Gates Award was made Wednesday afternoon at Olathe Northwest. Pierce was presented a traveling trophy for display at the high school and a $500 stipend for her school’s athletic department.

Pierce is a two-time All-Olathe Player of the Year and two-time winner of the Sunflower League Player of the Year award. She’s received numerous All-American honors throughout her high school and club volleyball career, and she also happens to be a standout 6-foot-2 center in basketball.

Selected to the Kansas Class 6A all-state first team following each season of her high school volleyball career, Pierce is also regarded as a leader around the ONW campus. She is a member of National Honor Society, the Olathe Student-Athlete Advisory Board, the Black Student Union, FCA Awake and eCommunications Graphic Design.

Each year, a committee comprised of area high school coaches selects a recipient for the Evelyn Gates Award. But first they narrow an always-talented field to four finalists who embody “top-tier skill, spirit and sportsmanship,” as noted on the WIN for KC/Kansas City Sports Commission’s website.

The other three finalists for this year’s award were:

  • Chloe Tyrrell, Olathe East senior: An outside hitter, Tyrrell plans to play for (and study nursing at) Rockhurst University next year.

  • Logan Parks, Blue Valley North junior: An opposite/setter, Parks holds offers from all 10 top-college programs; she also played for the Team USA U19s at this past summer’s Pan Am Cup.

  • Carlie Cisneros, Liberty North senior: An outside hitter, Cisneros will attend the University of Arizona next year on a volleyball scholarship.

Evelyn Gates, a retired histology technician at KU Medical Center, officiated high school and college volleyball, softball and basketball games in the metro for more 45 years.

She was a staunch supporter of girls high school sports right up until her death in 2003, and the reach of her legacy continues today with the award in her name.

Evelyn Gates Award: past winners

2022: Shaye Koski, Park Hill

2021: Addison Beagle, Liberty North

2020: Honorable mentions, 29 of them (no winner due to COVID)

2019: Ellie Bolton, St. James Academy

2018: Ellie Bichelmeyer, St. Teresa’s Academy

2017: Annika Welty, Park Hill South

2016: Madison Lilley, Blue Valley West

2015: Orie Agbagi, Oak Park

2014: Lexi Hart, Truman

2013: Anna Kropf, St. Teresa’s Academy

2012: Cheyanne Lyons, Raymore-Peculiar

2011: Paige Brown, St. James Academy

2010: Hanna Forst, St. James Academy

2009: Marianne Beal, Lee’s Summit North

2008: Jessica Kopp, Lee’s Summit West

2007: Kathleen Ludwig, Bishop Miege

2006: Michelle Jantsch, St. Theresa’s Academy

2005: Erin Birmingham, Park Hill South

2004: Sammie Williams, Fort Osage