Counting the days before heading to the College of Charleston to pursue his college and athletic career, Conner Walmsley, a recently graduated football player from St. Paul, thought he was going to sleep Thursday morning.
That was until her mother walked into her room at 9:30 a.m. crying.
“My room was pitch black so I could barely see,” Walmsley said. “But she comes in crying, telling me that I had been selected as the Gatorade Louisiana player of the year. So, I check my phone and see that I received the email confirming that I had been selected. I had the “crying mom, I’m so proud of you” speech. Obviously, I was pretty excited to win such a prestigious award. “
Walmsley is the second consecutive winner from the greater New Orleans area, following Jesuit Shane Lanson in 2017-18. He is also the third St. Paul’s player to win the award in the past five years, joining Colin Ross in 2015-16 and Colin Hanley in 2014-15.
“My first thoughts when I found out were a lot of pride,” Walmsley said. “(Winning this award) just shows me that all the hard work and training almost every day has paid off. I’m also honored to be able to follow a long line of St. Paul players who have won this award.”
The Gatorade Award completes an impressive series of awards for the St. Paul’s graduate, who was also named St. Tammany Parish Player of the Year, New Orleans Advocate All- Player of the Year. Metro and Division I offensive MVP by the Louisiana High School Football Coaches Association.
One of the two senior captains of the 2018-19 team, Walmsley finished with 12 goals and 13 assists. His 12-goal campaign was marked by a hat trick in a 4-0 victory over District rival Mandeville in the state playoffs as he helped St. Paul’s regain its Championship trophy. Division I state earlier this spring with a victory over rival Jesuit.
In addition to his exploits in the field, Walmsley volunteers locally on behalf of Habitat for Humanity and has helped raise funds for childhood cancer research. In class, he maintained a grade point average of 4.42.
For winning the Gatorade Player of the Year award, Walmsley will also be able to award a $ 1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization as part of Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” program.
He joins cross-country runners Hunter Appleton (Brother Martin) and Mary Nusloch (Academy of the Sacred Heart) and Mount Carmel volleyball star Ellie Holzman as New Orleans area award winners State Gatorade this year. Holzman was then named National Volleyball Player of the Year.