The Times West Virginian

December 9, 2013

Mascaro in the running for USA Today High School Ultimate Athlete award

By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Fairmont Senior girls’ soccer player Gabi Mascaro is up for another award as the 2012 sports season comes to a close.

Mascaro, a senior, has won in her group of athletes in the USA Today High School Sports’ contest for the Ultimate Athlete award and will advance to the next round of voting, which begins today.

If she wins, Mascaro will be given $1,000 for her school, which she said she’ll give to the soccer program, $100 for herself and the chance to be featured in USA Today.

After being nominated by her Olympic Development Program, Mascaro went through a voting process to get into the contest.

“Because my ODP program has so many excelling athletes, I think it’s a really big honor to even be recognized,” Mascaro said. “I was extremely happy when I found out I was the one they nominated.”

From there, Mascaro was selected as one of the top 100 student-athletes to kick off the contest publicly, allowing her to share her page on the site and get people’s votes.

The chance to even make it into the top 100 was something special for the soccer player.

“(I was) pretty excited because that means that the sponsors of the contest thought I was a deserving candidate also,” she said.

The next step in the process was to divide the top 100 athletes into eight groups and have them compete for the next round, with the top four making it from each. Mascaro excelled again, making it to the next round.

Now, though, the task of getting as many votes as possible stands in front of her.

“(I’m) nervous because you can vote as many times as you want to. There’s no limit,” Mascaro said. “I mostly had my family and a few friends vote for me last round. The next round I’m going to try and get help from the Marion County schools and post it all over social networks.”

If she wins, Mascaro said she’ll take in her 15 minutes of fame but also take away a sense of pride for representing her community and state.

“I’d like to tell myself I’m famous for being in USA Today,” she joked. “But on a more serious note, I think it would just be a cool experience. I’ve never heard of anybody else ever doing this contest.”

On her page for the contest, Mascaro lists that she has been a leader on her team for four years, battled through rigorous training for injuries and details some key moments in her high school journey.

To vote online, go to and find Mascaro.

Email Matt Welch at or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.