About the Award 


The Evelyn Gates Award was established to honor a female high school varsity volleyball student-athlete who exhibits top tier skill, spirit and sportsmanship in the Kansas City area. The winner of the award is chosen by area high school coaches. This award is the only one of its kind honoring a female athlete in the states of Kansas and Missouri.

The annual traveling trophy is presented to the student-athlete to display at her school along with a $500 stipend for its athletic department.

the legacy of evelyn gates

Evelyn Gates (1932-2003), a retired histology technician from KU Medical Center, officiated high school and college volleyball, softball and basketball for over 45 years in the Kansas City area and was a staunch advocate for girls’ high school sports. During her career, she touched the lives of tens of thousands of high school athletes, parents and officials.


Evelyn played third base and pitched for the Kansas City Dons, a softball touring team in the 1960’s. While officiating high school sports, she was admired by coaches, officials, student-athletes and parents. She was first and foremost a “people person.” She loved talking and conversing with everyone she met. She was the first woman in the state of Missouri to officiate a boys’ high school varsity basketball game and she officiated the first women’s NAIA tournament game held in the Kansas City area.

She was a softball umpire and was elected to the Softball Hall of Fame in Missouri. She officiated in all phases of athletic competition from the state to the national level. She also mentored many women officials in the sports of softball, basketball and volleyball during the infant stages of the Title IX movement.

Evelyn died of cancer on May 5, 2003. A memorial fund has been established to support the Evelyn Gates Award. In order to sustain the award, contributions can be made to the following location:

Paula Fats Cannon, Branch Manager
Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Company
6202 Raytown Trafficway
Raytown, MO 64113

2021 evelyn gates award recipient

Addison Beagle,

Addison, a Team Captain, exemplifies what it means to be a positive leader of sportsmanship on and off the court. She’s the person first to cheer, first to huddle the team together if their opponent goes on a run, and the first to settle her team down.

Addison’s role in impacting the success of Liberty North Volleyball is unprecedented. Her dedication, leadership, heart, and passion will be taking her on to Drake University, where she will be starting there as the #1 recruit from her class.

Ellie Bolton

Ellie Bolton

Evelyn Gates Award Winners:

2021: Addison Beagle, Liberty North High School
2020: Honorable Mention*
2019: Ellie Bolton, St. James Academy
2018: Ellie Bichelmeyer, St. Teresa’s Academy
2017: Annika Welty, Park Hill South High School
2016: Madison Lilley, Blue Valley West High School
2015: Orie Agbagi, Oak Park High School
2014: Lexi Hart, Truman High School
2013: Anna Kropf, St. Teresa’s Academy
2012: Cheyanne Lyons, Raymore-Peculiar High School
2011: Paige Brown, St. James Academy
2010: Hanna Forst, St. James Academy
2009: Marianne Beal, Lee’s Summit North High School
2008: Jessica Kopp, Lee’s Summit West High School
2007: Kathleen Ludwig, Bishop Miege High School
2006: Michelle Jantsch, St. Theresa’s Academy
2005: Erin Birmingham, Park Hill South High School
2004: Sammie Williams, Fort Osage High School

*Due to COVID-19, honor was not awarded to an individual