By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Farmington Hills Mercy senior Jess Mruzik has been awarded as Gatorade’s national “Player of the Year” after earlier earning the state award for the second-straight season.
Mruzik – who missed the start of the high school season while leading the U-18 Team USA squad to a world championship in Egypt – returned to Mercy and led the Marlins to the Division 1 championship, their first MHSAA Finals title in volleyball.
A 6-foot-1 outside hitter, Mruzik totaled 495 kills, 209 digs, 47 aces and 19 blocks with .635 kill and .540 hitting percentages. Mercy finished 59-1.
Mruzik also carries a 3.47 grade-point average and has participated in her school’s community clean-up effort and provided youth volleyball instruction as part of her club and local grade school programs. She has begun her studies at University of Michigan, where she will continue her volleyball career.
PHOTO: Farmington Hills Mercy’s Jess Mruzik winds up for a kill attempt during the fall’s Division 1 Final.
Sarah Bradley ♦ Clarkston Everest Collegiate
Junior ♦ Volleyball
The 6-0 outside hitter had 31 kills – tied for sixth-most in an MHSAA Final – with a .419 hitting percentage and 18 digs as Everest Collegiate came back from a two-set deficit to defeat No. 4-ranked Leland in five in Saturday’s Division 4 championship match at Kellogg Arena. The first Finals title in program history capped a tournament run that saw the Mountaineers also win their first Regional title. Everest entered the postseason ranked No. 10 in Division 4 and finished 32-4-2.
Bradley finished the season with 420 kills, adding 15 in a Quarterfinal win over No. 6 Marlette and 25 in a five-set Semifinal victory over top-ranked Adrian Lenawee Christian during which Everest also came back after losing the first two sets. Bradley was named to the Division 4 all-state first team after earning an honorable mention as a sophomore. She also plays basketball, softball and soccer for the Mountaineers and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field as she begins contemplating her college possibilities.
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Past 2023-24 Honorees
Nov. 17: Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10: Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27: Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20: Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13: Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5: Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29: MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22: Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15: Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8: Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1: Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report
(Photos courtesy of the Clarkston Everest Collegiate athletic department.)