Jess Mruzik Named 2019-20 Gatorade® National Volleyball Pla

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|Jan 23|magazine49 min read

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., Jan. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 35th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Jess Mruzik of Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Mich. is the 2019-20 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year. Mruzik won the prestigious award for her accomplishments on and off the court joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year winners who have combined for 89 gold medals and 13 National Championships.

Mruzik was surprised with the award in front of teammates, coaches, friends and family at her school. Check out a video of the announcement here.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Mruzik as the nation's best high school volleyball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Mruzik from nearly half a million high school volleyball players nationwide.

Competition for the national award is fierce. Mruzik topped the list of 51 state winners in volleyball who have an incredible list of accomplishments, including 15 All-Americans, 27 All-State, 10 Big Ten committees, 15 with a GPA of 3.8 or higher and 40 volunteering with at least two organizations.

Mruzik is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

"I first saw Jess as an eighth grader, when she was dominating older players on the club circuit," says John Tawa, Managing Editor for PrepVolleyball.com. "Not only had she already begun to flash the all-around skillset that overwhelms opponents today, but she also showed the grit and determination that all great athletes possess. Even at a young age, she understood that need to expect more of herself than others because of the extraordinary gifts she owned."

The state's returning Gatorade Player of the Year and 6-foot-1 senior outside hitter led the Marlins to a 59-1 record and the Division 1 state championship this past season. Mruzik compiled 495 kills, 209 digs, 47 service aces and 19 blocks while posting a dizzying .635 kill percentage and a .540 hitting percentage. The captain of the USA Volleyball Youth National Team, Mruzik missed 16 matches in September while leading Team USA to the gold medal at the FIVB Girls U18 World Championships in Egypt, earning tournament MVP honors in the process. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 2,151 kills.        

A member of the Science Club and Spirit Club, Mruzik participated in a community cleanup effort sponsored by Mercy High School and has also donated her time instructing youth players in association with her volleyball club team as well as assisting with her local grade school volleyball program. She has also served as part of a local quilting initiative to benefit children of families in need. Mruzik has maintained a 3.47 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of Michigan this fall, though she matriculated at Ann Arbor on Jan. 9.

"Gatorade Player of the Year is the most prestigious award in high school sports and recognizes only the best and brightest," said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O'Brien. "We selected Jess Mruzik not only for her athletic talent, but also for outstanding academic achievement and exemplary character."

Through Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Mruzik has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year. 

Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation's top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track and field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.

Since the program's inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.

About Gatorade

The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), meets the needs of consumers who participate in Sports and Fitness, through brands that include Gatorade, Propel, Muscle Milk and Bolt24. The solutions they provide are driven by a deep understanding of the unique needs and occasions of different types of sports and fitness. Gatorade, their marquee brand, is underpinned by more than 50-year history of studying the best athletes in the world and sports-nutrition research by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, allowing it to provide scientifically-formulated products that meet athletes' needs both on and off the field. For more information and a full list of products, please visit www.gatorade.com.

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $64 billion in net revenue in 2018, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our fundamental belief that the success of our company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around us. We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world enable PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com

PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS

YEAR

NAME

HOMETOWN

STATUS

2018-19

Ellie Holzman

New Orleans, LA

University of Illinois 

2017-18

Thayer Hall

Roebuck, SC

University of Florida

2016-17

Lexi Sun

Solana Beach, CA

University of Nebraska

2015-16

Khalia Lanier

Phoenix, AZ

University of Southern California

2014-15

Mikaela Foecke

West Point, IA

US Women's National Volleyball Team

2013-14

Alexa Filley

Louisville, KY

Played for Auburn University

2012-13

Lauren Carlini

Aurora, IL

US Women's National Volleyball Team

2011-12

Jordan Burgess

Tampa, FL

Played for Stanford University

2010-11

Krista Vansant

Redlands, CA

Retired from US Women's National Volleyball Team

2009-10

Ashley Wittman

Shakopee, MN

Played for University of Minnesota

2008-09

Gina Mancuso

Papillion, NE

Played for University of Nebraska

2007-08

Kelly Murphy

Wilmington, IL

US Women's National Volleyball Team

2006-07

Alix Klineman

Manhattan Beach, CA

US Women's National Beach Volleyball Team

2005-06

Megan Hodge

Durham, NC

US Women's National Volleyball Team

2004-05

Cynthia Barboza

Long Beach, CA

Retired from US Women's National Volleyball Team

2003-04

Cynthia Barboza

Long Beach, CA

Retired from US Women's National Volleyball Team

2002-03

Kristin Richards

Orem, UT

Retired from US Women's National Volleyball Team

2001-02

Bre Ladd

Tucson, AZ

Played for University of Arizona

2000-01

Ogonna Nnamani

Bloomington, IL

Retired from US Women's National Volleyball Team

1999-00

April Ross

Newport Beach, CA

US National Beach Volleyball Team

1998-99

Logan Tom

Pelham, AL

Played for Stanford University

1997-98

Sara Sandrik

Salt Lake City, UT

Played for Stanford University

1996-97

Denise Boylan

Lisle, IL

Played for University of Notre Dome

1995-96

Kerri Walsh

San Jose, CA

US Women's National Beach Volleyball Team

 

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SOURCE The Gatorade Company