Volleyball player recognized in state

For the second year in a row Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School student Jordyn Byrd has been named the Gatorade Florida Volleyball Player of the Year which was announced Jan. 13, 2023.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Jordyn as Florida’s best high school volleyball player.

The state’s returning Gatorade Player of the Year, the 6-foot-5 senior outside hitter amassed 571 kills and 206 digs this past season, leading the Cougars (18-10) to the Class 3A state quarterfinals. Byrd also recorded 52 service aces and 48 blocks while posting a .571 kill percentage and a .439 hitting percentage. Ranked as the nation’s No. 16 recruit in the Class of 2023 by PrepDig.com, she concluded her prep volleyball career with 1,640 kills.

Jordyn has volunteered locally as a Mooney student ambassador, and she has donated her time with Stuff the Bus, which collects school supplies and toiletries for underserved children in the Sarasota region.

“Jordyn is better than any hitter I’ve seen in the state,” said Kim Whitney, head coach of Calvary Christian High School. “She attacks the ball at a very high point, which is very difficult to defend. She’s able to put a ball away wherever she is on the court.”

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward initiative,” every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.

At Mooney, Jordyn has maintained a 3.69 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of Texas this fall. She is also a standout on the Mooney basketball team.