Student Athlete of the Week: Gulfport Volleyball’s Sydney Mitchell
This week’s News 25 Student Athlete of the Week is Gulfport’s Sydney Mitchell. The star outside hitter for the Lady Admirals like to play the game fast, with lots of power, and plenty of zest, elevating her team’s energy and chemistry.
“I feel like I just have the whole court. Like I can do whatever I want as an outside.”
While junior Sydney Mitchell may be a six-position player for the Lady Admirals, the three-year varsity starter has found her sweet spot as outside hitter.
Mitchell leads her team in kills with 324, surpassing her 302 from last year with three matches still left to play in the regular season.
The junior’s biggest contribution to the Lady Admirals squad has less to do with stats and everything to do with her passion on the court. Gulfport Volleyball Head Coach David Irwin said, “Her energy is so through the roof. We have a great time watching her face whenever she gets a kill or whatever and she just brings so much energy and effort and just builds the whole team up around that.”
“I want them to know they just got destroyed with whatever we just put out. So, it’s just like a good thing. And it makes everybody else happier. Like we’re all smiling, we’re all laughing. It’s just a really good moment.”
One of Mitchell’s highlights so far this season came last week when Gulfport clinched the program’s first ever district title after defeating Biloxi in three straight sets. “It was literally one of the best things ever. Like tears of joy, like everything. I loved it. Because we had lost– no we won, but we had done it in five. So that kinda sucked so we were like we’re taking it back in three. And so, we did and we won and it was just really great.”
After her freshman year at perennial volleyball powerhouse Oak Grove, Mitchell transferred to Gulfport in the middle of a pandemic. She said the hardest part about the transfer wasn’t coming onto a new team, it was trying to get her family’s belongings moved down here to the Coast. “I would not wish that on my worst enemy. That was so hectic. One, trying to find people who were actually still moving because we had all of our stuff in our house and trying to move down here. Trying to find people that would actually work with the COVID situation.”
Mitchell has fully embraced her new community. Besides repping her new home on the court, Mitchell works with three middle school volleyball players once a week. “I especially teach them the basics like getting back to the day one type of stuff. It really helps me remember oh I actually need to be doing that too. I ‘m not just that athlete that can just slack off and not do it.”
While the Lady Admirals’ season will come to an end in a month, Mitchell plays volleyball year-round. After playoffs is travel ball, then AAU and beach volleyball, and then back to school. The junior hopes this hard work pays off in a shot to play at Ole Miss and earn an education to pursue a career in sports training. “Just to like keep connected with athletes– I just really like the atmosphere of sports in general. I couldn’t care less what sport I’m helping students with or anything.”
To nominate someone you believe deserves to be featured as WXXV’s Student Athlete of the Week, please reach out to Grace Boyles through email (email@example.com), Facebook (@GraceBBoyles), and Twitter (@GraceBBoyles).
Nominees can participate in any sport and be any age. Make sure to tune in every Wednesday to see which local athlete we spotlight next.