Julia Yurkovich, a senior at Saint Mark’s High School, has been named the Gatorade Player of the Year for volleyball for Delaware. In the 38 years the award has been presented, Yurkovich is the seventh Spartan to be so honored.
The award recognizes athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character. Yurkovich is now a finalist for the Gatorade national player of the year, which is scheduled to be announced in January.
The 5-11 outside hitter led Saint Mark’s to a 17-2 record in 2022 and a berth in the state championship match, where the Spartans fell to Tower Hill. She recorded 298 kills, averaging 4.9 per set, along with 165 digs, 22 aces and 11 blocks. Yurkovich was named a first-team all-state selection by the state coaches association for the third straight year, and she was the coaches’ player of the year.
In the classroom, Yurkovich has maintained a 4.14 weighted grade-point average. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has signed to play collegiately at Presbyterian College in South Carolina.
In her community, she has volunteered at the Faithful Friends No-Kill Animal Shelter, caring for cats that are waiting to be adopted. She also has served at Marydale Retirement Village in Newark at its fall cleanup, as well as the Easter Seals Volleyball Challenge, which raises money to support individuals with special needs in Delaware.
She has gained the respect of opponents as well as her own coaches and teammates.
“We planned our whole defense and blocking scheme around her and still were not able to stop her,” said Jess Weller, the coach at Newark Charter High School. “She is a smart player and can tear apart your entire team. This year, I don’t believe there was any player close to Julia.”
Yurkovich joins recent winners Brenya Reid of Sussex Central, Raychel Ehlers of Indian River, Savannah Seemans of Saint Mark’s, and Maddie Matheny of Wilmington Charter.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in each state and the District of Columbia in football, volleyball, cross country, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, and track and field. The Gatorade selection committee includes coaches, scouts, media and others to help evaluate and determine state winners.
Every Gatorade Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. More information is available at playeroftheyear.gatorade.com.