Marielle Mitchell accepts Comeback Player of the Year at the Y Awards. (Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah — Redshirt freshman Marielle Mitchell earned Comeback Player of the Year at the annual Y Awards Wednesday night.
Mitchell endured four surgeries, including the fusion of a cadaver’s bone with her own bone in October 2015. She earned a 9.600 on bars in her first competition of the 2017 season and was named to the NACGC/W Scholastic All-American and MRGC All-Academic teams in 2016.
“I am grateful that I can do any form of gymnastics,” Mitchell said. “I feel really honored to get the award because it really means something, especially with all the effort I’ve put in.”
After coming to BYU as a freshman, Mitchell was told both before and after the cadaver’s bone surgery she could never perform gymnastics again. Mitchell didn’t believe the doctors and chose to prove doctors and trainers wrong. Through diligent rehabilitation and conditioning, she progressed to start landing and tumbling again and eventually compete as a bars specialist.
“I’ve worked this hard and come back from so many other injuries, and I’m not going to let this next one keep me down,” Mitchell said. “I’ve worked too hard to give it up now.”
In her acceptance speech, Mitchell spoke of refusing to let others dictate your fate.
“That embodies her to a ‘T’ because she’s been told by different doctors and coaches that she can’t do this or can’t do that, and she didn’t listen to them,” BYU head coach Guard Young said. “I see a really bright future for her. As a coach, you couldn’t be prouder of your athlete.”
Y Awards winners were selected by votes from their fellow BYU student-athletes. Each head coach could nominate one athlete from their team for each of the categories. The Cougar Council, a group of athletes comprised of two representatives from every team, narrowed down the candidates prior to the final athlete voting. Award qualifications are based on competition from April 2016 to March 2017.
Three other gymnasts were Y Award finalists: Shannon Hortman (Female Rookie of the Year), Brittni Hawes (Walk-On of the Year) and Jill van Mierlo (Female Crowd Pleaser).
To read more about other Y Award winners, click here.