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West’s Eva Mitchell named Gatorade Player of the Year

By any and all measures, Eva Mitchell has already had an outstanding high school career. The West Jessamine star capped it off by helping lead the Colts to a 24-4-1 overall record and the program’s first state title.

This week, Mitchell got even more good news — she was named the Gatorade High School Girl’s Soccer Player of the Year in the state of Kentucky.

“I was surprised at first that I got it, then I was really excited,” Mitchell said. “It’s probably one of my best awards. … It’s an honor because so many great players have won the award, and I’m just blessed to get the title.”

Mitchell scored 41 goals and assisted on 14. Her goal total ranked 15th in the state this season.

In her career, Mitchell scored 103 goals — tied for 34th most all-time in Kentucky — and totaled 54 assists — tied for 21st most in state history. She graduates as the Colts all-time leading scorer.

“The West program is great,” Mitchell said. “Coach (Kevin) Wright does a great job training all the kids. He really sets us up for success.”

Even with all the individual awards and scholarship to play at UK, she said winning the state title means the most.

“Compared to the individual awards, winning the state title means a lot more to me because I did it with my team, it was a great experience,” Mitchell said. “… It was the best feeling in the world. I’ve been through the state tournament before and lost. When you lose in the state tournament, it’s the worst feeling ever. When you finally win and don’t have to feel the loss, there’s nothing better.”

Mitchell was named Miss Soccer in the state, an NSCAA All-American, Midwest All-Region, first team All-State and first team All-Region.

She is the second West Jess player to win the award, joining Arin Gilliland. And like Gilliland, Mitchell will continue her career at the University of Kentucky. She spent the spring of 2016 in training sessions with the UK team after graduating from high school early.

“It was a pretty easy decision to me,” Mitchell said of her decision to attend UK. “Obviously, I’m from Kentucky, so UK means a lot to me. Really, just everything here is perfect for me. The coaching staff, the campus, how close it is to home.”

Mitchell and the Wildcats have already started training for the upcoming season, which begins August 18 at Wisconsin; their home opener is August 24 against Eastern Kentucky.

Mitchell said they’ve been running for a while, but the last few weeks have brought 6 a.m. workouts.

“It’s early, but it’s worth it,” Mitchell said.