By Robert Wilson
For the second consecutive year, Parker Bracken had a unique wake-up call from her volleyball coach, Jackson Academy’s Melissa Denson.
“I was halfway asleep, and I thought I was dreaming when she told me that I had won Gatorade Player of the Year for the second time, but this news surely did wake me up,” Bracken said. “It was just about the best way to start your day ever. I honestly was just so happy and relieved when we finally got the results (they took longer due to COVID). I’m just so happy that I got to end my long career at JA with a second Gatorade Player of the Year award.”
Bracken, a 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter, was named Mississippi’s Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year for the second straight year. A MaxPreps first team All-American and MAIS Player of the Year, Bracken led JA to a 29-4 record and the MAIS championship, her fifth state title at JA. Bracken had 473 kills, 330 digs, 107 service aces and 33 blocks. As a junior, she led the Lady Raiders to a 43-3 record.
Bracken, who has signed with LSU to play beach volleyball, was ranked as the No. 1 player in Mississippi and the No. 107 player in the nation by prepvolleyball.com. She is Mississippi’s all-time leader with 2,494 kills.
“Parker is not only an outstanding athlete, but an even better person,” Denson said. “I’ve watched her grow through the last three years and surpass all expectations. Parker understands the meaning of servant leadership. I’ve watched her lead on the court, spend time with younger athletes, and take time out of her day to help new varsity members. She’s kind, driven, funny and humble. She’s now the most decorated player in the history of Mississippi volleyball. It’s hard to put into words the legacy and path she’s paved for young girls with the same dreams. She put our school, our state and this sport on the map. It’s hard to imagine Mississippi volleyball without Parker Bracken. I’ve been blessed to have the last three years with her. I’ll miss her so much next year, but I am so excited to see how God uses her at LSU.”
Bracken had a 3.84 grade point average and has served as a mentor for elementary school students and has volunteered locally on behalf of Operation Christmas Child and youth volleyball programs.