Marian’s Ava Sarafa ’23, the captain of the state-champion Mustangs volleyball team, was selected as the winner of the 2023 Catholic League’s Walt Bazylewicz Athlete of the Year, the highest honor for a female and male athlete. She becomes the third straight Marian student-athlete to win the award.
Marian’s Ava Sarafa ’23, the captain of the state-champion Mustangs volleyball team, was selected as the winner of the 2023 Catholic League’s Walt Bazylewicz Athlete of the Year, the highest honor for a female and male athlete. The announcement was made on May 19 at Comerica Park during the Catholic League’s baseball championship games.
Ava was selected among 17,000 students representing 27 high schools. This is the third straight year a Marian student-athlete has won the award (Ava Brizzard ’22, Shannon Kennedy’21) and the fourth Marian girl overall (Stephanie Storen ’93) since the award was introduced in 1989.
In her senior season, Ava played 123 sets, 1359 assists, 11.0 ast/st (#2 nationally), 2951 BHA, and 14 errors. She was the top-ranked setter in Michigan and ranked fourth nationally by PrepDig. She led the Mustangs to their third-straight Division 1 state championship, the smallest school in Division 1. Ava received many honors throughout her senior season from the Michigan Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) including All-Academic Team, All-Region, 1st Team All-State, and finished second for the title of Miss Volleyball.
She was the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National All-Region player and the Vball Recruiter National Player of the Year. She was named 1st Team All-America by AVCA, MaxPreps, USA Today and Sports Illustrated.
“I’m so proud of Ava. It’s been a pleasure watching her play,” said Mike Watson, Marian’s Athletic Director. “It’s also been a pleasure seeing her work ethic and approach to her preparation has lifted our entire program. She is a talented athlete, but her approach and work ethic will take her beyond her volleyball career.”
Ava, who will be playing volleyball for the University of Kentucky, also volunteered at the Ava Maria Foundation and was the assistant coach for the Birmingham Covington School. She has also volunteered her time at Detroit Children’s Hospital during their toy drive and other activities.
The awards are in tribute to Walt Bazylewicz, one of the Catholic League’s most storied coaches who became league director and presided over the Catholic League during a period of incredible growth in prep athletics. The winners’ names will be entered on a permanent plaque in conjunction with the Catholic League Hall of Fame.
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Marian High School, an IHM sponsored school, is fully accredited by NCA CASI, an accrediting division of AdvancED.
Marian is a Catholic college preparatory school for young women, sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The mission of Marian is to ensure, within a Christian environment, an excellent education built on a strong academic curriculum, which will enable young women to value human diversity and live responsible lives of leadership and action based on gospel values.
An enduring tradition: guiding young women spiritually, challenging them academically, and inspiring them to a life of leadership and service.