Gracie Brown wins 2nd straight state Gatorade Player of the Year award

MORGANTOWN — After leading her team to its second straight Class AAA girls soccer state championship, Morgantown High School midfielder Gracie Brown has been named the 2023-24 Gatorade West Virginia State Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

After capturing a state title and the same award one season prior, Brown and the Mohigans picked up right where they left off and never looked back en route to their second title in a row and another accolade for their captain.

“I’m humbled to be able to say I won this award twice,” Brown said. “Seeing all of my hard work pay off is a rewarding feeling. It’s also an honor for me to represent my entire team and coaches this way.”

The 5-foot-4 senior led the Mohigans to a 17-1-2 record on the year with the aforementioned state title defense. Brown scored 26 goals and assisted for nine, scoring multiple goals in eight games, four being hat tricks. She finished her career at MHS with 69 goals and 45 assists.

Brown has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service initiatives through Key Club at Morgantown High and has donated her time as a youth soccer coach and mentor. She also held a 4.0 GPA at MHS. 

“Gracie Brown is one of the most respectable and hard-working players I’ve ever seen,” said Bri Frontuto, head coach at MHS.  “Gracie’s leadership of her teammates went far beyond the field. Her tenacity on the field is a trait many opposing teams feared throughout the season.”

Despite the loss of a strong senior class and a new head coach in Frontuto, Brown said the challenges that were presented and that she and her team overcame defined the story of the year.

“It was an amazing feeling to accomplish defending a state title,” she said. “With new teammates surrounding me, they pushed me to step up more than ever.”

The daughter of WVU women’s soccer head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, Brown has always been around the game, particularly in Morgantown and West Virginia. She says her time at MHS will be hard to forget anytime soon.

“Most importantly, I will always remember the friends and relationships MHS has brought me,” Brown said. “Along with the friendships, I will always hold on to the high-achieving athletic culture that you’re surrounded with at Morgantown.”

Although winning a state title and a state Player of the Year award is nothing new to Brown, she did experience playing in high school with her younger sister Gabbie, a freshman, for the first and last year ever.

“Being able to experience and accomplish so many goals with my little sister Gabbie made it the most special year ever,” Brown said. “The emotion after hearing the final whistle and running to hug her was a feeling I will never forget.”

It may not be a feeling she will have to search to find again for too long as Brown will now make her way south to join the Tigers of Auburn University in the fall, where her older sister Sammie, who also won the same award in 2019-20, is already a member of the squad.

“Going into my first season at Auburn, my main goal is to stay focused and continue to improve,” Brown said. “Alongside my older sister Sammie, I hope to bring some Morgantown High success to Auburn with me.”