Alabama's Largest Annual Multi-Sport Event for Youth & Adults!


Alabama State Games Athlete of the Year Competition

Athlete of the Year presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors

-Click on the link below to nominate!



The Alabama State Games, in an effort to recognize outstanding youth and adult amateur athletes, presents an Athlete of the Year award to four deserving individuals that participate in the Alabama State Games sporting event. The Athlete of the Year award is presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. One male and one female youth (under 18 years old) Athlete of the Year, and one male and one female adult (18 years and older) Athlete of the Year will be selected from submitted nominations. Following the Alabama State Games, sports directors, coaches, athletes, parents, and volunteers have the opportunity to nominate athletes for the Athlete of the Year presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. The nomination deadline is August 1 for 2017. A selection board will meet in the early Fall to determine the four winners.

Selections are based on sportsmanship, effort, attitude, overall athletic achievements, motivation and special attributes or circumstances. The recipients of the youth and adult male and female Athlete of the Year award presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors will receive a medal, walk in the Parade of Athletes and anchor the torch relay during the Alabama State Games Opening Ceremony, possibly mentioned in future Alabama State Games publications and be involved in promotional events. Winners will also be awarded a certificate signed by the current Governor of Alabama, at a special proclamation signing ceremony held at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, AL. Winners of the Alabama State Games Athlete of the Year presenting by Academy Sports + Outdoors will also be submitted for consideration by the National Congress of State Games in naming the female and male National Athlete of the Year.

The National Congress of State Games (NCSG), in an effort to recognize amateur athletes and further the purposes of the State Games movement, presents an Athlete of the Year award as well. National winners will be chosen from among the individual State Games' Athlete of the Year recipients.  Parents, spectators, athletes, coaches or sports directors may nominate athletes for the Alabama State Games' Athlete of the Year recognition.  The Alabama State Games' Athletes of the Year will be submitted for consideration by the National Congress of State Games in naming the one female and one male National Athlete of the Year. The male and female winners will be awarded a signed proclamation from the current Governor of Alabama and a medal recognizing them for this outstanding achievement. 

Thank you Academy Sports + Outdoors for supporting this great award!

More About Academy Sports + Outdoors 
Academy Sports + Outdoors is a premier sports, outdoor and recreation lifestyle retailer with a unique assortment of quality hunting, fishing and camping equipment and gear along with sports and leisure products, footwear, apparel, patio sets, barbecue grills and much more. The $4.6 billion company operates over 225 stores throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, where the company is based. The Academy Sports + Outdoors philosophy is to deliver an unparalleled shopping experience by providing convenience, offering a unique selection of quality products, delivering exceptional customer service and selling the right stuff at everyday low prices. For more information about Academy Sports + Outdoors visit and

The 2016 Athletes of the Year presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors are....

Youth Female Athlete of the Year 

Ashley Hawkins, Gymnastics 

Youth Female Athlete of the Year, Ashley Hawkins, Decatur, AL - age 17, has been competing in gymnastics since the age of 5. Ashley was awarded 3 gold medals in the 2016 Alabama State Games gymnastics competition. She began her love for this sport when she was 3 years old. She is an honor roll student at Hartselle High School and will graduate in 2017. Her passion for gymnastics has led her into leadership rolls as a coach for the Calvin Twisters. She has been a preschool, recreation, and competitive gymnastics coach to over 80 girls. She is an excellent roll model to the ladies who look up to her for love and encouragement. She has great sportsmanship and shows that attitude for all the competitors at meets. Ashley moved to Alabama 3 years ago and coached her team last year at the Alabama State Games. She decided to compete this year to support her students, and be apart of the excellent Olympic-style event experience. Ashley placed 2nd on beam this year at the Alabama USA Gymnastics State meet. She also represented Kentucky at the optional level 8 meet 3 years ago. Recently she had a big set back, and choose to complete a surgery to correct elbow problems she was having from a devastating fall. This was the only way to continue competing in the sport she loves. She is currently a level 9 gymnast with the determination to become a collegiate gymnasts. She is an excellent example of an athlete who has dedicated her life to the sport of gymnastics.

Youth Male Athlete of the Year

Brock Huner, Baseball 

Youth Male Athlete of the Year, Brock Huner, Troy, AL - age 15, is a sophomore at Charles Henderson High School in Troy. Brock has participated in the Alabama States Games the past two years. He and his teams were fortunate to be on the gold winning teams in baseball both years. For the 2016 Alabama State Games baseball tournament, Huner was 7 for 13 (0.538) at the plate with 5 RBI's including a walk-off double scoring the final two runs in bottom of the 8th inning vs. Luverne in an extra inning game during the semi-final round. He pitched in two games completing 9 innings. In the Championship game Huner pitched a complete game earning the win while allowing 6 runs (2 earned), scattering 6 hits, with 7 strikes outs and 2 walks. Brock plays 3 sports at 5A Charles Henderson High School. Along the way Brock’s teams have captured multiple Championships including the Alabama State Games, the AAU 17U Baseball National Championship in Sarasota, FL and the inaugural Dixie Boys 15U World Series Championship. Brock finished the summer win a 6 - 0 record on the mound. He pitched in 10 games completing 40.33 innings of work with a team-low ERA of 0.69. At the plate Brock batted 0.394 with 23 RBI’s. He is a people person; thriving on team sports. Brock has a close network of friends that participate in multiple sports. The Alabama State Games gives Brock the opportunity to compete with his peers and earn valuable life lessons about sportsmanship, teamwork, sacrifice, and work ethic. Brock is self-motivated and manages his time well between school and his sports.

Adult Male Athlete of the Year 

Michael Dreilinger, Taekwondo

Adult Male Athlete of the Year, Michael Dreilinger, Enterprise, AL - age 20, is a junior at Troy University. He has competed in Taekwondo (TKD) in each of the last two years at the Alabama State Games, earning 4 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze. He also participated in the 2015 State Games of America in Omaha, NE and earned a gold medal in the men's under 20 black belt division. He has taught TKD at the Enterprise YMCA as a volunteer for five years before becoming the Chief Instructor this past year. He is also a certified member of the Coffee County Community Emergency Response Team that is part of FEMA's efforts to develop a corps of volunteers to help first responders during disasters. 

Michael has competed in over 60 martial arts tournaments over the last 6 years. He has judged in over half of those tournaments, developing a reputation of fairness and compassion for competitors. He firmly believes and teaches that TKD can make a major, positive influence in the lives of his students. Michael has a long list of certifications and achievements, some of those include being a 3rd degree black belt with ATF, AAU, and USA TKD, an ATF National Certified Instructor, the 2016 ATF Men's 3rd, 4th, and 5th degree National Champion, the 2016 AAU Georgia District State Champion, and the 2016 AAU Tennessee District State Champion. Taekwondo has become a way of live for Michael as he strives to let the tenets of TKD (Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-control, Indomitable Spirit) become the ruling passions of his life.   

Adult Female Athlete of the Year

Rachel Cobia, Swimming

Adult Female Athlete of the Year, Rachel Cobia, Northport, AL - age 48, has been a competitive swimmer for many years. Rachel has competed in the Alabama State Games 4 years, bringing home a total of 5 silvers and 1 gold in 2016. She has won over 20 gold, silver, and bronze medals in her 4 years of competition in the Alabama State Games swim meets. Rachel has also competed and medaled in the State Games of America swim competition in Hershey Harrisburg, PA (Including 1 gold medal). She is a USA swimming official and volunteers to teach adults and youth to swim, and she is also a certified USMS Masters swim coach and competitor. She annually supports Swimming Saves Lives Foundation by financially contributing. Rachel is a swim mom to her children who also swim competitively, and who've competed at the Alabama State Games swimming meets. Swimming is a family activity for the Cobia household. Rachel's mother and sister often compete in swim meets with Rachel (including Alabama State Games), and Rachel frequently tells people she encounters about the benefits and fun of exercise, and tells them about Alabama State Games.  Rachel believes in giving back to the community. Some of Rachel’s community work consist of the following: volunteering her time in swimming, volunteering with other non-profit organizations, and teaching accounting skills at a local community college.

"Thank you for allowing me to be the 2016 Adult Female Athlete of the Year. I can never express how this honor has helped my family, my peers, and me."

 -Rachel Cobia
 2016 Adult Female Athlete of the Year


Along with being recognized by the Governor of Alabama at a special ceremony in Montgomery and by Academy Sports + Outdoors for their achievement, each will receive a medal and will walk in the Parade of Athletes and anchor the torch relay during the ASF Foundation's Alabama State Games XXXV Opening Ceremony on Friday, June 9, 2017 at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in Dothan, AL. Pictured are 2014 Male and Female Athletes of the Year, Gavan Baxley and M'Kay Gidley (Photo by Jay Hare)









2016 Honorary Athletes of the Year

For 2016, the ASF Foundation, Inc. has decided to add an honorary category for the Athlete of the year award. The winners of the honorary category will receive a certificate recognizing their achievements. 

Honorary Female Athlete of the Year

Melissa Turbyfill, Taekwondo

Adult Female Athlete of the Year, Melissa Turbyfill, Semmes, AL - age 35, has been training in martial arts since 2009. She has competed in 2 Alabama State Games Taekwondo competitions, earning a total of 3 medals (1 gold and 2 silvers). Melissa has intellectual and developmental disability. She exemplifies the tenets of Taekwondo, in particular perseverance. Melissa has overcome challenges with balance, weight and has vision issues. Despite every obstacle she trains twice weekly without fail, is kind and helpful to others, and makes steady progress. Her skills are impressive and Melissa is an ideal student - she pays attention to corrections and strives always to learn more and perform better. She is a serious martial arts student with a nice sense of humor, and a great attitude. Her enthusiasm is always contagious and she is quick to show compassion as well as quick to assist others. After trying other sports, martial arts is the only one in which she has found success. She has no depth perception or peripheral vision but hits her mark every time in martial arts. She gives 100% in everything she does. The Alabama State Games is an event for all ages and abilities, Melissa is a true testament that shows sports are for everyone.

Honorary Male Athlete of the Year

John Michel, Swimming and Mountain Biking

Adult Male Honorary Athlete of the Year, John Michel, Dothan, AL - age 74, has competed in the Alabama State Games the last 2 years in Dothan. In 2015 he won 4 gold medals in swimming. In 2016 he won 3 gold medals in swimming and 1 gold medal in the Mountain Biking race. He has won a total of 8 gold medals in the Alabama State Games. John is an inspiration to a lot of people. At 74 years old he is still one of the top athletes in the Dothan area. He is an avid Mountain Biker, Road Cyclist, Swimmer, Kayaker, Paddle Boarder and Weight Lifter. He is always encouraging to younger athletes; giving advice when asked for and leading by example at all times. John's exceptional athletic career began at Cleveland St. University in Cleveland, Ohio where he was a two-sport star; lettering in both swimming and soccer from 1961-1966.  During that time he was named MVP of the swimming team in 1965 and 1966.  He  received a Bachelor of Engineering Science from Cleveland St. University.  After earning his undergraduate degree he moved on to Auburn University and received his Masters Degree in Nuclear Physics. After retiring from the State of Alabama College System in 1997 he was hired by the U.S. Navy to teach Physics and Mathematics to Sailors and Marines on shipboard from 1998 to 2005. He competed in the first 10 Gulf Coast 1/2 Iron Man in Panama City Beach, Florida. He participates in several road cycling Century Rides (100+ miles) each year including the 6-Gap Century Ride which covers 102 miles and takes in the 6 highest mountains in North Georgia where he has won honors as the Oldest Finisher each year he has participated.  To this day he covers hundreds of miles each week between road cycling and mountain biking, swims hundreds of laps at the Westgate Indoor Pool each week, lifts weights 4 to 5 days a week, and takes weekly and monthly trips to kayak and paddle board.  He does all of this while being a devoted husband, father, friend and mentor to young and old competitors from all over the Dothan and Southeast Alabama area.


2015 Athletes of the Year

On Friday, November 13, Governor Robert Bentley and the ASF Foundation recognized the Alabama State Games 2015 Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Both athletes received a signed proclamation from Gov. Bentley and a medal recognizing them for this outstanding achievement. 

2015 Male Athlete of the Year

Kelan Leblanc, Soccer

Male Athlete of the Year, Kelan LeBlanc, Enterprise, AL—age 15, has been playing soccer since the age of two. At 6 years old, and the smallest player on the field, he was playing U10 competitive travel soccer. At 10, he led the U12 competitive travel team to the DIII state championship. His first appearance in the State Games was at the age of 11. He was the leading scorer to lead the team to the gold medal in 2011. Kelan was noticed by the State Games staff during his third year playing the event because he had the Olympic Rings cut into his hair to support the games. Since then, he has been instrumental in his team winning gold medals in 2013, 2014 and 2015 (4 total). Kelan also holds a 3.5 GPA, is involved with the Army Aero Medical Research Lab Youth Medical and Biochemistry Programs at Fort Rucker, and is in his second year as an ASF Foundation Student Ambassador, spearheading an initiative in the state of Alabama against drinking and driving and not buckling up. Over the years, Kelan has maintained a steady path of helping others, good sportsmanship, academic and sports achievements and is a shining example of an Athlete of the Year.




2015 Female Athlete of the Year

Kourtni Jackson, Track and Field

Female Athlete of the Year, Kourtni Jackson, Tuscaloosa, AL—age 9, has been competing at the Alabama State Games since age four with track & field as her primary sport. At the 2015 Alabama State Games track and field competition, she became a three-time gold medalist in the 100 meter, 400 meter, and Long Jump, also earning the silver in 1,500 meter run. Sports give Kourtni the opportunity to learn about being part of a team, winning well, bouncing back from a loss and coping with her disability. Kourtni was born with a deformed left foot and even with customized insoles; she tends to compete in pain. For example, she has withdrawn from competitions due to her circumstances, yet she has always been a fighter. Not only is Kourtni is an outstanding young track athlete, she is also an inspiring junior golfer. Kourtni is the 2015 AAU National Champion of Golf in her age division (Memphis Tennessee) and in July, at the Alabama Drive, Chip, & Putt Championship in Prattville Alabama, she won the “Drive” skills competition and she finished 3rd in the “Putt” skills competition. Another inspiring young athlete that encompasses the qualities of an Athlete of the Year. 




Alabama State Games Hospitality Patrons

The Alabama State Games Hospitality Patrons support the games by donating equipment, food for volunteers and supplies as well as monetary donations. We would never be able to pull of the Alabama State Games without these organizations. Please take the time to support these fine companies.











Reaching the leaders of!
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