Hairston Named Athlete of the Year
October 2, 2019
Southern Torch (3918 articles)

Hairston Named Athlete of the Year

By Southern Torch Staff

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Each year, the Alabama State Games 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 one male and one female youth (under 18 years old), and one male and one female adult (18 years and older), selected from submitted nominations. Selections are based on sportsmanship, effort, attitude, overall athletic achievements, motivation and special attributes or circumstances. The recipients of the award will receive a medal, walk in the Parade of Athletes and anchor the torch relay during the Alabama State Games Opening Ceremony, and 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. 

The 2019 Athletes of the Year are: Carol Dreilnger (Adult Female), Mike Parker (Adult Male), John Tillis Scott (Youth Male), and Aubriella Hairston (Youth Female)

Hairston (Rainsville, AL) is a well-rounded athlete, having competed at a high level in gymnastics prior to taking up her current sport of Ninja competition. We are pleased to announce that she has also been selected as the National Congress of State Games (NCSG) National Youth Female Athlete of the Year. This is the first time an athlete from the state of Alabama has been honored with this national award. Dean Kelly, Director of the Alabama State Games stated, “We are extremely excited to see Aubriella receive this prestigious and well-deserved honor.” She will be recognized at the NCSG Symposium in Anaheim, CA in November. She competed in the initial Ninja Challenge event in the Alabama State Games and won the gold in the 13 and under category. She then competed at the State Games of America, the national competition of the NCSG held this year in Lynchburg, VA., also earning the gold medal. She has been chosen to be a participant on the American Ninja Warrior Junior television show. She is a service-minded individual, who works hard at her sports and at life. 

Dreilinger, a resident of Enterprise, AL, won gold medals in Taekwondo in the Alabama State Games, and in the State Games of America, She has served as a pre-school teacher at the Enterprise YMCA for 20 years, and is Senior Leader at the Enterprise YMCA Taekwondo School. Kelly stated, “Carol is an outstanding Taekwondo athlete, but is so much more, serving as a mentor and encourager of other athletes. We are happy to honor her as one of our Athletes of the Year for 2019.” 

Parker, from Madison, AL, won a silver medal in the sport of FootGolf, and also led his 10-year-old soccer team to a gold at the Alabama State Games and at the State Games of America. He has coached all levels of soccer teams, and currently gives back to the community by coaching teams and being the director over the coaches for a new club, AYSO United, that he helped start. The club has grown in the past three years from five teams to over 20 teams. “He loves the game but loves to help others most. He gets so much joy from teaching kids how to be great citizens as well as great soccer players,” stated Mike’s nominator. We feel he represents the qualities we look for as an athlete and a coach. 

Scott lives in Dothan, AL. He won two gold medals in Bowling at the Alabama State Games, and finished fifth at the State Games of America. He was born with significant motor and speech developmental delays, and has overcome many obstacles to be competitive in bowling. Through intensive therapy he has become an honor-roll student and an excellent bowler. “JT has endured, and had to work extremely hard to come to the accomplishments he has in his life. His heart and desire to succeed, but to also help and serve others makes him a perfect choice for Athlete of the Year,” Kelly said. 

The Alabama State Games were established in 1982 at the request of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to develop Olympic-style sports festivals known as State Games. The event is a program of the ASF Foundation, Inc, a 501 (c)(3) organization.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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