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Michigan Athletes Honored as National Athletes of the Year

MICHIGAN ATHLETES HONORED AS NATIONAL ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
2016 Michigan Athletes and Volunteer of the Year Honored
 
Grand Rapids, Mich., November 15, 2016 – Three Michigan athletes were selected as the 2016 National Congress of State Games (NCSG) Athletes of the Year. They are among five athletes who were named as the Meijer State Games of Michigan (MSGOM) 2016 Athletes of the Year, qualifying them for NCSG consideration.
 
The 2016 National Congress of State Games Athletes of the Year are:
  • Adult Female: Janet Brady – Track and Field – Canton, MI
  • Adult Male: Don “Boomer” McCrea – Multi-sport – Portland, OR
  • Youth Female: Colette and Elyse Levens - Multi-sport – Lake Orion, MI
  • Youth Male: Sabastian Harsh – Wrestling – Scottsbluff, NE
Following the MSGOM – 2016 Summer Games, male, female, youth male and youth female athletes were chosen as 2016 Athletes of the Year, and one volunteer was named the MSGOM 2016 Volunteer of the Year.
 
The 2016 Meijer State Games of Michigan Athletes and Volunteer of the Year are:
  • Adult Female: Janet Brady – Track and Field – Canton, MI
  • Adult Male: Marc LaForest – Archery – Allegan, MI
  • Youth Females: Colette and Elyse Levens – Multi-sport – Lake Orion, MI
  • Youth Male: John “JZ” Earl – Tae Kwon Do – Grass Lake, MI
  • Volunteer: John Schowalter – Pickleball – Grand Rapids, MI
Thirty State Games programs nominate their state Athletes of the Year for the NCSG Athlete of the Year. This is the first year a MSGOM athlete has been selected for the national award. The NCSG Athletes of the Year were awarded at the NCSG Annual Symposium and the TEAMS Conference and Expo in Atlantic City, NJ on September 27, 2016.
 
 
Brady, 58, competed in Track and Field at the MSGOM. She earned 13 gold medals in shot put, discus, javelin, and hammer throw in three years of state game competitions. She volunteers at a children’s school, is a Cub Scout Leader and a Girl Scout Leader, and serves as co-queen of Red Hats, a group that made dresses for Little Dress for Africa and scarves for veterans in Ann Arbor. She is also a member and activity participant of the Canton Historical Society and a Canton Senior Leisure Advisory committee member.

 
LaForest, 42, competed in Archery FITA and 3D Archery during the MSGOM Summer Games and Archery Indoor during the Winter Games. The MSGOM is a family activity for LaForest who competes alongside his youngest daughter in Archery FITA and 3D Archery. His wife, Jennifer, and oldest daughter compete in Swimming and 3D Archery.
 

 
Colette Levens and Elyse Levens, 13, are identical twins who won Silver and Gold medals in Water Skiing at the 2016 MSGOM Summer Games. They were co-awarded the 2016 NCSG Female Youth Athlete of the Year. They have previously medaled in Synchronized Swimming at the MSGOM and Open Water Swimming and Water Skiing at the State Games of America. The sisters volunteer to assist coaches with young swimmers are their swim club and work to expand the sport of synchronized swimming by volunteering to teach interested swimmers. They are both Mensa members and have both competed in the HiQora High IQ World Championships Round 1 and 2. They are currently home-schooled.
 
 
Earl, 16, competed in Tae Kwon Do during the 2016 MSGOM Summer Games. He earned a gold medal in board breaking, silver medal in form and a bronze medal in sparring. He has become an assistant instructor and mentor to Tae Kwon Do students. He is applauded for his positive attitude and dedication to Tae Kwon Do and is currently a student at Lumen Christi High School.
 
Schowalter has volunteered at the MSGOM for many years. He sets up registration for the Pickleball Tournament for the Summer Games and helps troubleshoot with registrants. The time and work Schowalter dedicates each year to the Pickleball Tournament ensures registration and set up happen with no problems. He has become a premier ambassador for Pickleball with the time and commitment he has put into the sport and helping those involved.
 
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About the Meijer State Games of Michigan: Modeled after the Olympics, the Meijer State Games of Michigan welcomes athletes regardless of age or ability level, and embodies the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living among residents of Michigan. In August 2017, the Meijer State Games of Michigan will play host to the 2017 State Games of America.
 
A signature event of the West Michigan Sports Commission, the Meijer State Games of Michigan is truly a grassroots organization that relies on the dedication of thousands of volunteers and the support of corporate partners.
 
About the National Congress of State Games: The National Congress of State Games (NCSG) is a membership organization comprised of 33 Summer State Games and 11 Winter State Games organizations and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee's Multi Sport Organizational Council. The mission of the NCSG is to support State Games member organizations in the promotion of health, fitness and character building through Olympic-Style competitions and physical activities.
 
About the West Michigan Sports Commission: The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to positively impact the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked nearly 400 sporting events and tournaments that attracted 550,000 athletes and visitors, generating more than $145 million in direct visitor spending. Visit www.westmisports.com for more information.
 
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