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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

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Each year, the Alabama State Games honors athletes based on participation in the Games and other athletic and community achievements. The Athlete of the Year program, affectionately dubbed "AOTY" by those in the know, was established to recognize individuals who excel above and beyond their athletic participation in the Games. 4 athletes are chosen to fill the categories of: ​

  • Female Athlete 19 & older

  • Male Athlete 19 & older

  • Female Athlete 18 & younger

  • Male Athlete 18 & younger

Individuals are chosen based on overall achievements, involvement in the Games, involvement in their community, effort, sportsmanship, overcoming adversity and attitude on and off the field. Nominations can be submitted by coaches, commissioners, tournament directors, parents, volunteers, and even other players. 

*2022 AOTY nominations are now closed.*

MEET OUR 2021 ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

ADULT FEMALE AOTY

ELIZABETH JOHNSON

Age: 53

Sport: Swimming

Facts About Elizabeth: As a kid, Elizabeth was afraid of the water when her mother signed her up for swim lessons, “but once I got over my fear, I was hooked”, Elizabeth said. She swam competitively through most of her childhood, although she did not compete in college. Elizabeth attended Vanderbilt University for her undergrad and Washington University in St. Louis for her law degree and is now a practicing attorney. Elizabeth spoke about getting back into swimming, “My sister, who also is an avid swimmer, got me back into competition swimming with the discovery of US Masters Swimming and I have been a participant in the Alabama State Games for several years now. There are not a lot of us “old guys”, but it is great fun to swim against others and to watch the younger ones compete”.

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ADULT MALE AOTY

TIM LAWRENCE

Age: 68

Sport: Pickleball

Facts About Tim: Tim’s been married for 42 years and has a daughter, granddaughter, and son-in-law. Tim is one of the managers at a local floor cleaning company in Montgomery called Peaches ‘N Clean where he has been there for 22 years. Tim has also been in bi-vocational student ministry and music ministry for 50 years. He is currently serving at Good Hope Baptist Church in Eclectic. On the sport side of things, Tim has been playing pickleball (PB) for a year and a half and has grown to love the game. Before PB, Tim was playing racquetball about twice a week and just wasn’t that interested in PB. Until one Saturday, Tim found a YMCA in Montgomery that had PB where he tried it and got hooked. Tim was fortunate to play in the Games this year, and registered to play with a female player and a male player that he plays with regularly at the YMCA. “I am incredibly honored and humbled to be nominated for this award,” as  Tim has only  played in four other tournaments. 

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YOUTH FEMALE AOTY

ZOE SEXTON

Age: 7

Sport: Baton Twirling

Facts About Zoe: Zoe Sexton is seven years old and has been baton twirling with The Alabama Twirling Angels since the month before her third birthday. Zoe is a straight-A student while balancing her busy daily life, including competition dance team, pageant titles, and cheering for her school's mites cheer squad. For the past two years, she has brought home gold medals and state titles at the Alabama State Games. Zoe has always shown up and given 100 percent, despite medical struggles and testing. Sleep apnea and narcolepsy have created a challenge for her active, busy 7-year-old self, but Zoe proves over and over again with a smile on her face that she won't let anything hold her back from doing her best.

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YOUTH MALE AOTY

JOSIAH WILLIAMS

Age: 12

Sport: Track and Field 

Facts About Josiah: As a 6th grader at Opp Middle School, Josiah enjoys any and all sports including football, baseball and of course track and field. The Alabama State Games was Josiah’s first competitive track competition. His mother said “He has always wanted to run ever since he was little. I don’t think he learned to walk, only how to run fast”. Since there is not a local track team, Josiah and his mother drive to Daleville, Al, which is a 45 minute drive. Josiah was also recently diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, but that only motivates him to be the best he can be, in sports and in life. He says staying active helps calm him and keeps his head focused.

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