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. Following the Alabama State Games, sports directors, coaches, athletes, parents, and volunteers have the opportunity to nominate athletes for the Athlete of the Year.
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 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 will also be submitted for consideration by the National Congress of State Games (NCSG) in naming the female and male National Athlete of the Year. National winners will be chosen from among the individual State Games' Athlete of the Year recipients.
Thank you to the NCSG
for supporting this great award!
The 2021 Athletes of the Year
Adult Female AOTY 2021
Carolyn Houston, a 49-year-old track athlete and coach from Dothan, AL, earned the adult female athlete of the year title for this year’s Games. Most of Houston’s career as runner has been devoted to cross country races and marathons. This is Houston’s first-ever competitive track meet appearance. She competed in the 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, and 1500 m events and secured the gold medal for each event. Remarkably, Houston competed at this meet while battling 2 very rare gastro-vascular syndromes that effect her daily life and cause pain during races.
Adult Male AOTY 2021
Tom Knight, a retired US Army combat medic and Taekwondo enthusiast from Enterprise, AL, was voted as this year's adult male athlete of the year for the 2021 Games. Knight began his Taekwondo journey in 2012. In 2013, Knight experienced a major heart attack, the very condition that his father passed away from when Knight was a mere 15-years-old. Ever-resilient, Knight coupled mandatory cardiac rehabilitation with his new-found love of Taekwondo. This year Knight received his black belt at 66-years-old.
Youth Female AOTY 2021
Faith Noe will represent Alabama as the youth female athlete of the year. Noe, a sophomore at Rehobeth High School in Dothan, AL, opted to compete in a higher division at the 2021 Games by shooting in the women’s compound open where she won gold. At just 15 she has been named Shooter of the Year by the Archery Shooters Association twice.
Youth Male AOTY 2021
Jackson Aultman, a sophomore at Buckhorn High School, will represent Alabama as the youth male athlete of the year. A fierce Ninja Challenge competitor, Aultman has placed in the top rankings of the Ultimate ninja Athletic Association (UNAA) worlds competition consistently for the past 3 years. Aultman competed on Season 1 of American Ninja Warrior Jr. in 2019. Since then he has been dubbed “Atomic Ninja” by his teammates and competitors for his explosiveness on the course and his love of Molecular Biology.
JT won three 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. He 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 serve others, makes him a perfect choice for Athlete of the Year.
Aubriella 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. 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 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.
Carol 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. 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.
Mike won a silver medal in the sport of FootGolf, and also led his 10-year-old soccer team to 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.
Proclamation Signing with
Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey
2018 Athletes of the Year
Youth Female Athlete of the Year
Elizabeth Davis, Baton, 6 years
Elizabeth is a competitive Twirler, gymnast, and dancer from Russellville AL. She is in 1st grade with Bridgeway Academy Homeschool, and has been involved in Dance, Tumble, and twirl for 2 years. Elizabeth has became fluent in one and two Baton, 3 spins, and various moves incorporating gymnastics in less than 2 years. She practices daily, and dreams of being a feature Twirler for Mississippi State University!
Youth Male Athlete of the Year
John David Bailey, Tennis, 17 years
John David participated in the State Games for the first time this year winning Gold in the 18u tennis event. He has played tennis since 6th grade and has won the Florence Parks and Rec Summer League twice and the Shoals Junior Circuit twice. He is a Senior at Florence High School and was named top JV player last season, hoping to make it to the AHSAA State Championship this year. He is enrolled in AP courses and participates in a charity that he started called Betty's Blankets, providing blankets to those in need. John David wants to be an ambassador for the sport of tennis, Florence High School, the city of Florence, and the state of Alabama as he competes in the 2019 State Games of America.
Adult Female Athlete of the Year
Easter Grant, Track & Field, 35 years
Easter has competed in the Alabama State Games for 3 years, this year, taking Gold in the Masters 100m and 200m. She has been in engaged in track and field for 16 years, as an athlete and a coach.
She was the first sprinter in the University of Alabama in Huntsville's history to attend a DII NCAA National Championship (200m). She now sprints on the master circuit (Southwest Sprinters Track Club). This year, she will be representing Team USA at the World Masters Athletics (WMA) Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Sept. 6-18 in Malaga, Spain. Along with her track accomplishments, she is a volunteer track coach at Randolph School (Huntsville,AL), coaches at the Darian Stewart (of the Denver Broncos) Youth Football Camp, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Adult Male Athlete of the Year
Dr. Daniel Katz, Pickleball, 58 years
Dr. Daniel Katz participated in the inaugural Pickleball tournament for the Alabama State Games this year, winning silver medals for mixed double and men’s doubles. He has also participated in and won gold medals in the St. Jude Classic as well as various other events. He is an active participant in sports, and has achieved many medals, trophies and ribbons in activities such as billiards and pickleball. He encourages the idea of fun when playing sports and approaches each sports event with keen focus and concentration. He always enters a sports activity with a positive attitude that includes encouraging others to do their best in each phase of learning, and encourages them to strive to do better, and to help others along the way.