Mississippi's largest statewide amateur sportsfest.
State Games Names 2016 Athletes of the Year
MERIDIAN, MS — A young swimmer, a runner and a sporting clays sharpshooter have captured top honors as 2016 AT&T Athletes of the Year for the State Games of Mississippi. Megan Heggie (Meridian), Evelyn Watkins (Meridian) and Brian Fleming (Shubuta) will be recognized at the annual Athlete of the Year celebration this Saturday and will be torchbearers at the 2017 Opening Ceremony.
Based on the national program, the State Games of Mississippi established the annual “Athlete of the Year” award to recognize Mississippi’s amateur athletes. Coaches, officials, athletes, volunteers and spectators nominated one male and one female athlete from each of the 37 sports for the award. The nominated athletes personify the ideals of the State Games movement, such as participation, sportsmanship, special attributes, achievements, efforts and positive attitudes.
Megan Heggie — 2016 Youth Athlete of the Year
Twelve-year-old Megan Heggie has been participating in the State Games of Mississippi since 2012, and has won 17 gold medals in individual events and 5 in relay events. During the 2016 State Games, Heggie competed in the largest age group at the meet and still placed in the top eight in all of her events. She also broke eight team records during the Games.
Heggie competed in the 2016 State Games of America swimming competition in Lincoln, NE, where she won a bronze medal in the 400 Free. In Mississippi Swim Association meets in 2016, Heggie broke 20 individual 11-12 MSA Girls’ team records and assisted her teammates in breaking four relay records. At the recent MSA banquet, Heggie was honored with the Coaches Award, Most Improved and Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Team awards for the third year in a row.
Evelyn Watkins — 2016 Female Athlete of the Year
Runner and trainer Evelyn Watkins has overcome surgeries on her feet to run marathons, triathlons and more. The 36-year-old was first in her age group at the 2016 State Games of Mississippi in the 5K Run, second overall in the female division and seventh overall in the event.
As President of the Bonita Running Club and co-race Director of the Magnolia Marathon, Watkins considers herself an ambassador of the sport of running and always encourages young runners. She has competed in 25 states, completed a half-ironman in Chattanooga in 2016 and has more than 33 marathons, 18 half-marathons and 150 distances races under her belt, including 10 triathlons.
Brian Fleming — 2016 Male Athlete of the Year
Brian Fleming, 47, makes it look easy in sporting clays, hitting 93 out of 100 targets in his most recent outing at the 2016 State Games and taking home the gold medal. Sporting clays is a form of clay pigeon shooting, often described as "golf with a shotgun" because a typical course includes from 10 to 15 different shooting stations laid out over natural terrain.
Fleming has been the Mississippi Sporting Clays State Champion four times and a Zone 6 Champion, which encompasses Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana. He won silver medals in the 2014 and 2015 State Games. He said he enjoys the mental challenge each and every time he shoots.
State Games of Mississippi
The State Games of Mississippi kicks off with an Olympic-style Opening Ceremony each year in Meridian. All three of the 2016 Athletes of the Year will have the honor of lighting the torch at the 2017 Opening Ceremony. Events for athletes are held throughout the months of May and June in various locations around the state.
The State Games of Mississippi keeps its entry fees low primarily through the generous donations of sponsors, including Founding Gold Sponsors: Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Rush Hospital; and Gold Sponsors: AT&T, BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians/Pearl River Resort, Meridian-Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau/Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, Structural Steel, WTOK-TV, The Meridian Star and WMDN/WGBC-TV (The Meridian Family of Stations). For more information on the Games, call 800-482-0205 or visit the State Games of Mississippi website at www.stategamesofms.org.
Here is the nomination form.
Click here to download the nomination form.