Rush, Logo
Coca-Cola, Logo
Broadhead Foundation, Logo
Meridian Community College, Logo
Structural Steel Services, Inc., Logo
BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, Logo
Mississippi Band of Chociaw Insdians, Logo
The Meridian Star, Logo
TV Station Logos
Visit Meridian, Logo
Miscellaneous Logos
Meridian, Logo
Pearl River Resort logo

Uncategorized

2022 Ochsner Rush Athletes of Year Named

State Games 2022 Ochsner Rush Athletes of the Year Named

From left, LeeRoy Carpenter, Kaylee Harrison and Sarah Lea Anglin.

MERIDIAN, MS – Whether a father who overcame severe injuries, a mountain biker with only one month to train or a soccer player who maintains a 4.0 GPA, the three 2022 Ochsner Rush Athletes of the Year for the State Games of Mississippi all have the spirit of competition that represents athletes from across the state. 5K Road Race participant LeeRoy Carpenter (DeKalb), Mountain Biker Sarah Lea Anglin (Madison) and Soccer player Kaylee Harrison (Meridian) were named to the top slots of Male, Female and Youth Athlete of the year, respectively.

The State Games of Mississippi roared back to life in 2022 for its 31st year, with more than 5,000 competitors in 41 sports. “It has been amazing to see the levels of competition and the spirit during this year’s events,” said Missye Dozier, Executive Director of the Games. “And we are so grateful to our sponsors and volunteers as they continue to stand strong in support of everything we do for Mississippi’s amateur athletes.”

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 2022 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. Three final winners are chosen: Male, Female and Youth Athletes of the Year.

The State Games of Mississippi also recognizes the “Volunteer of the Year.” For 2022, Jamie Smith, Meridian, took the top volunteer honor for her work with the Games since their inception 31. Jamie’s sport to volunteer for is soccer, and she knows the sport inside and out. She even served as Soccer Commissioner for the Games for many years. “She is one of our volunteers that we can call on and we know she will be ready and willing to jump right in to help,” said Dozier.

Jamie Smith, 2022 Volunteer of the Year

 

LeeRoy Carpenter • 2022 Male Athlete of the Year

The 2022 State Games of Mississippi Male Athlete of the Year, LeeRoy Carpenter of DeKalb, has been participating in 5K events for five years, all the while overcoming several personal health challenges. When he was younger, he had an accident where a truck ran over him and the doctor told him he would never walk again. And in the past several years, he triumphed over a heart attack and two bouts of cancer. After his illnesses, he was inspired by his daughter to change his eating habits and exercise more, and, as he said, “this change has allowed me to feel better at my age while competing in 5K runs.” He finds great joy in running with his daughter, Latora, and this year will be his third time doing the half-marathon in Meridian. As his nomination form said, “LeeRoy always brings a smile to each event and is an inspiration to his fellow participants.”

Sarah Lea Anglin • 2022 Female Athlete of the Year

Mountain Biker Sarah Lea Anglin from Madison has been participating in the sport for three years, during which she won a gold medal in the 2022 State Games Mountain Bike event. Sarah Lea said this year’s mountain bike course was the hardest she has ever done but was also “really fun.” She has overcome a hernia surgery repair that took her off the bike for two months and was only able to get in one week of training before her first race. Sarah Lea has many achievements outside of the State Games, as she has placed in the 2021 Gulf South Regional Mountain Bike Series, the 2022 Oak Mountain Race, the 2022 Tux Creek Tussle Race and the Tuffburg Race. She was inspired to take up Mountain Biking because of her young granddaughter. Sarah Lea and her husband had been mentors in the MS Kids Cyclocross Program when her granddaughter said, “Why don’t you race?” Sarah Lea said, “My first thought was, ‘I’m going to die!’ My second thought was, ‘I have to do this.’ These girls need to see someone out there riding and racing — giving it their best. Why not a grandmother?”

Kaylee Harrison • 2022 Youth Athlete of the Year

Youth soccer player Kaylee Harrison of Meridian has played on two travel teams as well as competing for her school soccer team. With all of that, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA and is taking advanced classes. Kaylee said, “This has not always been easy, but it has taught me self-discipline along the way, which is a lesson I can use throughout my life.” Kaylee scored six goals in three games during the 2022 State Games and was able to bring home a gold medal to commemorate her last year to compete as a high school player. “The State Games have been such an important part of my life over the past seven years,” she said, and she plans to volunteer for the Games next year. Kaylee has numerous achievements outside of State Games and has achieved the MHSAA 4A State Champion in Soccer beginning in 2018 through 2021. Interestingly, she started out the smallest player for her age but loved soccer so much that when she was on the field “it pushed me to give my all.”

Other nominees for the 2022 Ochsner Rush Health Athlete of the Year included:

Eunice Dillard, Bowling – Meridian

Nick Westbrook, Bowling – Meridian

Richard McInnis, Trail Run – Meridian

Maggie Triplett, Trail Run – Meridian

Conner Ross, Youth Archery – Madison

Isabella Rowell, Youth Archery – KoKomo

Grace Magnusen, Archery 3D & Field – Robertsdale, AL

John McClain, Archery 3D & Field – Laurel

Laurel Hunt, Cornhole – Collinsville

Trey Hunt, Cornhole – Collinsville

Melodie Smith, Youth Soccer – Meridian

Reaves Doolittle, Youth Soccer – Greenville

Kaylee Harrison, Soccer HS Team 7v7 – Meridian

Dylan Dykes, Soccer HS Team 7v7 – Petal

Zoe Clymer, 5K Road Race – Collinsville

LeeRoy Carpenter, 5K Road Race – DeKalb

Raja Nittianandan, Axe Throwing – Waveland

Rebecca Gibson, Axe Throwing – Purvis

Shawn Strait, Cycling – Hickory

Luke Morrow, Cycling – Meridian

Avery Borbash, Youth Swimming – Hattiesburg

Nathan Kennedy, Youth Swimming – Brandon

Sarah Misiak, Masters Swimming – Columbus

Tedd Gilbert, Masters Swimming – Clinton

Dantzler Stephens, Stickball – Philadelphia

Sarah Lea Anglin, Mountain Bike – Madison

Holland Smith, Mountain Bike – Madison

Evelyn Watkins, Canoe/Kayak/SUP – Meridian

David Milling, Canoe/Kayak/SUP – Meridian

Allie Myers, Junior Golf – Pearl

Will Burnham, Junior Golf – Jackson

David Shepherd, Disc Golf – Petal

Lauren Corby, 2 Person Volleyball – Flowood

Marcus Hereford, 2 Person Volleyball – Jackson

Katherine Parker, 4 Person Volleyball – Brandon

Michael Grotke, 4 Person Volleyball – Vicksburg

N’Riyah Bell, Table Tennis – Laurel

Casey Stroo, Table Tennis – Laurel

Zoe Caroline Boos, Junior Tennis – Meridian

Dean Lockhart, Junior Tennis – Starkville

Keith Rigdon, 15 and up Basketball – Meridian

Beverly “Gracey” Adkins, High School Fastpitch Softball – Waveland

John Miles Mayatt, Youth Baseball – Collinsville

Olivia Webb, Youth Slow Pitch Softball – Meridian

Logan Flaskamp, HS Team Baseball – Meridian

Landon Wilson, Jr High Team Baseball – Picayune

TJ Dunsford, All Star Baseball – Grand Bay

Emily McNeil, Barrel Racing – Enterprise

Scott Thomas, Barrel Racing – Philadelphia

Emily McNeil, Pole Bending – Enterprise

Scottie Irons, Pole Bending – Philadelphia

Nate Phillips, Fencing – Cordova, TN

Ashley Katze, Fencing – Belleville, IL

Phil Ray, Pistol Competition – Chunky

Ellen Howse, 2 Gun Competition – Meridian

Michael Howse, 2 Gun Competition – Meridian

Emilia Miceli, 22 Caliber Rifle – Brandon

Marlana Mims, Pickleball – Hattiesburg

Bernard LeBlanc, Pickleball – Jackson

Mya Chapman, Track & Field – Magnolia

Grant Hill, Track & Field – Meridian

Chris Stokes, Sporting Clays – Toomsuba

Dozier Named Executive Director; Brand Returns to Games

Dozier Named Executive Director; Brand Returns to Games

Missye Dozier                   Rhonda Brand

MERIDIAN, MS — Missye Dozier has been named the Executive Director of the State Games of Mississippi after long-time Executive Director Carolyn Smith retired in 2021. Dozier served as Sports Director of the Games for 15 years. That position is now being helmed by Rhonda Brand, who returned to the Games after 23-year hiatus.

The State Games of Mississippi is the state’s largest amateur sportsfest organization, annually holding more than 40 competitions across the state. When thousands of athletes pour into the East Mississippi area for competition and the annual Opening Ceremony, the total estimated economic impact is $12.2 million.

“It has been a marvelously smooth transition,” Dozier said, “because Rhonda is so familiar with how to organize and promote the more than 40 sporting events we offer each year.”

Dozier said the State Games is also fortunate that Smith’s expert knowledge of the Games will be available. “Even though she is retired as Executive Director, Carolyn will continue to be a consultant to the Games,” Dozier said.

Dozier came to the State Games 18 years ago. She came to the Games in 2003 from Meridian Orthopedic Clinic to work part time as administrative assistant and worked up to the Sports Director position three years later. A graduate of West Lauderdale High School, she also attended Meridian Community College.

Brand served as the Sports Director of the Games from 1995 to 1998 before leaving to be a stay-at-home mom. She didn’t give up her interest in sports during that time, serving as the Newton County High School Baseball Booster Club President for five years and working with the East Coast Baseball Organization. Before working with the State Games as Sports Director, Brand was with the City of Meridian in the same position. A graduate of Mississippi State University, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism.

About the State Games of Mississippi

The State Games of Mississippi is now looking to its 31st year in 2022 offering top-level competition for Mississippi’s amateur athletes in more than 40 sports. In 2021, more than 5,000 athletes competed.

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: BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, Meridian-Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau, Paul & Sherry Broadhead Foundation, Meridian Community College, the City of Meridian, Pearl River Resort, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, WTOK-TV, The Meridian Star and WMDN/WGBC-TV (The Meridian Family of Stations). For more information on the Games, call 601-482-0205 or visit the State Games of Mississippi website at www.stategamesofms.org.

 

 

#########

State Games Brings $12.2 Million Impact to Area

State Games Brings $12.2 Million Impact to Area

MERIDIAN, MS — When thousands of athletes pour into the East Mississippi area for competition and the annual Opening Ceremony of the State Games of Mississippi, the total estimated economic impact is $12,150,249, according to a study just released.

“We are immensely gratified the newest economic impact study validates what we already knew — the State Games of Mississippi is good for East Mississippi — both in generating spending at area businesses and providing a prime destination” said Missye Dozier, Executive Director of the State Games. Former Sports Director Dozier took over the helm of the State Games after long-time Executive Director Carolyn Smith retired in 2021.

The study, prepared by Dr. Habib Bazyari, shows that more than 60% of the participants and spectators who come to East Mississippi are from other counties across the state. Some 20% originate in Lauderdale County, with the other 20% from out of state.

In looking just at the economic impact of athletes, Dr. Bazyari’s study found the average meal expenditure (based on 8.7 meals) is $164.43 and the average nightly stay of 2.4 days created accommodation expenditures of $372,672. And don’t forget gasoline — athletes spend an average of $180 to fill up while they are participating in events. That translates into more than $500,000 in local gasoline sales.

The figures on economic impact for spectators at the Games are even greater. The average spectator has 8 meals in the area, spending a total of $168 per person. Spectators also shopped while in the area, racking up estimated shopping expenditures of $561,275.

The highest percentage of the total amount of spending was for shopping at 24%, with hotel stays at 23% of the total. Athletes and spectators also found time for entertainment, spending 22% of the grand total for this type of activities.

The 2021 figures from the study were based on 5,200 athletes and 15,700 spectators at the Opening Ceremony and sporting events. The study was limited to the economic impact in East Mississippi, but the State Games also holds events in many other locations across the state.

READ THE REPORT HERE.

 

 

RUSH Athletes of Year for 2021 Named

State Games Names RUSH Athletes of Year for 2021

State Games of Mississippi 2021 Rush Athletes of the Year, from left,
are Male AOY Hunter Luis Melendez,
Female AOY Tere Turner and Youth Athlete of the Year Cooper Conner. 

 

MERIDIAN, MS — The three winners of the 2021 Rush Athletes of the Year for the State Games of Mississippi show the courage and strength of athletes from across the state. Track and Field participant Hunter Luis Melendez (Laurel), Mountain Biker Tere Turner (Madison) and Soccer player Cooper Conner (Wiggins) all had to overcome adversity and challenges to win the honors.

The State Games of Mississippi was able to come back strong for its 30th year in 2021, with most of its sports and more than 5,000 competitors. “Coming off of 2020 and the restrictions of the pandemic, we were gratified to have such a successful entry into our third decade,” said Carolyn Smith, executive director. “It has been amazing to see the levels of competition and the spirit of our sponsors and volunteers.”

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 2021 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. Three final winners are chosen: Male, Female and Youth Athletes of the Year.

Hunter Luis Melendez • 2021 Male Athlete of the Year

If adversity were a sport, then State Games of Mississippi 2021 Male Athlete of the Year Hunter Luis Melendez would receive a gold medal.

The 22-year-old Track and Field competitor from Laurel, MS, has felt the pull of family needs above his athletic dreams, even turning down offers to run track in college to help his grandmother as she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, he broke his foot in 2017 and missed the last month of his senior year in sports.

Despite the challenges and dealing with family crises, Hunter found a good coach and the strength to persevere, winning Gold in the 2021 State Games of Mississippi and hitting his personal best in the 100m and 200m Track and Field events. He also won gold in 2020, 2019 and 2018 in the Games.

Currently a student at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Hunter has won other medals, including second place in the 100m at the State Games of America and a second in the 200m. From 2015 to 2018, he was a Mississippi District Champion in the 100m and the 200m.

 

Tere Turner • 2021 Female Athlete of the Year

When Mountain Biker Tere Turner crashed during the 2021 State Games of Mississippi and broke her arm, she got right back up and completed the race. It is this grit and accomplishment that made her the perfect recipient of the 2021 Female Athlete of the Year honor.

Tere, who hails from Madison, MS, has won many races despite falls, including Gold in the 2018 and 2019 State Games. The 47-year-old has also won a Silver in the Games, plus was the Champion in her category in the Gulf Coast Regional Mountain Bike series in 2018 and 2019.

Sports Commissioner Grayson Edwards said, “Tere does not know the meaning of the word ‘quit.’ Tere took a tumble off her bike and injured her wrist early in the race, but got up and kept walking the course, determined to finish. Race officials alerted the on-site ambulance crew, but Tere wanted to continue. Her determination to finish despite a difficult challenge earned her this nomination.”

 

Cooper Conner • 2021 Youth Athlete of the Year

The 2021 State Games of Mississippi Youth Athlete of the Year faced a devastating time before his first soccer game because his dad suffered a massive heart attack. Twelve-year-old Cooper Conner of Wiggins, MS, came straight from the hospital and stayed with his soccer coach and team while his dad was in surgery. Despite his worry about his father, Cooper said “I know my Dad would want me to play and I can’t let my coach or teammates down.”

Cooper played in the soccer competition Saturday; his dad died that afternoon. After hearing and digesting the awful news, Cooper said he wanted to stay and play the Sunday games in honor of his father.

“His courage was remarkable,” said his coach. “He even made a goal during the Sunday game from a penalty kick.”

Cooper’s resilience was also tested in March of 2020 when he fractured his ankle during a game. He was in a wheelchair, then crutches before he could walk again. He came back faster and stronger, playing with his team in August 2020.

Other nominees for the 2021 Rush Athlete of the Year included:

Lamar Smith, Bowling -Meridian

Louisa Leclerc, Bowling -Brandon

Joel Gordy, Trail Run -Meridian

Summer Riley, Trail Run -Meridian

Les Goff, Master Swimming -Hattiesburg

Stephanie Cayula, Master Swimming -Waveland

Jackson Lee, All Star Baseball –Calhoun City

Stephen Hudson, Archery -Purvis

Christy Sibley, Archery -Meridian

Abigail Mowery, Softball -Meridian

Dan Murphy, Cornhole -Chunky

Tori Duncan, Cornhole -Collinsville

Makenzie Taylor, Youth Soccer -Pearl

Cooper Conner, Youth Soccer -Wiggins

Cole Tadlock, 5K Road Race -Decatur

Kahrna Stimley-Washington, 5K Walk -Meridian

William Wicht, Axe Throwing -Hattiesburg

Rebecca Gibson, Axe Throwing -Purvis

Avery Anders, 7v7 HS Soccer -Meridian

Sarah Pierce Swift, 7v7 HS Soccer -Meridian

Lalo Carrillo, Cycling -Meridian

Vicki Alexander, Cycling -Meridian

Alex Rowe, Youth Swimming -Vicksburg

Celeste Adams, Youth Swimming -Pelahatchie

Heath Shoemake, Stickball -Philadelphia

Grayson Edwards, Mountain Bike -Flowood

Tere Turner, Mountain Bike -Madison

Thaison Berry, Canoe/Kayak/SUP -Gulfport

Mavis McElroy, Canoe/Kayak/SUP -Toomsuba

Wesley Pippins, Junior Golf -Madison

Harper Hinckley, Junior Golf -McComb

Caroline Fruge, Indoor Volleyball -Meridian

Herb Bennett, Table Tennis -Hattiesburg

Dot Fortenberry, Table Tennis -Meridian

Elliot Tulip, 15 and up Basketball -Meridian

Ryan Robertson, Junior Golf –Crestview, FL

Annabelle Simmons, Junior Golf -Lauderdale

Tanner Beaugez, HS Team Baseball –Ocean Springs

Lucas Sinopoli, Jr High Team Baseball –Ocean Springs

Ashton Fairley, HS Fast Pitch Softball -Lucedale

George Sisson, Barrel Racing -Quitman

Molly Jean Goodwin, Barrel Racing -Lauderdale

Phil Ray, Pistol Competition -Chunky

Carol Rigby, Pistol Competition -Gallman

Joseph Forrester, Youth Archery -Starkville

Jaylyn Bridgman, Youth Archery -Tylertown

Neil Witherow, Pickleball -Jackson

Leigh Ann Ross, Pickleball -Jackson

Judd Smith, Beach Volleyball -Bailey

Parker Bracken, Beach Volleyball -Ridgeland

Matilyn Blackwell, Beach Volleyball -Bailey

Jeremy Hopkins, 3 Gun Competition -Chunky

Nate Phillips, Fencing -Collierville

Ashley Katze, Fencing -Bellebille

Gracie Dinh, 22 Rifle Competition -Starkville

Stephen McDaniel, 22 Rifle Competition -Meridian

Joe Burns, RX Fitness Challenge -Meridian

Emily Arnold, RX Fitness Challenge -Meridian

Hunter Melendez, Track & Field -Laurel

Hailey Truman, Track & Field -Meridian

Eric Johnson II, Sporting Clays -Meridian

Suzanne Todd, Sporting Clays -Meridian

Drew Larsen, Disc Golf -Biloxi

Tommie Dickson, Disc Golf -Gulfport

State Games 30th Year Great Success

State Games 30th Year Great Success

MERIDIAN, MS — The State Games of Mississippi ended its 30th year on a high note, with more than 5,000 athletes competing in events and 450-plus volunteers helping make every competition happen.

“Coming off of 2020 and the restrictions of the pandemic, we were gratified to have such a successful entry into our third decade,” said Carolyn Smith, executive director. “It has been amazing to see the levels of competition and the spirit of our sponsors and volunteers.”

The Coca-Cola Opening Ceremony returned in 2021, complete with the parade of athletes, the running of the State Games torch and the lighting of the flame in the State Games cauldron. The event was attended by more than 7,000 people.

Executive Director Smith received a special surprise at the Opening Ceremony — her two daughters came into town to honor her for her years of service and be with her when she announced her retirement. “It was a total surprise,” Smith said, “and made the event emotional and memorable. Even though I am retiring, I will always have room in my heart for the State Games of Mississippi.” Smith has served the Games in various capacities from the beginning in the 1990s; and has led the organization as Executive Director since 2009.

Sponsors made the games a great success in 2021. “We are extremely grateful to our sponsors for sticking with us last year and excited to be back for our 30th year with 41 sports,” said Director of Marketing and Development Bobbie Harmon.

New to the games in 2021 was Axe Throwing, which was held at Alley Cats Axe Company in Hattiesburg. As with many of the State Games events, different venues are used throughout the state.

“Plus we are able to keep our entry fees low, thanks to our sponsors,” said Harmon.

The ever-popular youth soccer competition, sponsored by Rush, brought top teams from across the state to Meridian. And All Star Baseball brought scouts from across the region to see the best players.

But it wasn’t all about big team sports. The Games brought Pickleball enthusiasts to the net, Cornhole experts armed with bean bags and Fencers doing their best to score points. With 41 sports, there was something for every amateur athlete to enter.

About the State Games of Mississippi

The State Games of Mississippi is now looking to its 31st year in 2022 offering top-level competition for Mississippi’s amateur athletes in more than 41 sports. In 2021, more than 5,000 athletes competed.

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: BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, Meridian-Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau/Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, Paul & Sherry Broadhead Foundation, Meridian Community College, the City of Meridian, Pearl River Resort, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, WTOK-TV, The Meridian Star and WMDN/WGBC-TV (The Meridian Family of Stations). For more information on the Games, call 601-482-0205 or visit the State Games of Mississippi website at www.stategamesofms.org.

 

#########

 

Registration Open for 2021 Games

State Games 2021 – 41 Sports, Registration Open

MERIDIAN, MS — The State Games of Mississippi has rebounded into 2021 with 41 sports — including an innovative new one — and registration is now open for Mississippi’s amateur athletes to compete for the gold.

“We are extremely grateful to our sponsors for sticking with us last year and excited to be back for our 30th year with 41 sports,” said Carolyn Smith, Executive Director. “And even more exciting, our Opening Ceremony in downtown Meridian will return June 4.”

New to the games this year is Axe Throwing, which will be held at Alley Cats Axe Company in Hattiesburg. As with many of the State Games events, different venues are used throughout the state. “Plus we are able to keep our entry fees low, thanks to our sponsors,” said Bobbie Harmon, Director of Marketing and Development. If you are interested in Axe Throwing, the event is set for June 12.

The ever-popular youth soccer competition, sponsored by Rush, will bring top teams from across the state to Meridian June 5 and 6. Teams from U9 to U18/19 will vie for the gold medal.

The State Games of Mississippi is particularly noted for its All Star Baseball competition, which begins with tryouts in all eight districts in the state. When the teams converge on Meridian June 10-14 for the finals, scouts from major schools are on hand, looking carefully for the next generation of top players.

But it’s not all about big team sports. The Games this year will bring Pickleball enthusiasts to the net, Cornhole experts armed with bean bags and Fencers doing their best to score points. With 41 sports, there is something for every amateur athlete to enter.

It’s easy to enter. Review all of the sports at our website, stategamesofms.org and get ready to go for the gold.

 

About the State Games of Mississippi

The State Games of Mississippi is now in its 30th year offering top-level competition for Mississippi’s amateur athletes in more than 41 sports. In 2019, more than 5,000 athletes competed.

The Games kick of with an exciting Opening Ceremony in downtown Meridian on June 4, complete with the parade of athletes, lighting of the State Games flame and fireworks.

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: BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, Meridian-Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau/Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, Paul & Sherry Broadhead Foundation, Meridian Community College, WTOK-TV, The Meridian Star and WMDN/WGBC-TV (The Meridian Family of Stations). For more information on the Games, call 601-482-0205 or visit the State Games of Mississippi website at www.stategamesofms.org.

2020 RUSH Athletes of Year Named

State Games Names 2020 Athletes of the Year

MERIDIAN, MS — The three winners of the 2020 Rush Athletes of the Year for the State Games of Mississippi show the diversity of athletes from across the state. 5K runner Chet Nicklas (Enterprise), swimmer Sarah Misiak (Columbus) and All-Star Baseball player Leighton Jenkns (Meridian) not only compete in sports well, but show other winning talents.

The State Games of Mississippi has been fortunate to hold more than half of its yearly sporting events, despite the restrictions and concerns raised by the global COVID-19 pandemic. “We have been so fortunate to have athletes, volunteers and families enthusiastically endorse our efforts to hold sporting events. Plus, the unwavering support of our Board of Directors, sponsors and staff has allowed our statewide amateur sporting events to endure,” said Executive Director Carolyn Smith.

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 2020 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. Three final winners are chosen: Male, Female and Youth Athletes of the Year.

Chet Nicklas — 2020 Male Athlete of the Year

Enterprise native Chet Nicklas, a 5K runner, won the 5K and Trail Run this year at the State Games. A chemistry teacher, football coach and bus driver at Clarkdale High School, this versatile athlete is also the youth leader at Linwood Baptist Church in Union. It’s a family affair for the Nicklas family — his two sons (5th and 3rd grades) have competed and placed in the State Games.

Chet is pursuing a doctorate in Rural Education from the University of West Alabama on top of all of his other responsibilities. What makes his running — he has won more than 20 medals during his career — more remarkable is that Chet suffers from asthma.

Sarah Misiak — 2020 Female Athlete of the Year

Sarah Misiak hails from Columbus and has been a competitive swimmer since her high school and college days, but took many years off to focus on her family — husband and four boys (the youngest 13, the oldest 20). About 10 years ago, Sarah started swimming competitively again, entering the National Senior Olympic Games twice. She won three Gold medals in the 2017 Birmingham games and two Golds and a Bronze in the Albuquerque games.

She has competed in the State Games for six year and said this about State Games Swimming Commissioner Wade Heggie: “Wade and his team put on such an uplifting, well-organized, fun event every year and held an especially ‘safe’ event this year. It meant a lot to me physically, mentally and spiritually to be able to compete and have wonderful fellowship during such trying times.”

Leighton Jenkins — 2020 Youth Athlete of the Year

Youth Athlete of the Year Leighton Jenkins of Meridian started playing in the State Games when he was seven (in soccer) but baseball has always been his favorite sport. This All-Star shortstop player is a senior at West Lauderdale High School and trains under Coach Jason Smith. He won Defensive Player of the Year in his junior year and has committed to playing baseball at East Central Community College when he starts college in 2021.

During the 2020 State Games All Star tournament, Leighton went 8 for 16, with 1 homerun, 1 triple. 2 doubles, 4 singles and 8 RBI’s.

He is not only athletic, but smart. Leighton is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars.

Other nominees for the RUSH Athlete of the Year included:

Zoe Clymer, 5K —Collinsville

Brian Stokes, Archery — Toomsuba

Kristen Miles, Archery — Philadelphia

Troy Harper, Bowling — Meridian

Amanda Joyner, Bowling — Union

Andy McDonald, Corn Hole —Bailey

Emily Arias, Corn Hole —Bailey

Jerry Saxton, Disc Golf — Hattiesburg

Ben Kazden, Disc Golf —Choctaw

Jimmy McKay, Master Swimming —Madison

Harleigh Culpepper, Softball — Collinsville

Roxanne Gay, Sporting Clays — Vicksburg

Bobby Brister, Sporting Clays —Madison

Mickey May, Trail Run — Collinsville

Sadie Reed, Trail Run —Meridian

Connor Daughtery, Volleyball — Ridgeland

Kim Smith, Volleyball — Bailey

Bailey Farley, Youth Soccer — Meridian

Wilson Varnado, Youth Soccer —Bogalusa

 

Sports Proceed Safely Despite Pandemic

State Games Sports Proceed Safely Despite Pandemic

August 24, 2020

MERIDIAN, MS — The State Games of Mississippi has been fortunate to hold more than half of its yearly sporting events, despite the restrictions and concerns raised by the global COVID-19 pandemic. And some events are still in the offing.

“What a year it has been so far,” said Carolyn Smith, Executive Director. “Whereas we usually hold most of our sports in May and June, this year we’ve spread them out throughout the year, taking into account the safety of everyone who attends. We could not have done it without the help of our RUSH Medical Advisory Team and our sponsors, who saw that — while things are different — the Games have continued.”

The safety of all participants, spectators, volunteers and staff has been at the forefront of each decision to hold an event in 2020. Those sports have included the very popular soccer competitions and All-Star Baseball. Coming up the on the last weekend of August is the Youth Grand Slam Baseball Tournament; as well as Mountain Bike and Martial Arts events that will be held in October and November, respectively.

“We have been so fortunate to have athletes, volunteers and families enthusiastically endorse our efforts to hold sporting events. Plus, the unwavering support of our Board of Directors, sponsors and staff has allowed our statewide amateur sporting events to endure,” Smith said.

Also on the event horizon for the State Game of Mississippi is the annual Pumpkin Run, a 5K event that will be held at Bonita Lakes here on October 17.

“Has the year been unusual? Yes!” Smith said, “But we have shown the resilience and hard work that have characterized the State Games of Mississippi for 29 years. We look forward to the return of a full slate of events and the Opening Ceremony for our 30th year in 2021.”

 

About the State Games of Mississippi

The State Games of Mississippi is now in its 29th year offering top-level competition for Mississippi’s amateur athletes in more than 37 sports. In 2019, more than 5,000 athletes competed.

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: BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, Meridian-Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau/Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, Paul & Sherry Broadhead Foundation, Meridian Community College, 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.

 

#########

 

Nominate Your Favorite Athlete & Volunteer

Nominations for Athlete of Year & Volunteer of Year Open

We have been so pleased to offer sports in the unusual year of 2020 — and excited about the participation and the help of our volunteers.

The State Games of Mississippi chooses three athletes each year  — Male, Female and Youth — from nominations in EVERY sport. These three RUSH Athletes of the Year become the torch runners for the 2021 Opening Ceremony.

Coaches, officials, athletes, volunteers and spectators may nominate an athlete for these awards. One female, one male and one youth athlete will be chosen from each sporting event to represent that sport for the 2020 State Games of Mississippi, and three will be named RUSH Athletes of the Year.

Please nominate the athlete of your choice who personifies the ideals of the State Games movement, such as participation, sportsmanship, effort and positive attitude. 

We also recognize the Volunteer of the Year based on your nominations.

Download these forms today to nominate your favorites!

2020 Athlete of the Year Nomination Form

2020 Volunteer of the Year Nomination Form

10 Sports Set for June 2020

Ten Sports Gear Up at State Games — Is Yours One of Them?

PLEASE NOTE: All of these dates are subject to change, due to the pandemic. We will always keep you updated.

 

June 6, 2020

5K Road Race

Volleyball – Youth

June 13, 2020

Softball – Slow Pitch

Volleyball – Two Person

June 13-14, 2020

Archery – 3D & Field

June 19-20, 2020

Softball – Fast Pitch

June 20, 2020

Volleyball – Four Person

June 20-21, 2020

Sporting Clays

June 27, 2020

Trail Run

June 27-28, 2020

Soccer – Youth

 

MERIDIAN, MS — The State Games of Mississippi is pleased to announce that ten sports are ON for June.

“As we said recently, we have been working closely with the governing bodies of the various sports, following the recommendations of Gov. Tate Reeves and local officials, and consulting its Rush Medical Advisory team for guidance on when and how to hold State Games sporting events,” said Carolyn Smith, Executive Director of the State Games.

The safety of all participants, spectators, volunteers and staff at the forefront of each decision to hold an event in 2020, and these ten sports will be no different. “Details on recommendations for social distancing, masks and other aspects that may be different at these events is now available on our website in the various registration forms,” said Smith.

Registration for all ten events is now open. Participants may find forms or register online at StateGamesofMS.org. Athletes and their families will be consistently informed via State Games social media platforms, including the State Games website, Facebook and Constant Contact.

About the State Games of Mississippi

The State Games of Mississippi is now in its 29th year offering top-level competition for Mississippi’s amateur athletes in more than 37 sports. In 2019, more than 5,500 athletes competed.

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: BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians/Pearl River Resort, Meridian-Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau/Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, Paul & Sherry Broadhead Foundation, Meridian Community College, 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.

 

#########