Nonprofits and Sports Business

Association names athletes of the year

December 26, 2016
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Marc LaForest
Marc LaForest. Courtesy West Michigan Sports Commission

A trio of Michigan athletes were named national athletes of the year.

Janet Brady of Canton was named the 2016 National Congress of State Games adult female athlete of the year, while twins Colette Levens and Elyse Levens of Lake Orion were named the youth female athletes of the year.

Allegan archer Marc LaForest was a national finalist for adult male athlete of the year, and Jon Earl of Grass Lake was a national finliast in tae kwon do. 

Grand Rapids’ John Schowalter was a national finalist for volunteer of the year.

The group from Michigan were all national finalists after being named Meijer State Games of Michigan 2016 Athletes of the Year. This is the first time that a Meijer State Games of Michigan athlete was selected for a national award.

The winners were announced this fall at the National Congress of State Games’ annual symposium and TEAMS Conference and Expo in Atlantic City, N.J.

National winners from Michigan

Brady, 58, has earned 13 gold medals in three years of competition in track and field at the Meijer State Games of Michigan Summer Games. Her medals have come in shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throw.

Colette Levens, 13, and Elyse Levens, 13, won silver and gold medals in water skiing at the state Summer Games. Previously, they medaled in synchronized swimming at the state games and in open water swimming and water skiing at the State Games of America.

West Michigan finalists

LaForest, 42, competed in Archery FITA and 3D Archery during the state Summer Games and indoor archery during the state Winter Games.

Schowalter has been a volunteer with the state games for many years, setting up registration for the state Summer Games Pickleball Tournament and troubleshooting with registrants. He's considered a “premier ambassador” for the sport in recognition of the time and commitment he has put into the sport.

Meijer State Games of Michigan

A signature event of the nonprofit West Michigan Sports Commission, the Meijer State Games of Michigan is modeled after the Olympics and welcomes athletes of all ages and backgrounds.

The state games will host the 2017 State Games of America in Grand Rapids in August of 2017.

National Congress of State Games

Comprising 33 summer state games and 11 winter state games organizations, the National Congress of State Games is an association that supports member organizations in the promotion of its values through Olympic-style competitions and physical activity.

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