2018 Michigan Athletes of the Year Named

Grand Rapids, Mich., September 27, 2018 – A Michigan athlete was selected as the 2018 National Congress of State Games (NCSG) Athlete of the Year. The athlete is among four athletes who were named as the Meijer State Games of Michigan (MSGOM) 2018 Athletes of the Year, qualifying them for NCSG consideration.

The 2018 National Congress of State Games Athletes of the Year are:

 -       Adult Female: Sharon Harris - Multiple Sports - Big Sky State Games (Montana)

-       Adult Male: Chad Lorenz - Track & Field - Sunflower State Games (Kansas)

-       Youth Female: Maycee Peacher – Wrestling - Cornhusker State Games (Nebraska)

-       Youth Male: Adin Fetibegovic – Taekwondo - Meijer State Games of Michigan

Following the MSGOM – 2018 Summer Games, male, female, youth male and youth female athletes were chosen as 2018 Athletes of the Year.

The 2018 Meijer State Games of Michigan Athletes are:

-       Adult Female: A.J. Selig – Golf - Grand Rapids, MI

-       Adult Male: Kevin “Robert” Malnight - Swimming/Postal Swimming - Kalamazoo, MI

-       Youth Female: Isabella Nelson - Multiple Sports - Norton Shores, MI

-       Youth Male: Adin Fetibegovic – Taekwondo - Shelby Township, MI

Thirty State Games programs nominate their state Athletes of the Year for the NCSG Athlete of the Year. This is the second year a MSGOM athlete has been selected for the national award. The NCSG Athletes of the Year will be awarded at the NCSG Annual Symposium and the TEAMS Conference and Expo in Louisville, KY on October on October 3, 2018.

 Selig, 25, was nominated for the Athlete of the Year award by Golf Director Nancy Johnson for her performance at the tournament. Selig grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, but now resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan and works as a Sales Analyst at Conagra Brands. She started golfing at the age of 5 and started competing at just 9 years old. From a young age, Selig. competed at a national level, traveling to compete across the country. She was diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst on her brain her freshman year of high school, which put golf on hold while she was facing many symptoms. Selig was able to overcome her health issues to play NCAA D1 golf at Valparaiso University, which she says is the highlight of her sports career. At Valparaiso University, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. This was Selig’s first year competing at the Meijer State Games of Michigan, but she grew up playing in the Badger State Games.

Malnight, 27, Has been competing in the MSGOM since 2016, swimming in the Summer and competing in Postal Swimming in the Winter. Malnight got his start in the Special Olympics and eventually moved to non-disabled competitions in Masters Swimming. Malnight was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, drug addicted and premature. When he was adopted at 17 months, he was isolated and behaviorally out of control. Swimming helps Malnight with his emotional control and relieving stress. Malnight says that his first 10k swim at the “Swim to the Moon” event in Gregory, MI is the highlight of his swimming career so far. His dream is to swim a 13k in Switzerland. 

Nelson, 8, started competing in the MSGOM at 4 years old and has won 10 medals in the Summer and Winter Games. She has broken a state record in Michigan Long Tracks Championship 500 m in her age group and in Archery at the 2018 Outdoor 420 State Championship. Her love for the world of skating brings her to the rink every Thursday to help coach Lakeshore Sports Centre Learn to Skate Program, all these while maintaining excellent grade at school. Apart from teaching skaters as her contribution to the community, Nelson is also an active member of the Girls Scouts Troop 4834 and is involved in theater through the Central Park Players based in Grand Haven. She has helped raised funds for the hurricane victims, which she donated to International Aid last year. 

Fetibegovic, 8, started with martial arts at the age of 3. At age 7, he earned his Jr. Black Belt, becoming the youngest Black Belt ever at his martial arts school, Sidekicks Martial Arts. He won 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medals at the International Michigan Cup in 2016 and 2017 which were the first tournaments he ever participated in. At the 2018 Meijer State Games of Michigan, he was the youngest Jr. Black Belt and won gold and two silver medals although he competed in the age category of 8/9 while being 7 years old. What is even more impressive than winning medals is Fetibegovic’s passion and commitment. His school starts at 8:50 am and ends at 3:50 pm, each day his mom takes him on a 45-minute drive to Sidekicks Martial Arts immediately following school where he practices 1-2 hours every day and then again 2 hours each Saturday. He arrives back home after 7:00 pm and still manages to complete his homework. He loves to read and was the first among his first-grade class to accomplish the challenge to read 50 books, needing only 2 months to get there. Fetibegovic is an outstanding student consistently recognized for helping his peers. Fetibegovic has developed great IT skills thanks to his ongoing computer science classes and his commitment to learning more. He volunteers with his dad by helping prepare school supply filled backpacks for those in need. He also acts as a class assistant for the Little Kickers Program at Sidekicks Martial Arts making a positive impact on the other children. Fetibegovic is also bilingual, fully fluent in 2 languages.

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