Spotlights
 



Colette & Elyse Levens: Multi-Sport, Michigan
: There might not be a more dynamic duo than the thirteen-year-old Levens twin sisters. Colette and Elyse Levens won the “Youth Female Athletes of the Year” award and it is not a surprise as to why. These twin sisters do it all. This year alone, they are competing in the State Games of America’s competitive swim, cross country, and water ski.


 



Marc LaForest: Archery, MichiganWhen asked his proudest accomplishment, with no pause or hesitation Marc LaForest answered, “Absolutely my kids, without a doubt!” LaForest began taking part in the Games three years ago for his family. Together, him and one of his daughters participated in archery, and his wife and other daughter participated in swimming. The Games have been a family affair and something they all look forward to ever since. 

 


John Schowalter: Pickleball, MichiganThe events at the State Games are not put on by magic. John Schowalter is one of the many volunteers who helps put on the Meijer State Games of Michigan. Schowalter, age 70, is one of the head volunteers for the pickleball tournament. From registration through the very last pickleball match, Schowalter is working hard and long nights for all the pickleball participants. The Meijer State Games of Michigan pickleball tournament is run basically flawless, due to all his and all the other volunteer’s hard work.

 


Janet Brady: Track and Field, MichiganPeople are never too old to get started in something new. Janet Brady, age 59, took this to heart, and it has been paying off. She played many different team sports in high school, but it was not until age fifty that she started track and field events. Brady has won over 100 medals and awards now in track and field. One of those awards included being honored in Atlantic City for winning the National Congress of State Games Adult Female Athlete of the Year.

 


John Earl: Tae Kwon Do, MichiganSixteen-year-old, second degree blackbelt, Tae Kwon Do Athlete, John Earl was honored by winning Youth Male Athlete of the Year for Meijer State Games of Michigan. He is described as "nothing short of extraordinary". Earl is a very bright and compassionate individual, as well as a great representative for the sport of Tae Kwon Do.

 


Cassie Waggoner: Track & Field, KansasTrack and field, pageant winner, softball player, Cassie Waggoner never takes a break. At age 24, Waggoner is a retired college track athlete who has broken records, won many medals, a few pageants, and is not done yet. Waggoner continues a very successful journey through track and field and is ready to head off to compete in the State Games of America 2017.

 


Delsie Bonaparte: Weightlifting, Missouri46-years-old, 7 kids, full time job, and Delsie Bonaparte still finds time to train and win medals in weightlifting. This inspiring mother does not make any excuses. She pushes hard and has no plans of stopping. Now she is getting ready and looking forward to competing at State Games of America 2017.

 


Larry Hutton: Swimming, VirginiaMeeting new people, branching out to try new things, and maintaining a healthy living are what sports do for people. Larry Hutton began competitive swim about 8 years ago at age 52. He has made some of his best friends, lost a ton of weight, and has had a blast doing it. He is preparing to travel all over for competitions this year and is super excited to be competing in the State Games of America for a second time.

 


Stephen Sclafani: Running, LouisianaAt 11 years old Stephen Sclafani is not sitting inside playing video games. He is doing just the opposite. Sclafani is an amazing little runner, who just adores the act of running. He runs the 1600-meter and the 4-by-1 relay in track as well as doing cross country. I had the opportunity to be able to talk with Sclafani, and was blown away by how impressive and mature this 11-year-old athlete is.





 




Kelly Rife: Karate, VirginiaAfter getting out of the military, many veterans struggle with PTSD, anxiety, depression and more. They are recommended to try and be active as a way of dealing with it. For veteran Kelly Rife, she found her anxiety reliever through karate. In 2009 Rife turned to karate and has never looked back.



 


5 Steps to get Ready for State Games of America: Take these 5 steps to make sure you are ready and get the most you can out of the State Games of America 2017.




 


Chris Wallace: Track and Field, ArizonaFive surgeries and a heart attack has been nothing short of motivation for 60-year-old track and field athlete Chris Wallace.






 

Have an interesting story? Email Abby at amurphy@stategamesofmichigan.com