View Past Recipients: 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 |2020|2021| 2022
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Jackson Central-Merry HS
Madison Academic High School
Liberty Technology High School
Jackson Christian School
North Side High School
South Side High School
Trinity Christian Academy
University School of Jackson
JCM’s female athlete of the year, Kirsten Bell-Cox, played volleyball and basketball for the Cougars. She received numerous awards for her hard work on the court, and she is known for her passion and toughness. Bell-Cox was named to the All-District Team and All-Tournament Team in volleyball. In basketball, she made the All- District Team. She was a team leader and captain for both the volleyball and basketball teams, and she grabbed the attention of several college coaches. Bell-Cox plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University to study psychology.
JCM’s male athlete of the year, Coleton Word, played football for four years and baseball for two years. Word gained trust from his coaches when he first entered the two programs and is known for his positive attitude. In football, Word averaged over 21 yards per punt return and over 28.4 yards per kickoff return. On offense, Word finished his career with over 60 receptions for a total of 850 yards and 1,245 all-purpose yards. On defense, Word had over 70 tackles. His performance earned him JCM’s Special Team Player of the Year Award, the Hardest Working Receiver Award, and the Team Commitment Award. In baseball, he was awarded Best Outfielder. Coleton is a member of the Young Gentlemen Association at JCM. He holds a 3.43 GPA and plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University to study veterinary medicine.
Madison’s female athlete of the year, Dakota Smith, played basketball all four years. Smith led her team as captain her junior and senior years and scored 2,003 points during her career, making her the second leading scorer in Madison history. She was named to the All-District Team (10th-12th), All-Tournament Team (10th), and Jackson Sun All-West TN Second Team. She also received Jackson Sun Player of the Week four times, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sports Award, and Jackson Sun Super Senior. Smith will continue her basketball career and education at the University of Tennessee at Martin on a full athletic scholarship.
Madison’s male athlete of the year, Ben Wichlan, played football, basketball, and baseball. Wichlan received the prestigious Wendy’s Heisman Athlete of the Year. He was named MTAC 8-man football All-American, All-District Team for baseball, and All-Tournament Team for basketball. Wichlan was also a member of FCA and Excel Club and has maintained top three in his graduating class with a 3.82 GPA.
Liberty’s female athlete of the year, Brindy Fuller, played basketball and soccer and ran track for the Crusaders. As a forward for the basketball team, Fuller was the second leading rebounder with five rebounds per game and averaged five points per game. For soccer, Fuller was team captain in 2014 and named to the All-District Team in 2013 and 2014. On the track field, Fuller was the anchor runner for the 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400 relay teams and led her team as captain her senior year. Off the field, Fuller was a member of The Ambassadors, an organization focused on mentoring and improving the school’s climate. She holds a 3.05 GPA and plans to attend Tennessee State University to pursue a career in nursing.
Liberty’s male athlete of the year, Trey Chrystak, played football and soccer and ran track for the Crusaders. As cornerback and defensive back for the football team, Chrystak was a two-time All-District First Team selection and had 55 tackles, five tackles for lost, and four interceptions. For the track team, he ran the 4x400 meter relay race. Off the field, Chrystak was a member of Beta Club, Skills USA, and the Academic Decathlon team that won the gold medal in mathematics, as well as President of the youth group at West Bemis Missionary Baptist Church. He was also active in the JROTC, winning the American Legion Athletic Award, American Legion General Military Excellence Award, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Award. Chrystak holds a 3.7 GPA and plans to attend Austin Peay University to study chemical engineering.
JCS’s female athlete of the year, Georgia Hopkins, played soccer and basketball. In 2014, Hopkins received the prestigious award of Max Preps Girls Soccer Player of the Year. She was awarded the Eagle Classic MVP and District 15 West Defensive Player of the Year; named to the All-District Tournament Team and Jackson Sun’s All-West TN First Team; and selected to the Tennessee All-State Team for her extraordinary performance as part of a record-setting season, allowing only 12 goals in 23 games. Hopkins was also named Player’s Player of the Year by her teammates and received the Eagle Award, the top award presented to JCS soccer players. In 2013, Hopkins was awarded All-Region Tournament MVP and Team Offensive Player of the Year and named to the All-District Second Team, All-Region Tournament Team, and All-West TN Honorable Mention. In 2012, Hopkins was named All-West TN Honorable Mention and Team MVP. While playing for the Jackson Futbol Club, Hopkins’ team were state champions in 2012 and 2013 and semi-finalists at the Region III President’s Cup in 2012 and 2013. Hopkins was also a member of FCS and Internet Club. Hopkins will attend Union University to continue her soccer career and pursue a degree in athletic training.
JCS’s male athlete of the year, Robert Nickias, played baseball and basketball. On the basketball court, Nickias averaged 10 points, three rebounds, four assists, and one steal per game. In baseball, he had a .342 batting average, .439 on base percentage, 33 RBIs, nine doubles, and 21 walks. He was also part of the 2014 state champion baseball team. As captain of the basketball team, Nickias won Player of the Week and was named to the All-District Team in 2015. For his accomplishments on the baseball field, Nickias was named Player of the Week, All-West TN Honorable Mention in 2014, All-District Team, and All-Region Team. Nickias will graduate with a 3.2 GPA and 27 ACT score.
North Side’s male athlete of the year, Morgan Harris, played basketball for the Lady Indians all four years. Throughout her career, she received her team’s Most Improved award and was named to the All-District and All-Tournament teams. Averaging 11 rebounds per game, Harris led her district in rebounds one year and placed second in the district during the 2014-15 season with 247 rebounds over the season. She plans to attend Dyersburg State to study nursing and continue pursuing her passion for basketball.
North Side’s male athlete of the year, Neal Lasley, played football, baseball, and golf for the Indians. Lasley played linebacker his first two years and then became the starting long snapper for his junior and senior years. During those two years, the Indians scored a total of 74 points from extra points and field goals. The Indians qualified for the play-offs in each of his varsity seasons, reaching the state semi-finals his sophomore year and being put out in the second round both his junior and senior years. Lasley was also a member of the undefeated regular season team of 2012. During Lasley’s football career at North Side, the Indians had a 32-6 record. For the Indians baseball team, Lasley has been a reliable relief pitcher the past two seasons and will be a frontline starter this season. He has been part of a district championship team and two other teams that were one win away from moving on to compete for a regional championship. Lasley took up golf his senior year, while balancing football and academics.
South Side’s female athlete of the year, Kiya Sain, played basketball and volleyball and ran track. During her junior year, Sain had 13 total points, 100 rebounds, 60 assists, 89 steals, and five blocks. Her game high was 12 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, and 29 assists. She was named to the All-Tournament team and selected as Player of the Week for basketball. On the volleyball court, Sain averaged nine kills and five blocks per match. For her performance in volleyball, she was selected to the Jackson Sun All-West Tennessee Second Team and All-District Team and was named District Tournament MVP and Player of the Year. She is a member of the Praise Team and Praise Dance Team for All Nations Ministry and is actively involved in her community and church. Sain holds a 2.9 GPA and hopes to continue her basketball or volleyball career in college.
South Side’s male athlete of the year, Terrikous Smith, played basketball and baseball for the Hawks. On the basketball court, Smith averaged 12.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and two assists per game. He was named to the All-District and All-Region teams for basketball. Smith had a .404 batting average on the baseball field. He was selected to the All-District Team in 2013 and 2014 and the All-Tournament, All-Region, All-West Tennessee teams in 2014. Smith was also named the 2014 Team MVP and Best Offensive Player. Smith holds a 2.9 GPA and looks forward to continuing his education in college.
TCA’s female athlete of the year, Clare Taylor, played volleyball for TCA and the Jackson Juniors USVA Olympic team. During her career, Taylor had 1,766 kills, 328 aces, and 1,027 digs. She holds multiple state records, including first for kills in a single match, sixth for kills in a single season, and seventh for kills in a career. Taylor was named to the All-District Team (9th-12th), Jackson Sun All-West Team Honorable Mention (9th), Jackson Sun All-West Team (10h-12th), All-State Volleyball Team Honorable Mention (9th), and All-State Team (10th-12th). She received District Volleyball MVP (11th-12th), Jackson Sun Hitter of the Year (11th), and Jackson Sun Player of the Year (12th). Taylor boasts a 4.31 GPA and ranks ninth of 50 in her graduating class.
TCA’s male athlete of the year, Kyle Akin, played football and basketball. As quarterback for the Lions, Akin holds a Tennessee passing record with 11,131 passing yards during his career. He also holds the second most touchdowns in Tennessee with 128. During his senior year, he had 42 touchdowns and a 63% completion rate. In 2014, Akin received the prestigious 2014 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football award and was a finalist in 2013. He was selected to the All-State Team in 2013 and 2014 and was named Freshman of the Year, District MVP in 2013 and 2014, Jackson Sun Offensive Player of the Year in 2013, and Jackson Sun Player of the Year in 2014. For his performance on the basketball court, Akin was named to the 2014 All-District and All-Tournament teams. Off the field and court, Akin led his peers as Class President in 2012 and won Academic All-District in 2011-2014. Akin plans to continue his education and football career at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
USJ’s female athlete of the year, Samantha Sullivan, played softball and basketball and ran cross country. For the 5K run, Sullivan’s best time was 19:32 minutes. She received All-State honors all four years for cross country, making her the first athlete in school history to do so. On the softball field, Sullivan had 65 hits/236 at-bats, 65 runs, and 27 RBI. In 2012, her team was the softball state champions and runners-up in 2011 and 2013. Her fellow peers nominated her for the Most Athletic senior superlative. Off the field, Sullivan is an artist, earning her the award of Best Art I, II, and III student. She was also an active member in National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. Sullivan boasts a 4.1 GPA and looks forward to continuing her education in college.
USJ’s male athlete of the year, Hollen Spencer, played football, basketball, and tennis. During his four years, Spencer played six different positions on offense and defense for the Bruins football team and led as team captain during his senior year. He had 1,823 career all-purpose yards, averaged 27.4 yards per kick return during his senior year, and never fumbled the ball during his career. He was selected to the All-District Team twice and played in the West Tennessee All Star game. Spencer received the Bruins Hustle Award for his performance on the basketball court. In additional to playing sports, Spencer was a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, and Vice President of his senior class. Spencer boasts a 4.25 GPA and plans to attend the University of Arkansas to study international business.