Since its inception in 2010, the Meijer State Games of Michigan has given athletes the opportunity to compete against each other in summer and winter games emulating the Olympics. Following the completion of the Summer Games, and after receiving nominations from coaches, parents, spectators, and peers, officials with the Meijer State games of Michigan choose participants from the games as Athlete of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
Three athletes – youth, female, and male – are chosen every year and one volunteer is also awarded and recognized. The 2015 winners were recognized at the Grand Rapids Griffins game this past Saturday and are as follows:
• Aubrey Cohoon (Youth – Figure Skating – Spring Lake, MI)
• Maddy Frank (Female – Mountain Biking – Walker, MI)
• Michael Edward Droste Jr. (Male – Tae Kwon Do – Saranac, MI)
• Issac Washburn (Volunteer – Grand Rapids, MI)
Aubrey Cohoon (Youth AOY), 11, competed in Figure Skating during the 2015 Meijer State Games of Michigan taking first place in the pre-preliminary freestyle program and fourth place in the preliminary compulsory moves event. Her first place standing at the State Games of Michigan qualified her for the 2017 State Games of America. In May 2015, she had the opportunity to skate at the Make-A-Wish Michigan Wish Ball alongside her idols, Charlie Wait and Meryl Davis. She has raised over $30,000 for Make-A-Wish Michigan and has been awarded the title of the Fox 17 Pay-It-Forward person of the Week and Month. Aubrey is currently a student at Spring Lake Intermediate School.
Maddy Frank (Female AOY), 15, competed in Mountain Biking during the 2015 Meijer State Games of Michigan, winning the Women’s A Division in the Short Track Event. Maddy competes in biking events year-round and recently took first in her age group in the Iceman Cometh Challenge in Traverse City, MI. She is also a track & field athlete at Grandville schools and enjoys volunteering for local running and biking race events including the East Grand Rapids Trailblazer Run, the Grand Rapids Triathlon, and the Skirts in the Dirt all-female bike race. In 2014, she was awarded the “Ryan Fisher be an Eleven Award.” She is a member of the Freewheeler Racing Team and is an ambassador for Lapierre bikes. Maddy is currently a student at Grandville High School.
Michael Edward Droste Jr. (Male AOY), 32, competed in Tae Kwon Do during the 2015 Mejier State Games of Michigan, winning the yellow belt division of the Tae Kwon Do forms division. Being born with cerebral palsy and ligament issues, he has overcome adversity as an athlete. Michael is a resident of Saranac, MI and enjoys participating in martial arts for the friendships he has made and the lessons of respect, self-control, and discipline he has learned. Michael is an inspiration to all athletes and is an outstanding example of overcoming adversity.
Isaac Washburn (VOY), 27, has been involved in the Meijer State Games of Michigan for five years. He is crucial to the organization and success of the high school hockey tournament. He takes pride in ensuring this event is well-run and properly executed, aiding in set-up, teardown, and problem resolution for all 18 hockey games during the tournament. Isaac is a 2012 graduate of the sports leadership and management division at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). He is currently the Video Coach for the Kalamazoo Wings, Head Coach for both the Division 1 and Division 3 Roller Hockey club teams at GVSU, and the Director of Team Development for the Midwest Collegiate Roller Hockey League.
Previous Athlete of the Year award winners include:
• 2014: Alex Garcia (Male – Wrestling), Cory Bush (Female – Speedskating), Jade Walleman (Youth – Track & Field)
• 2013: Joe Skrycki (Male – Track & Field), Joan Berman (Female – Track & Field), Liam Smith (Youth – Archery)
• 2012: Russell Williams (Male – Tae Kwon Do), Lauren Hooker (Female – Lacrosse), Derek Nicks (Youth – Wrestling)
• 2011: Bob Miller (Male – Swimming), Jessica LeMire (Female – Racquetball), Chandler Simmering (Youth – Judo)
• 2010: Jimmy O’Hearn (Male – Track & Field), Emily Wee (Female – Track & Field), William Vosejpka (Youth – Hockey)