Athletes from all over Mississippi traveled to Meridian to be a part of the 2018 State Games Athlete of the Year Banquet.
“Well, it’s really important to acknowledge the accomplishments of all of our athletes. You know, we have the sporting events going through all of the month of May and June, and we like to make sure that we really celebrate the ones that stand out and have great sportsmanship.” -Krilecia Gianakos. Dir., Marketing & De., State Games of Mississippi
Dozens of athletes of all ages were called up to the stage to receive their award for their accomplishments. However, one female and one male were chosen for the 2018 State Games Athlete of the year.
“Running taught me that I can set goals and meet them. I remember the first time I ran fifty miles. It just really shattered my sense of where my limits were. That doesn’t mean you can things recklessly. You have to plan for them and you have to train for them, but there’s almost nothing we can’t accomplish if we put our minds to it.” -Ray Gildea, State Games Male Athlete of the Year
Sixty-five-year-old Ray Gildea was chosen as male athlete of the year. For more than twenty-seven years, he has competed in track and field, road racing, and marathon running. Kylie Joiner of Decatur won female athlete of the year. These two athletes will hold the torch in the opening ceremony of the State Games ceremony next year.