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Mississippian wins 2021 State Games Athlete of the Year

Showing resilience on the field after overcoming hardship, 12-year-old is awarded with Athlete of the Year honor
The State Games of Mississippi will kick off Friday night on city hall lawn with its opening...
The State Games of Mississippi will kick off Friday night on city hall lawn with its opening ceremonies.(WTOK)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 3:22 PM CDT
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WIGGINS, Miss. (WTOK) - For the second time in 30 years a Mississippian has been chosen as the State Games National Athlete of the Year.

Cooper Conner, the 12-year-old soccer player was announced as the 2021 State Games Athlete of the Year.

Conner is from Wiggins, Mississippi and faced a tough situation before his first soccer game at this years State Games. His dad suffered a massive heart attack on the field and was rushed into surgery. He did pass later that day.

To the State Games Cooper said, “I know my dad would want me to play and I can’t let my coach or teammates down.”

12-year-old State Games soccer player has been awarded with the honors of being the 2021 State...
12-year-old State Games soccer player has been awarded with the honors of being the 2021 State Games Athlete of the Year.(National Congress of State Games)

Even after finding out that his dad had passed he said he wanted to continue to play to honor his father.

Conner’s coach said, “His courage… remarkable. He even made a goal during the Sunday game from a penalty kick.”

Conner continued to show resilience and to be a strong teammate on and off the field.

The 2021 Athletes of the Year are:

Rachel Lee- Archery FITA- Okemos, MI

Brady O’Donnell- Soccer- Newburyport, MA

Olivia Goodwin- Swimming- Charlottesville, VA

Cooper Conner- Soccer- Wiggins, MS

This year was the 30th year of the Mississippi State Games and is an organization that promotes health, fitness and character building through Olympic-style events.

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