The AAU, along with the assistance and the guidance of the Joel Ferrell family, established the Joel Ferrell Outstanding Performance Memorial Award to recognize the athletic ability and sportsmanship of an athlete representing each official sport at the AAU Junior Olympic Games. In addition to the award presented at the Games, each recipient's name will be engraved on a special plaque at the AAU National Headquarters.
Joel Ferrell, a former aerospace engineer, made numerous contributions to the AAU. He held several positions with the AAU, including the presidency from 1976-78. He was also a vice president of the USOC. In December 1988, he passed away in his hometown of Tullahoma, Tennessee.
Below is a short biography of each of the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award winners. Congratulations to all.
The winner of the 2015 Joel Ferrell Award for Baton Twirling is Frances Novella. Novella was nominated by multiple judges and was the Advanced All Around Champion. She participates with the Solid Gold Twirlers and is a long-time supporter/member of the AAU. The twirler takes part in all AAU baton activities, including the showcase for many years and is noted as an “amazing twirler”.
Max McKinney took home the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award in Bowling at the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic Games. The Virginia native was the top vote among the other bowlers and coaches.
Hailey Hacker was honored with the Joel Ferrell Award for Cheerleading. The 14 year old competes with Gotta Flip and is from Columbus, Ohio. According to the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic Games Cheerleading results, Gotta Flip walked away with five gold medals!
The 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award for Field Hockey goes to Sophia Gladieux! The 13 year old competed with the Red team at the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic Games;, which ended the event with four wins, one loss and a tie. Their only loss came in the championship game against the Black team. They placed second overall in the tournament.
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There were two winners of the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award in Jump Rope! The female recipient is Tori Boggs with Jump Company USA. The 22 year old took home NINE gold medals and is a five year participant in jump rope at the AAU Junior Olympic Games. The Ohio State University student is a 9-time FISAC World Jump Rope Champion, 2-time world record holder, 2-time Captain of Team USA and a 25-time USA Jump Rope Grand National Champion!
The male recipient is J.P. Goody from Miami, Florida! Goody jumps with the Supersonics and is a senior in high school. The 17 year old placed third at FISAC, was the National Champion in Double Dutch Speed and was Grand National Champion in Double Dutch Pairs Speed.
The female recipient for the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award in Karate is Kaitlin Leslie with Nishime Karate! The 15 year old has been competing since 2008 and attended her first AAU National Championship in 2009. Since her debut in 2009, she has been the National Champion in at least one event every year. The tenth grader has participated on the National Team since 2010 and has racked up several gold, silver and bronze medals in those four years.
Virginia local Austin Galeski is the male recipient of the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award. The Hampden-Sydney College freshman is a six-time Super Regional Champion, eight-time State Champion and 11-time Invitational Champion and took the Bronze in Kumite at the 2015 AAU National Championships. The 18 year old is the 2014 Ryukyukan Heavyweight Jissen (knock-down) Kumite Champion and has achieved great success in the Mid-Atlantic Open Tournament from 2011-2014. Galeski has also been recognized for his accomplishments as an instructor. He was awarded Instructor of the Year honors of Axsom Martial Arts for 2012-2013.
Ashlee Donelson of Cumberland County Martial Arts took home the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrel Award honors in Taekwondo. The high school junior has racked up several medals in her Taekwondo career and had participated at Nationals and the AAU Junior Olympic Games previously. She also competes in varsity lacrosse, track, and volleyball as the team captain.
Isaac Mock of Dacula Family Sports grabbed the honors for the male recipient, making it his second consecutive year of earning this award. Mock has won several National Championships in multiple events over many years. He also participates in varsity golf, swimming and soccer, and is the captain of his swimming and soccer teams.
All Sports Combine:
Feats of Strength:
The 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award for Powerlifting goes to Jordan Howard with Project Lift! The Herderson, North Carolina native participates in powerlifting and weightlifting and is a varsity wrestler and offensive tackle at his high school. Howard is a mentor to young lifters and volunteers at his church, all while taking honors courses and maintaining a 3.5 GPA. The 15 year old mentors his uncle with special needs and is a “sensitive, well-balanced adolescent,” according to those who know him. This is his first year participating in the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
This year’s recipient is an outstanding stacker who has attended more than 28 sanctioned WSSA tournaments in the past four years. Matthew Hill is one of the top role models for Team USA and is always willing to help with a smile. In 2011, he was the All Around Male Champion at the WSSA US National Championship. He holds all of the individual 15-16 male age division records and the 16U doubles record in his home state of Virginia. At the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic Games he also received the Hampton Roads Sports Commission, Jack Ankerson, YOU CAN DO IT Award, which included a $500 scholarship that was presented to him at the Celebration of Athletes at Norfolk State University. According to those who know him, he is always ready and willing to do demonstrations or any other activity to help promote Sport Stacking in his area.
Swimming chose two recipients for the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award. The female winner is Caitlyn Palmer from Missouri! The 17 year old not only worked hard in practice to get to the AAU Junior Olympic Games, but she also worked as a lifeguard to help finance the trip to Virginia. She’s been competing in the Games for several years and has several medals, including numerous ones from this year’s event. Family and friends agree that swimming is her passion, and she’s “dedicated to success in all that she does.”
Leevi Olson is the male winner of the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award winner. When his father was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 for a second time, Olson picked up swimming so he could participate in a sport that “he could do with his mom.” He developed a love for swimming and has since participated in three AAU Junior Olympic Games (2012, 2013, 2015). Olson is forced to move frequently because of his fathers’ military career but he maintains a 3.45 GPA or higher while competing in football, swimming and track. The 15 year old also donates his time to mentor younger swimmers and helped the local Red Cross during a blood drive and the local National Guard during their drown-proofing and basic lifeguard water training.
Track & Field:
Trampoline & Tumbling:
The female winners of the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award is Katlyn Barber from Will Power Tumbling and Emily Whelan from GymStars! The 11th grader has been an AAU National Team member for the past seven years and boasts a National Championship and a District Award honor on her résumé. She also competes in volleyball and softball and was named to the district team in both sports.
Whelon is a high school senior in Waterloo, Illinois. She maintains a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. When she is not busy with schoolwork, she is a member of the AAU National Team for Trampoline and Tumbling and is in the National Top 10.
Devin Meaux took home the 2015 Joel Ferrell Award honors. He participated in the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic Games with KCT2 and is from Danville, Kentucky. The 19 year old is a four-time National USTA Champion.
Chandler Minnard from Ohio Blue is the winner of the 2015 AAU Joel Ferrell Award. The high school senior had an undefeated record (14-0) at the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic Games, with four pins and 10 techs. Only three points were scored against him during competition. In 2012, he was an AAU Junior Olympic Games silver medalist and is a three-time Ohio State placer.
Congratulations to all of these incredible athletes and we hope to see you at the 2016 AAU Junior Olympic Games in Houston, Texas!
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