Former Falcon Wide Receiver Michael Haynes provided words of inspiration and wisdom to coaches and athletes on Tuesday, March 3, as the Top Youth and Adult Sportsman, along with the Youth and Adult Sportsmanship Teams, in Gwinnett for 2009 were announced and honored at the 5th Annual Sportsmanship in Gwinnett banquet held at Winfield Hall in Duluth.
FOX5’s Buck Lanford served as Master of Ceremonies to an audience of Gwinnett’s youth athletic association (YAA) players, coaches, family and friends. A partnership between Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation (GCPR), Gwinnett Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and the Gwinnett Sports Commission, this program honors youth athletic players and individuals involved in coaching and mentoring more than 50,000 children involved in sports throughout Gwinnett County.
Joseph Blankenship of the Grayson Youth Athletic Association was named as this year’s Top Youth Sportsman in Gwinnett. His coach says, “Joseph’s personality and his interaction with others sets a standard for players of all ages.”
Gregg Peters of Mustang Athletics was named as the Top Adult Sportsman in Gwinnett. Those close to Gregg describe him as being “truly out there for the kids.”
The Gwinnett Youth Sportsmanship Team for 2009 includes:
Jenna Cain, Collins Hill Athletic Association
Jacques Casimir, Dacula Soccer Club
Joseph Blankenship, Grayson Athletic Association
Johnny Jones, Greater Lilburn Athletic Association
Michael Serrian, Lawrenceville Youth Athletic Association
Peyton Wilson, Mill Creek Athletic Association
Randall Johnstone, Mountain Park Athletic Association
Marcus Page, Mustang Athletics
Rafael Oquendo, Norcross Baseball Association
Laura Diaz, Norcross Soccer Association
Tyler Avery, North Gwinnett Baseball/Softball Association
Thomas Massey, Shiloh Athletic Association
Harrison Stewart, South Gwinnett Athletic Association
The Gwinnett Adult Sportsmanship Team for 2009 includes:
Tim Steimer, Dacula Soccer Club
Randy Neil, Grayson Athletic Association
John Monroe, Lawrenceville Youth Athletic Association
Larry Barnes, Greater Lilburn Athletic Association
Jim Calvert, Mill Creek Athletic Association
Sam Chambers, Mountain Park Athletic Association
Gregg Peters, Mustang Athletics
Cindy Underwood, Norcross Soccer Association
Dan Kerr, North Gwinnett Football Association
Andrew Collins, Peachtree Boosters Club
Larry Massey, Shiloh Athletic Association
Ronnie Williams, South Gwinnett Athletic Association
A silent auction was also held during this event that raised $1,586 that will go towards scholarship opportunities for youth sports.
Organized youth sports programs in Gwinnett include football, cheerleading, baseball/softball, basketball, soccer, roller hockey and lacrosse. GCPR partners with the 23 YAAs to provide Gwinnett’s youth an opportunity to play organized sports. The department and the nonprofit associations (which are comprised of more than 14,000 volunteers) work hand-in-hand. GCPR contracts with YAAs to use sports fields, gyms, and concession buildings on a seasonal basis. YAAs, in turn, essentially organize their own programs and provide financial resources to enhance or add new amenities to the parks, such as batting cages or ball fields with associated parking.