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Meet the Next Generation of Leaders in Sport

Photo Gallery: Meet the Next Leaders in Youth Sports

As part of SportsEngine and TrueSport's efforts to highlight athletes doing incredible things for their community, we spotlighted the eight that changed the game in 2022. 

Each athlete highlighted embodies one or more of the following TrueSport cornerstones: 

  • Sportsmanship
  • Character Building & Life Skills
  • Clean & Healthy Performance

They had the opportunity to sit with TrueSport Ambassadors (top athletes like Aaron Schiedes and Amobi Okugo) and tell their stories.

Get to know the game-changers of 2022.

Aparna Ramakrishnan

Profile: Aparna Ramakrishnan
  • Sport: Golf
  • Team: Naperville Central High School 
  • Word of Advice: “Sometimes taking a break signals that you're weak, you're unable to do it, but it's what you need to be able to perform at your best and be at your peak at all times.”
  • Fun fact: Aparna started a non-profit organization called 'Beyond Charity' to open up the mental health conversation among people her age. 

READ MORE: Breaking Par in Golf and Mental Health: Aparna Ramakrishnan

Adelyn Jones
Profile: Adelyn Jones
  • Sport: Weightlifting
  • Team: Team USA
  • Word of Advice: "Just trust yourself; as long as you believe it, you can do it."
  • Fun fact: Adelyn, or "Addie" as friends and family call her, started weightlifting at nine. Now twelve, Addie is a two-time USA Weightlifting Youth Nationals Champion, 2020 National Silver medalist, 2022 U-15 Pan Am, and Youth World Team Member. 

READ MORE: Leading a Legacy: Adelyn Jones

Cru Martinson
Profile: Cru Martinson
  • Sport: Hockey
  • Team: NXT Level Hockey & Jr. Ducks
  • Word of Advice: "Play to have fun."
  • Fun fact: Cru was the youngest player to skate, train and play at his club. Cru's countless hours of training have allowed him to master many trick shots. You may have also seen Cru on the NHL network, Press Sports, Whistle, or Bardown performing one of his many trick shots. 

READ MORE: For the Love of Sport: Cru Martinson

Riley Thames
Profile: Riley Thames
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Team: Cinnaminson Pirates Basketball
  • Word of Advice: "Work hard. It doesn't just take a few days to be great. You have to put in the time and the work and the dedication."
  • Fun fact: What began as a way for Riley's dad to document his 2nd grader's progress in her sport has inspired young athletes to practice hard work and dedication.

READ MORE: Basketball Trailblazer: Riley Thames

Madison Faith
Profile: Madison Faith
  • Sport: Soccer
  • Team: D'Feeters Kicks Soccer Club
  • Word of Advice: "A good leader keeps their head up, and they also try to keep their teammates' heads up."
  • Fun fact: Despite all of the incredible skills soccer has taught her, the most valuable to her is the ability to make new friends.

READ MORE: Teaching the World New Tricks: Madison Faith

Lehua Siaki
Profile: Lehua Siaki
  • Sport: Softball
  • Team: Washington Ladyhawks
  • Word of Advice: "Focus on school first. You do not want to lose your love for sport, and it's always stressful to focus on practice when you have a test the next day."
  • Fun fact: This fastpitch softball player is not only the loudest on the field, cheering on her teammates, but also off the field helping fellow students with math. 

READ MORE: Finding Balance: Lehua Siaki

Mason Asis
Profile: Mason Asis
  • Sport: Hockey
  • Team: Ice Dogs
  • Word of Advice: "Always give your teammates fist bumps, especially if they're scoring and someone is just coming up from a lower level. I try to encourage them and help them adjust as much as I can."
  • Fun fact: Mason learned to skate only a year ago. Now in his second year, Mason has become a role model to first-year Pee Wees and others who want to try hockey for the first time by working as a volunteer coach for the Little Dogs and Rookie Dogs teams. 

READ MORE: Leading the Next Generation: Mason Asis

MaKena Rodgers
Profile: MaKena Rodgers
  • Sport: Softball
  • Team: Washington Firecrackers
  • Word of Advice: "Strike a balance between school and softball. Make sure you get your homework done, so you have time with your family."
  • Fun fact: MaKena suffered a traumatic brain injury falling out of a bunkbed on a family vacation at the age of 10. After missing half the school year from her injury, Makena's parents were told by doctors that she would never be the same. Two years later, MaKena, or as her softball team refers to her as 'Mighty Mouse,' is now an accomplished athlete. 

READ MORE: Overcoming Adversity: MaKena Rodgers

Now accepting nominations for 2023!

Do you know an athlete doing outstanding work for their community on or off the field? Nominate them for TrueSport & SportsEngine's athlete of the month. Explore our AOTM headquarters to learn more.

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Ice Hockey

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Sportsmanship Parent SportsEngine