Vote on GMSD’s August Athlete of the Month for High School and Middle School

GMSD is excited to announce the August nominations for Athlete of the Month, presented by Alisha Dumas with State Farm. These nominations are based on athletic work ethic, attitude, and sportsmanship, but these student athletes are just that - students first, athletes second.  They must have good academic standing, maintain a good attendance record, and have a positive outlook towards their education and their community. Receiving a nomination is an honor in itself!

Each month the community will get to vote on which athlete they would like to see become the GMSD Athlete of the Month. There is a High School category and a Middle School category. Voting for these categories will be kept separate, so each month there will be an Athlete of the Month from the High School and the Middle School. The winners will be announced towards the end of each month. 

Here are the August High School nominees: 

Isabelle Bittner - Junior, Cheer

As a part of HMS and HHS Cheer, Isabelle is a two time National Champion and a World Champion. In the past two years, she has also been recognized with the Heart of Mustang award. She cheers with Memphis Pride as well as Houston, and she is devoted to both teams. She is known to always give her all and bring a positive attitude to all that she does. She also loves getting to work with the Houston Sparkle cheer team!

Sophie Christopher - Senior, Golf

With over 15 different awards, championships, and recognitions, Sophie has definitely left her mark on Houston. Sophie has played for Houston High's golf team for all 3 years that she's been a Mustang, and as she starts her Senior year, she has been helping to inspire and motivate her team members with the hope that they can bring home a state team championship trophy for Houston High. Sophie has also served on Houston High's SGA's Executive Council, helping with a wide variety of school events. She is known for her ability to remain calm and steady amidst challenging conditions, and she always hopes to inspire those around her. She has just verbally committed to play for the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. 

T.J. Edwards- Senior, Football

T.J. is captain of the varsity football team, and he has been playing football for 5 years. He is known to be a positive thinker and encourages his teammates. His attitude is a driving force, and he continues to work hard. He has become well-rounded and versatile through his experiences, especially being the son of a football coach. He continuously adapts well to change and uplifts those around him. 

Jose Joiner - Senior, Football

As an MVP, All-Star Team, and captain of the football team, Jose Joiner is also a great teammate. He keeps everyone motivated and helps the team with their drive to always do better. He is always hard at work on his athletic abilities, as well as his work in the classroom. He is a driven motivator with a kind heart, and he is always there to help. 

Zach Olsen - Senior, Golf

Zach has received multiple recognitions already with the start of this season. The Commercial Appeal most recently named him as one of the athletes to watch for the 2023 Boys Varsity Golf season. He is incredibly dedicated to his sport, and he worked hard to improve his stats in the offseason. Zach is ranked in the top 30 in the state, but he is also known for his hard work in the classroom. He is a friend to everyone, and he is always there to help. 

Emersyn Sells - Junior, Cheer

Emersyn is headed into her third year on varsity cheer, and she is a three time National Champion, a two time World Champion, four time Regional Champion, and a three time State Champion. In 2022, she was also an American Cup Champion. In her freshman year, she was named Rookie of the Year, followed by Above and Beyond during her sophomore year. She is always quick to help others, and she is devoted to working hard to help her team succeed. She brings her best to her athletic performance, and in the classroom as well, as a straight A student. 


Here are the August Middle School nominees: 

George Church- Houston Middle School, 8th Grade, Cross Country

George is known for being a team player. He has multiple success stories for his time in Cross Country, including being the team MVP last year, winning a state award as a part of last year’s team, and finishing in the top 10 in the state. He is dedicated to improving his own times and overall skills, but he works hard to drive his teammates to do the same. He is always working on his communication skills to ensure that he and his teammates continue to work together and build strong relationships. 

Ellie Coulter - Riverdale, 8th Grade, Volleyball

Ellie is also known by the nickname “Weezie”, and she has played and been the captain for the Raider volleyball team since the 6th grade. Her love for the game is only matched by the love and positive energy she shares with her teammates, both in school and in club volleyball. She consistently receives all tournament team recognitions, and at Riverdale, she has achieved over 1,000 kills, and counting. Her grit and determination was felt and reciprocated by her teammates-leading them to one of the most impressive victories in our programs’ history.


Kaylee Faught - Riverdale, 7th Grade, Cheer

Kaylee was the only 6th grader on the Riverdale cheer team last year, and she served proudly in this position! She would lead the 6th grade class in cheer to win the spirit stick. Moving into 7th grade, she continues to be a strong leader and is determined to do a great job in all aspects of being a leader at Riverdale.

Nora Grace Hickey - Houston Middle School, 8th Grade, Cross Country

Nora Grace has been running since the 3rd grade. She is a part of the HMS Cross Country team as well as Track & Field. Last year, she was the MVP for Cross Country, but for Nora Grace, it is about more than the individual recognition. She wants to see all of her teammates succeed, so she works hard to be uplifting to them all. She is driven and disciplined in working towards her goals, and she works to encourage others as well. 

Clara Leister - Houston Middle School, 8th Grade, Volleyball

Clara is a part of the HMS volleyball and basketball programs, and she is co-captain for volleyball. This summer she competed in the AAU National Volleyball Championship with her Memphis Juniors club team. Clara balances teamwork, athletic ability, and academics. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, and she brings a positive attitude in the classroom and on the court. She is always leading the cheers when her teammates make a great play, and she truly understands what it is to be a part of a team. 

Mary Cook Percoski - Houston Middle School, 8th Grade, Cheer

Mary Cook was a part of the winning HMS Cheer team that last year brought home the National Championship and the World Championship, as well as the coveted Nations Cup. She was one of only two 7th graders on the team. She continuously is working to achieve her goals, and once she has reached them, she sets her sights on a new skill. She has incredible team spirit and dedication to her sport and her teammates. 

Congratulations to all of the nominees! Click here to cast your vote for August Athlete of the Month. Voting is set to close on Wednesday, August 30, at 12:00pm.