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Southlake Style

Madison Lilley Awarded Athlete of the Year Honors

Nov 12, 2014 02:29PM ● By Kevin

Recreation Coordinator Amy Bennett (left) presents Madison Lilley (right) with the 2014 Female Athlete of the Year Award. Photo courtesy of the city of Southlake.

The City of Southlake Parks and Recreation Department announced its 2014 Female Athlete of the Year in September. Madison Lilley, 13, was given the prestigious award by recreation coordinator Amy Bennett.

Madison is an eighth grader at St. Vincent's School in Bedford and has been swimming since she was 7 years old. Upon receiving the award she was very happy, she said, but she has continued to realize the importance of this honor in the weeks that followed.

Summer Games of Texas Medals from left to right: 100 Free (Bronze), 50 Back (Silver), 50 Butterfly (Silver), 100 IM (Silver). Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lilley

"I had never dreamed I would actually win any sort of award like this," Madison said. "It is an honor to have been accepted this award. It just tells me that all of my aspirations, goals, and my drive to get better have all paid off."

According to Bennett, the Athlete of the Year award is given in conjunction with the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (T.A.A.F.) and the award was established in 1996 to honor outstanding athletes for their participation in T.A.A.F. T.A.A.F. is a nonprofit organization established in 1925 to promote, organize and conduct amateur athletics in the state of Texas.

Each city can select up to two (male and female) athletes as its submission for the regional and state Athlete of the Year Award.

"We work closely with our coaches and encourage them to nominate athletes who they feel best represent the City of Southlake with their achievements both athletically and academically," Bennett said. 

Each local Athlete of the Year award recipient receives a plaque from T.A.A.F.

This year was a busy year for Madison. She was awarded Top 11-12 Female Swimmer, Most Dedicated Swimmer, and Swimmer of the Year (Southlake Swim Team). In 2012, she also received honors as Top 9-10 Female Swimmer.

Her medals include: 10 Region (4) Gold Medals, 3 State Games of Texas Gold Medals, 2 Regional Silver Medals, 3 State Games of Texas Silver Medals, 1 Regional Bronze Medal, 3 State Games of Texas Bronze Medals, 32 first place ribbons, 15 second place ribbons, four third place ribbons, and participated in the State Games of America in Hershey in the summer 2013.

Madison (right) with her cousin, Casey, a senior at Texas A&M, cheering her on at the Summer Games of Texas. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lilley

"Something I always tell myself is that you can only go up from here, all that work and dedication will work out," she said. "In the end, you should be proud of yourself, no matter what the odds or what is going on inside your mind before race, because every swimmer is talented and as long as you do your best, all of that work will pay off, I promise."

Madison went on to say she wouldn't be where she is today without the support of her coaches, teammates and family.

"I honestly cannot thank all of them enough, my teammates always cheer me on, my family is always ready to be there for me if I need anything, and my coaches are just extremely supportive," Madison said. "It most definably helps when you know that all of them will have your back, and I think that is a special bond I share with all of them."

Outside of the pool, she is an A student and very involved at school. Madison has won Eagle awards in sixth grade math, seventh grade pre-algebra, sixth grade Spanish, a fifth grade Religion Award, a seventh grade film award, and seventh grade media award. She has been involved in yearbook for three years, including one year as the editor. She's also involved in bible club, student council (representative, secretary, vice president), National Junior Honor Society, and won the Outstanding School Spirit Award from the head of the school. Her favorite subjects are physics and English.

Her parents, Stephanie and Craig, are obviously proud.

Madison with parents Stephanie and Craig. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lilley

"We are humbled by this award, but Madison made the commitment to swimming last summer," Stephanie said. "She gave up going to summer camp, basketball camp and vacation. She didn’t miss one practice or swim meet.

"She said she was going to try for all four medals at the regional meet in Keller and she wanted at least one individual medal at the Summer State Games of Texas in College Station. She ended up winning four gold medals at the regional meet and medals in all her events at the State Summer Games in College Station - three silver [and] one bronze. It was a great night."

Stephanie attributed Lynne Anderson, program director of Stingrays Swim ( , and Allison Bardowell, who has been Madison's swim coach for the past three years, as positive role models in her swimming career.

Madison has enjoyed swimming with the T.A.A.F. program, which allows her to still participate in her other sports: soccer, volleyball, track and basketball. She now prepares to compete in the Winter Games in 2015.

"I’ve been attending swim practice and working on my stroke," she said. "I'm just taking it step by step and not really giving deep thought to it."

Madison with swim coach Allison Bardowell. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lilley

 As for the future, Madison has applied to Nolan Catholic High School for the 2015-16 school year, where she would enter at a freshman. She said she hopes to enjoy the sport of swimming for many years to come.

"I would consider myself the planner girl," she said. "I love to have everything laid out in front of me so I know what’s next. I set goals for myself and then I push myself to achieve these goals. My aspirations are to compete to my best ability and to strive for bigger goals that are definitely something that really matters to me."

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lilley.

More Information About Athlete of the Year Award

According to Bennett, the selection deadline for the local Athlete of the Year is Aug. 15, which roughly corresponds with the end of the swim and track season and the conclusion of the T.A.A.F. Summer Games of Texas. A city submits its local nomination to its T.A.A.F. region and a regional awards committee selects a Region Athlete of the Year who is then submitted to the state office, which will select an Athlete of the Year for the state.

The community can be involved by continuing to support and participate in City of Southlake athletic programs. The city offers youth basketball, flag football, volleyball and swimming that all compete in T.A.A.F.

"If your son/daughter already participants in a City of Southlake sport and you feel they may be a strong candidate for the award we encourage you to work with your coach to contact a city representative regarding the nomination form and process," Bennett said.