Michael Chatman, 13
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Michael is a two-way star. On his Pop Warner football team, the Detroit Hurricanes, he stands out as both a tight end and a defensive lineman. “On offense I want to play like Tony Gonzalez, and on defense I want to play like Justin Tuck,” he says. But it’s not just on the field that he shines. Michael is also a National Junior Honor Society member who takes precollege math and engineering classes at Wayne State University. Though his favorite subject is math, the multitalented 13-year-old proved that he also has writing skills when he published a novel, Michael the Great, and helped his friend publish her novel on bullying. And because of his desire to help those who are less fortunate, Michael volunteers with his mother to feed the homeless during the holidays.
[Read about the 2012 SportsKid of the Year winners Conner and Cayden Long]
Jaylin Fleming, 13
Hometown: Steger, Illinois
Growing up in Chicago and going to the same school that his idol Derrick Rose attended, Jaylin shares the Bulls superstar’s passion for both basketball and the Windy City. In 2010, Jaylin was named the top sixth-grade basketball player in the U.S. Videos of the point guard’s amazing ball-handling skills have been viewed millions of times on YouTube, and he even appeared on the talk show Lopez Tonight, where he wowed NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller. Jaylin has led his school, Beasley Academic Center, to three straight Chicago City championships — and in one of those seasons he played as a sixth-grader on the seventh- and eighth-grade squad. Off the court, Jaylin volunteers through his church to work with troubled youth around Chicago, putting on basketball camps and giving motivational speeches. “I just really want to help Chicago kids by inspiring them to do something great,” he says.
Mallory Pugh, 14
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Mallory is competitive no matter what playing field she’s on — even if it’s her living room. “I play FIFA Soccer on the Wii with my dad,” she says. “We have fun, but I’m always determined to win.” That focus is one of the reasons why Mallory, a forward for the Real Colorado club team, is Top Drawer Soccer’s top national player for the class of 2016. Last season Mallory scored 11 goals and had seven assists in 11 Elite Clubs National League games. An honors student and a volunteer at a Denver center for abused children, she is also a member of the U.S. under-15 girls’ national team. She draws inspiration from her sister Bri, who is a forward at the University of Oregon. “She’s helped me so much,” Mallory says. “Whether it’s soccer skills, homework, or just coming to my games, she’s always been there for me.”
Jaiden Woodbey, 12
Hometown: Fontana, California
Sport: Track and Field
Before each track and field meet, Jaiden envisions his goal. “I always picture where I want to be when I cross the finish line,” he says. “And that’s in first place.” His vision became a reality this year when he shattered the national midget boys’ pentathlon record three times. At the 2012 outdoor championships, he finished first in the 80-meter hurdles, the 200 meters, and the shot put. Jaiden, who made principal’s honor roll for three straight years and assists special-education students at his school as a buddy ambassador, also uses his speed on the gridiron as a quarterback for his local club team. A fan of Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt and New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Jaiden has his sights on even bigger goals. “I want to win Olympic gold in the 400 hurdles and a Super Bowl,” he says. “I have big dreams and will work hard to accomplish them.”