By Thomas Sellers Jr.
West 10 Media is proud to announce the winner of the 2021 Male Athlete of the Year is Bartlett’s Robert Giaimo.
Now a part of the Lindenwood Lions in St. Charles, Mo., Giaimo is continuing his football career on the NCAA level. The Class of 2021 graduate from Bartlett High School was a force in football and track leading to his selection as Athlete of the Year for the publications of The Bartlett Express, The Collierville Herald-Independent, The Germantown News & Shelby Sun Times and The Millington Star.
Giaimo was the driving force at his running back position for the Panther’s historic run to the Class 6A State Semifinals. The magical run came to an end against Brentwood.
Prior to that 24-14 defeat, Bartlett won 10 games in a row including a pair of playoff victories. After a First Round bye, the Panthers outlasted the Houston Mustangs 35-27 in the Second Round.
Then a Quarterfinals clash came on the Bartlett Football Field against the rival Collierville Dragons. Giaimo sparked his team early with a touchdown leading to a 35-7 win.
“This journey has been amazing,” Giaimo said after the Collierville game.
Giaimo was limited in the second half of that game but was there cheering on his teammates including DJ Jones taking a load of the carries.
“It’s mostly mental,” Giaimo o said. “I can fight through the pain. It’s mostly mental work. That whole first series, first half, it was mental. My body was telling me I can’t go, I told my body I can push through it.
“You’ve got to be ready, that’s how the game goes,” he added. “You’ve got to be ready. It was us working together and being brothers.”
The Panthers’ brotherhood was strengthened during the 2020 season by making school history, winning the Power 10 championship and overcoming adversity from a global pandemic.
“It’s a blessing,” Giaimo said. “It’s really a blessing. We’ve worked really hard from the beginning of the season up to now to reach this point. We didn’t know what was coming or going to happen with COVID and stuff, but we’re here.”
Giaimo announced his commitment to Lindenwood University in January. Giaimo and the Panthers’ run to the State Semifinals grabbed a few college’s attention. Also Giaimo rushing for nearly 1,500 yards and 27 touchdowns didn’t hurt.
With his college future secure, Giaimo could have taken the rest of the school year off and not participate in track. But the senior worked along with his teammates to reach Rockvale in May as part of the 2021 TSSAA State Track & Field Championships Div. 1 Large Schools.
The Panther relay team with Giaimo took fourth in the 4x100m relay with a time of 42.63 2 5.
West 10 Media Male Athlete of the Year Past Winners
2015: Jonathan Bowlan (Bartlett)
2018: Tate Kolwyck (Arlington)
2019: Ethan Payne (Germantown)
2020: Omari Thomas (Briarcrest)