Women ConqHERing Sports History

Women ConqHERing Sports History

March is Women’s History Month. It is a time to look back and celebrate all the contributions women have made to American history, culture, and society. At Eastbay, our ConqHER campaign continuously highlights women who are breaking barriers in sports. This March we will be sharing some of the stories of women who made history on and off the field in 2020.

Chiney Ogwumike

Chiney Ogwumike is not only a dominant force on the court but off it as well. A decorated high school and college career led her to be the #1 overall pick in the 2014 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. After multiple All-Star appearances while on the Sun she was traded to the LA Sparks and reunited with her sister Nneka. It was recently announced she and the Sparks had agreed to a multi-year deal keeping her in LA for the foreseeable future. In 2018, she signed a multi-year deal with ESPN, making her one of the youngest people to become a full-time basketball analyst. This year she made history as the first Black woman to host a national radio show for ESPN.

Sam Mewis

Sam Mewis’s footballing resume continues to get more impressive. The USWNT midfielder has been a staple in midfield for the Americans and was a part of the team that won the 2018 World Cup. Currently, she is holding down the midfield for 2nd place Manchester City in the Women’s Super League. Recently, it was announced she was the 2020 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, the first time she has won the award.

Breanna Stewart

Breanna Stewart is arguably the most talented and decorated player to come out of the UConn women’s program. She is now one of the most dominant players in the WNBA, winning an MVP and multiple titles with the Seattle Storm. In 2019, Stewart suffered one of the worst injuries in sports when she ruptured her Achilles. After sitting out that entire season, she returned to help lead Seattle to another title and was named one of Sports Illustrated ‘Sportspeople of the Year’ for her activism off the court.

A’ja Wilson

At every level of the sport, A’ja Wilson has dominated. She was a champion and McDonald’s All-American in high school. In college, she led the South Carolina Gamecocks to their first championship in school history and was a three-time consensus All-American. She was recently named the 2020 WNBA MVP after helping lead the Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA Finals.

Aliphine Tuliamuk

Aliphine Tuliamuk will be representing the United States as a long-distance runner at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Tuliamuk placed first in the Olympic Marathon trials in Atlanta, Georgia with a time of 2:27:23. A former cross-country runner at Wichita State, Tuliamuk was the first person from her village in her native home of Kenya to graduate from college.

Jennifer King

Jennifer King recently became the first black woman to be hired as a full-time coach in the NFL. The former two-sport athlete at Guilford College was an intern with the Carolina Panthers, where she served as the wide receivers coach in 2018 and running backs coach in 2019 under Ron Rivera. She then followed him to Washington, where she is now the assistant running backs coach.

Sophie Luoto

Sophie Luoto has exceeded expectations in every role she’s stepped into in her professional career. She began her journey into football while still in college at UCLA when she started working for the athletic department as a student recruiting assistant. Afterward, she took a job at UC Berkley where she was quickly named the Director of Operations. During her time at Cal, several members of the LA Rams organization reached out to gauge her interest in working for an NFL team. She accepted and spent a few years working on the business side before being asked to return to the football side.  After a year and a half, she earned the Director of Operations title which made her the highest-ranking female executive in the NFL.

Chelsea Romero

Chelsea Romero has always loved the competitiveness of strength & conditioning. She enjoys inspiring and motivating people day in and day out to reach their goals. Chelsea knows that hard work can lead to incredible opportunities. While working at UC Irvine, she had a chance encounter with the LA Rams head of strength and conditioning. After offering to work for free, she became the training camp intern serving mostly as an extra set of hands at first. It wasn’t long before she was offered, and accepted, a position that made her the Rams first-ever female strength and conditioning coach.

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya continues to fight for the human rights of female athletes everywhere. The South African runner was born with a rare genetic condition that causes elevated testosterone levels. This has led many people to demand she take testosterone blockers or simply block her from running. Caster will continue to lead the fight for her right to run the way she was born.

Becky Hammon

Becky Hammon may be the most well-known female coach in the Big 4 leagues. She is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich, a role she’s held since 2014. She has made a name for herself as one of the most well-regarded assistants in the league and received buzz as a potential head coaching candidate this past offseason. This season, after Popovich was ejected during a game against the LA Lakers, Hammon assumed head coaching duties making her the first woman to coach in an NBA game.

Kim Ng

Women have steadily entered the basketball and football coaching and front office ranks for the past couple of years, but baseball has lagged a little behind. That began to change when the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their general manager, making her the first female general manager in the Big 4 sports leagues. Kim is a graduate of the University of Chicago where she played softball for four years and earned a B.A. in public policy. She was hired by the Chicago White Sox after graduation and has worked for numerous other teams like the Yankees and Dodgers. She also served as the Senior Vice President of Operations for the league office before accepting her new role with the Marlins.

Sabrina Ionescu

Sabrina Ionescu was born to get buckets. After a spectacular career at Miramonte High School where she graduated as the all-time leader in points, assists, steals, and triple-doubles, Sabrina chose to attend the University of Oregon and play for the Ducks. During her senior season in a game against #4 ranked Stanford Ionescu became the first NCAA player with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in their career. Following her career at Oregon, Sabrina was the #1 overall pick in the WNBA draft by the New York Liberty, where she plays today.

Alyssa Nakken

Alyssa Nakken made history this year by becoming the first full-time female coach in MLB history after being hired by the San Francisco Giants. Alyssa played college softball for Sacramento State, where she was a three-time all-conference selection at first base. She initially interned with the Giants working on their health and wellness programs before going back to school to get her Master’s degree. The Giants then promoted her in January 2020 to a full-time coach.

Katie Sowers

Katie Sowers has made history twice in the past 5 years. In 2017 she became the first openly LGBT coach in the NFL when she came out as a lesbian. In 2020, Katie became the first female coach to coach in the Super Bowl when the San Francisco 49ers went up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Her career began when she was an intern scout with the Atlanta Falcons before moving over to San Francisco as an offensive assistant on Kyle Shannan’s staff.

Mickey Grace

Mickey Grace knows that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind too. The former Math and leadership teacher in Philadelphia was recently chosen to be a part of the Scouting Apprenticeship Program with the Los Angeles Rams. Mickey is a former high school football player and in addition to teaching also serves as the defensive line coach for her school.

Sarah Fuller

This past college football season was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across campuses. Games were canceled, players were forced into quarantine, the whole thing was a mess. From this mess came an opportunity for Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt’s starting goalie on the women’s soccer team. Vanderbilt had an upcoming game against Missouri, but due to opt-outs and contact tracing protocols, the team had no available placekickers. Head coach Derek Mason reached out to Fuller to see if she would be interested in trying out for the team. Soon after, she became the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game. Later in the season, Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power 5 game when she went 2-2 on extra points against Tennessee.

 

Maya Moore

There is almost no parallel in the sports world for what Maya Moore has done. She is one of the best players in her sport: a four-time WNBA champion, MVP, and six-time All-Star. Yet she has willingly sacrificed two years of her prime, two years of not playing the sport she loves, to try and secure one man’s freedom from prison. This past July, Jeremy Irons, who was serving a 50-year sentence for burglary and assault, walked free after 20 years. Irons, whose conviction was suspicious given the complete lack of evidence, said of Moore, “She is light, pure light.” Moore has said she will give an update on her basketball career in the future, but whether or not she returns to the court, we should all be inspired by her courage and dedication to justice.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas has made history multiple times. She was the first female referee to work a major college football game. Then Sarah became the first woman to ref a college football bowl game. Finally, this past February, Sarah became the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. She continues to be an inspiration for all the other women out there looking to go into officiating.

Amy Trask

Amy Trask has been in and around football longer than many people have been alive. The “Princess of Darkness” as she is affectionately called by Raiders fans started out in the legal department of the Los Angeles Raiders back in 1987. She was named their CEO in 1997 making her the first female CEO in the NFL. After resigning from the team in 2013, Trask went on to serve as an analyst for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. She recently won the 2020 Top Women in Media award given by Cynopsis Media.

Samantha Gordon

Most people remember Samantha Gordon from when she was absolutely cooking boys on the football field when she was nine. The videos her father uploaded of her blowing past or juking boys twice her size immediately went viral. Now 17, she has continued to fight for all-girls football rights in her home state of Utah.

Congratulations to all the women who made sports history throughout 2020. Here’s hoping you continue to make history in 2021. If you want to see more women who are breaking barriers check out our ConqHER page to see their stories.

A big thank you to the artists who provided these images. Jennifer King was done by Destyni Swoope, Samantha Gordon by Amanda Mendez, Chiney Ogwumike by Caroline Blanchet, and Kim Ng and Sarah Fuller were created by Lari Alejandro. 

 

Trevor Baptiste and Brendan Gleason Share Their Favorite Drills to Improve Your Game

Trevor Baptiste and Brendan Gleason Share Their Favorite Drills to Improve Your Game

Trevor Baptiste and Brendan Gleason are two of the top professional lacrosse players in the world today. Trevor hails from Newark, New Jersey and after an illustrious career at the University of Denver where he was a 4x First Team All-American and National Champion he joined Atlas of the Premier Lacrosse League where he has become world renowned for his faceoff skills.

Brendan grew up in Essex, Vermont before signing with Notre Dame where he would go on to make the 2017 ACC All-Tournament Team and the 2019 All-ACC Team. He was drafted 17th overall in the 2019 PLL Entry Draft and now currently plays for Redwoods as an Attacker.

Below you can find several drills that Brendan and Trevor use to enhance their attacking and handling skills.

Video 1: GB Wall Ball.

Q: Why did you choose this drill?

A: I chose this drill because it incorporates ground balls, catching, throwing, and a little bit of ball handling all in one.

Q: How does this drill improve your game?

A: This drill improves your game because not only does it help improve your ground ball play and stick handling, but it also flows them together. So it helps players work on all of these skills in a lacrosse motion rather than just individually.

Q: Why is this drill essential to every lacrosse player?

A: This drill is essential to every lax player because picking up ground balls is crucial to all positions and the success of the team. It’s also important that you can handle the ball and move it fast after you pick it up to open up scoring opportunities and get out of pressure.



Video 2: Dodging and Shooting

Q: Why did you choose that drill?

A: For offensive players (like myself), it’s important to practice what you’re doing in games.  This drill is great because it’s an easy way to simulate situations that you will find yourself in during the course of a game and can be adjusted depending on your position (middie vs. attack) and your style of play.

Q: How does this drill improve your game?
A: It allows you to practice dodging at full speed and finishing with a shot, just as you would in a game situation.  You can do all types of variations of this drill (different parts of the field, different types of shots, left-handed, right-handed, etc.)

Q: Why is this drill essential to every lacrosse player?

A: Pretty much every offensive player is going to be asked to dodge during the course of a game.  Being able to effectively break down your defenseman, dodge to the goal, and finish on the run at full speed will not only help in creating scoring opportunities for yourself, but will also open up other options for you as a passer and allow your teammates to play off of you and put themselves in good positions to score.



Up Your Style: Best Casual Shoes at Eastbay

Up Your Style: Best Casual Shoes at Eastbay

There aren’t many feelings better than putting on a fresh new outfit in the morning. It gets the confidence going, raises the self-esteem, and makes you feel like every shot you shoot is going to hit. Picking the right pair of shoes to finish off the fit is crucial, but can be difficult sometimes. Check out our guide below to see several of the top casual shoes as well as some apparel that goes great with it.

New Balance 327

Add a pop of color to your sneaker rotation with these New Balance 327s. A soft textile upper gives you the comfort and breathability you crave. With ‘70s vibes and a reimagined classic silhouette, these shoes are ready for the streets right out of the box.

Timberland 6″ Premium Waterproof Boots

Introduce a classic to your closet with the Timberland 6” Waterproof Boots. Whether you’re hitting the streets or the trails these boots are made for people with style. Durable waterproofing will keep your feet high and dry for every hike, and rust-free hardware will resist corrosion and stay bright no matter where you are.

Nike Manoa

Nike is back in black with the Nike Manoa. A premium leather upper makes this boot ready for wherever your adventure takes you. The Phylon foam midsole and aggressive traction pattern will keep you comfortable and steady all day long.

UGG Neumel

UGG is now a must-have for every person’s closet. It’s perfect for every occasion with its classic chukka look and desert color. Lined with soft wool, it provides you a slipper-like feeling that is also adept at wicking away moisture.

Nike Air Max 90

Bring some fire to your everyday look with these Nike Air Max 90s. The timeless silhouette brings vibrant colors to your fit with purple and lime green hues. Visible Max Air sits under the heel to comfort your foot throughout the day.

Garciaparra Baseball Group Partners Up with Eastbay

Garciaparra Baseball Group Partners Up with Eastbay

Indianapolis, Indiana – Michael Garciaparra, the founder of Garciaparra Baseball Group (GBG), announced the organization has signed a one-year agreement with Eastbay to provide Nike footwear, apparel, and gear for the club.

Eastbay has been a leader in the athletic performance and lifestyle product market for over 40 years, with a vast selection of gear from all the biggest brands.

Garciaparra, who founded GBG with his father Ramon, is excited for what the partnership will bring saying, “It’s awesome that our families and our players are going to have access to so many great products. A lot of us have been fans of Eastbay since we were young kids getting the catalog. As an organization with players across the country, it’s awesome to be with a company that can get product into our players’ hands fast and efficiently.”

GBG recently won the 2020 WWBA World Championship, the largest event in travel baseball, down in Ft. Myers, Florida. Ninety-six teams from around the country, and teams from Canada and Puerto Rico, battled it out with some of the top players in the country going head to head. GBG was able to place first in their pool, winning two games and drawing one. They battled to the final, where they overcame an early deficit en route to a 9-1 win.

Garciaparra said the team showed a lot of fight despite barely practicing and playing together due to the pandemic. “We haven’t had official games and our practices have been limited. The time we did get to play together we had to go to Arizona or Nevada, and we could only do that so many times because we were trying to be COVID conscious.”

2021 will see the club participating in several huge USA Baseball events during the summer and the Perfect Game 17U World Series out in Arizona.

Eastbay representative Shay Maltese worked closely with GBG to organize the partnership. “I’m excited to be working with one of the top clubs in the US. I love interacting on the baseball side daily with them.”

Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game: St. Mary’s Academy’s Elizabeth Elliott is our January Winner

Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game: St. Mary’s Academy’s Elizabeth Elliott is our January Winner

Each month Eastbay is highlighting a top high school athlete by spotlighting their accomplishments both in and outside the game. This month’s winner is basketball player Elizabeth Elliott from St. Mary’s Academy in California. Elizabeth is a four-year team captain and starter who was named Camino Real League MVP in her freshman and sophomore seasons. She also displays an incredible work ethic in the classroom, posting a 4.33 weighted GPA, which is one of the best in her class. Elizabeth earned St. Mary’s Student-Athlete of the Year award three times and has accepted a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at the University of Pacific. Elizabeth was nominated by her basketball coach Tramon Steele for being a tremendous athlete on the court and even better student in the classroom. Here’s Elizabeth, in her own words, on her experience as a high school student-athlete.

 

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

My definition of a successful student-athlete is a person who competes on the court and in the classroom. If one can manage a hectic schedule while juggling demanding AP commitments along with being the best teammate and player they can be, then that person is definitely working towards success. I believe a successful student athlete also has a backup plan or can rely on their academics when the ball stops. Lastly, a successful student athlete knows their limits on and off the court and still manages to love the sport while merging it with school requirements.

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?

I have a few highlight moments that I will cherish forever. The biggest one is receiving a scholarship to play basketball at a Division 1 University. There are over 399,000 plus girls that play high school basketball and only 1.3% get to play at the Division 1 level. So, receiving a scholarship to play basketball is a huge highlight of its own. The other highlights in my athletic career are being recognized as a top 100 player by ESPN HoopGurlz, winning league MVP as a sophomore, and being recognized by my city as one of the best players.

Who is your role model in athletics?

I would have to say my father, Kevin Elliott, and my high school coach Tramon Steele. They’ve both been there for me throughout my high school and travel ball career. They both took the unconventional route to play college basketball, so their knowledge is real and raw. They work really well together to make sure I have everything I need to be successful. I can go to them for advice on different things and they always have my best interest in mind. They’ve really shown me that there’s more to the game than just getting buckets, like showing up for my team, making lifelong connections, and representing those who’ve come before me.

What do you love most about competing in athletics?

Being in a team atmosphere. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. From putting your jerseys on to picking the pregame music, having teammates that you can call family just makes competing ten times better. I also love playing in big games. I like to prove others wrong when we play teams that are “better” than us. It allows you to test your limits and shows your teammates that you have their back—win, lose, or draw. Breaking boundaries and expectations is one of the best parts of competing.

What are some goals you’d like to achieve after high school?

After high school I will be attending the University of Pacific on a full basketball scholarship. For a long time, my main focus has been to get to college. Now that I’ve achieved it, the work finally begins. One of my goals is to win the West Coast Conference championship and to compete for a starting position. I also have ambitions to play overseas for a while. Academically, I would like to pursue a master’s degree or even a doctorate degree in psychology.

To nominate a deserving athlete for Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game series, fill out the form here.

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