Game Recognize Game: Timber Creek’s Savannah Henderson is our June Winner

Game Recognize Game: Timber Creek’s Savannah Henderson is our June 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 standout Savannah Henderson from Florida’s Timber Creek High School.

Already committed to UCF, Savannah works hard to maintain a high GPA while balancing community service hours and dedication to her craft. Savannah was nominated by head coach Freddie Cintron, who recognizes her commitment to success on the court and in the classroom.

 

“Savannah has redefined what it means to be a student athlete here at Timber Creek. In the classroom she has worked diligently to earn a 4.2 GPA while also leading our Girls Basketball program to 3 straight District Championships, 1 Regional Championship, and a Final Four appearance in the state of Florida Class 7A. She has become the leading scorer in program history in addition to numerous other accolades. She is driven for success and her work ethic is unmatched.”

Here’s what Savannah had to say about her love for the game and her plans for the future:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

My definition of a successful student athlete is someone who can succeed at a high level not only in their sport but in the classroom as well! 

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

The highlight of my athletic career so far has been being ranked one of the top 40 players in the country in the ESPN Top 100 in the class of 2022! And committing to play Division One basketball at The University of Central Florida for my mom! 

Who is your role model in athletics?

My role models in athletics are Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant! Kobe Bryant because of his unbelievable work ethic and passion for the game of basketball, and Kevin Durant because of his ability to score at will on all areas on the floor with ease. 

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing is that I am able to use it as an escape! When playing, I am able to use all the built up emotion that I have and focus it towards something. So, when I play, I am able to let out all of those emotions and play the sport I love! Not only that but I love the competitive nature that comes with the sport. I love to compete and I love to win! 

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

After high school I would like to get my college degree along with working towards my goal of playing overseas! Even though I love the game, the ball eventually stops bouncing, so I am using medicine as my back up plan with plans of going to med school and becoming an anesthesiologist! 

 

 

 

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

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @officialeastbay and @eastbaywomen

Game Recognize Game: Erie High School’s Izzy Hageman is our May Winner

Game Recognize Game: Erie High School’s Izzy Hageman is our May 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 multi-sport athlete and true powerhouse Izzy Hageman from Erie High School in Colorado.

Izzy was nominated by Nora Roth, her Head Cheer Coach for the past four years at Erie High School. Coach Roth described Izzy as an incredibly well rounded athlete, hard worker, and someone who always holds her team accountable.

 

“She is dearly loved by her community, team members, and friends, and is an inspiration for all young female athletes that you can do it all. You can be on the cheer team and lift heavy weights! You can cheer on the football team on Friday nights and win your own state championship on the weekends.”

 

We caught up with Izzy and asked her about what it takes to compete in multiple sports at a varsity level, how she feels about dominating in a male-dominated sport, and what her goals are as she heads off to college. Here’s what she had to say:

any,What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

My definition of a successful student-athlete is someone who’s well rounded and knows how to balance their time with school, sports, social life, family, anything like that. You’re always a student before you’re an athlete, so knowing that school comes first and having good time management are what make a really successful athlete.

Your athletic career has involved a really unique combination of sports. Can you run us through that and explain how those sports work well together?

Throughout high school I’ve done cheer all four years on varsity. Same with track, all four years on varsity. My freshman year, I was on varsity for wrestling, and I was the first female at my school to wrestle. That was crazy! I also did swimming/dive my sophomore year, and then I’ve been weightlifting outside of school since I was 11.

With cheer, the basics of that and the positions you’re in helped me with weightlifting. Then weightlifting made me strengthen those positions, which has helped me with the gymnastics and coordination you need to flip your body around or hold someone in the air in the strongest way. And that’s my strength in cheer – stunting and tumbling – finding ways to use my strength with good form and technique. Knowing what strength to use and when, that’s all come from weightlifting, because you have to know what you’re using and how to strengthen those areas.

Have you faced any unique struggles or resistance due to competing in what’s traditionally considered a male sport?

Yes! Like I said, I started weightlifting when I was 11, so throughout middle school I would be winning state championships, qualifying for nationals, going for records, super exciting stuff. And I didn’t want to post about that or tell anyone except my family, because they were the only ones who understood. You know, you don’t want to tell middle school boys who are half your size that you do weightlifting and can lift over 100lbs. It doesn’t fit that girly physique that you think is popular. So throughout middle school I kept it very low key, and then around eighth grade I started posting more about it on social media.

Although I become more comfortable in my skin and felt more pride in the sport of weightlifting, it didn’t make it any easier when becoming the first female wrestler at my school. There’s a lot of accountability when it comes to wrestling and it was tough to get used to being in a combative sport as a girl. But my teammates and coaches were all so supportive, and any weirdness I felt was mostly my own insecurities and outside opinions getting the best of me. I learned so much about myself mentally and physically from that experience. And things have changed. Our school and state now have girls’ wrestling.

“You have to take that in, and you have to just be proud of what you do. If you’re good at something, you wanna be able to show it off. That’s what makes it fun – that competition side of having people recognize all the hard work you’ve put in. Being scared to show that is nonsense.”

 

That’s one of my most important life lessons, and it’s what I wrote my college essays on. Both weightlifting and wrestling are male-dominated sports and just not something you’d think a girl would do. I wouldn’t take back any of it at all.

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

There are a lot for each sport, but I would say these are my top two:

Winning State for cheer three times in a row in Colorado. We won my sophomore, junior, and senior year and that’s an experience you never forget. It’s something your whole school knows and it’s a big deal. Just being part of that team is awesome. Winning a team sport is always very, very rewarding to me.

My second one I think is the biggest one. My freshman year, I was the Youth National Champion for weightlifting. Everyone has to qualify for this meet, so I qualify and after three years of getting second every single time, I come back and gt first! That was so exciting and it opened a lot of new doors. But that’s when we had to make that decision of do you want to go further with this and possibly continue to Pan American competitions, Olympic competitions – all that stuff – but there are no promises? That’s stuff you have to work for. That’s homeschooling, that’s practicing two to three times a day. You have to figure that stuff out and decide what your goals are. For me, having that high school experience, having friends, and doing sports, and continuing to cheer – really being that multisport athlete that I love being – that was the pull for me.

Who is your role model in athletics?

Mattie Rogers is a weightlifter who just qualified for the Olympics. She’s amazing, and definitely someone I looked up to in the weightlifting world because she cheered when she was younger as well. She’s a beast – she’s awesome to watch and I still follow her career to this day. I would say she’s my biggest role model, but I’m making my own path. There are a ton of people to look up to – anyone who’s just motivated and wants to work hard, I’m drawn to them and I’m like, “Okay, be my friend. Let’s do this together!”

“No one has the same story as you. You have to be your own role model sometimes.”

What do you love most about competing?

I’m someone who works best under pressure. I love having an audience and displaying what I work so hard to do. The competition side of things is the peak, where you just worked so hard for six months and this is the deciding factor into how that went. It’s so rewarding, and I love having that adrenaline rush. That’s the best way to get it – when you’re working hard and it’s important to you. Competing is my favorite thing to do. It’s why I love sports. It makes all the rough practices worth it.

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

Two weeks ago, I actually made the Clemson Cheer Team, so in a month I’m going to Clemson to start classes and practices. I always knew I wanted to cheer. I’ve been doing it since I was seven – so for almost 11 years – and it’s just never gotten old for me. I love going to practices, it’s always fun to see my team, and every year just adds another reason to love what I’m doing.

It’s been very competitive this year, so it was a process. There were some insane girls there, and they were all amazing. I think my strength and my attitude are what got me on the team. This has been my goal since I started, and honestly it feels really rewarding. It’s still so new and I’m still living the high from that and I can’t wait to start.

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

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @officialeastbay and @eastbaywomen

Why I Run with Pro HOKA Runner Dani Shanahan

Why I Run with Pro HOKA Runner Dani Shanahan

There was never much of a question of whether Dani Shanahan would get into running. Both of her parents were runners in high school, so when Dani began her freshman year it was assumed she would become a cross-country runner too. “It was just always something I knew I was going to do, without putting a ton of thought into it.” She’s come a long way from that first practice freshman year. Now after a successful college career at Loyola Marymount University Dani is a professional runner with HOKA who is looking to head to Tokyo this summer.

Once Dani began running cross-country back in high school she quickly fell in love with the sport. “It was a really great way to connect with the people around me and develop some great relationships with my teammates at the time.” It didn’t hurt that Dani was also really good, something she found slightly addicting. Today, Dani is still running, but now it’s because she wants to see how far she can take this – how good can she be? As a professional runner on the HOKA team, she has what’s possibly the most important summer of her running career ahead of her.

It’s already been a big couple of months for Dani. Recently she ran a personal best in the 10,000 meters despite suffering a fall early in the race. Dani entered the race in a great place mentally. She was confident that if she executed the way she knew how to that she would come out of it with a personal best time. That she was able to overcome the fall (which certainly wasn’t in her plans) and still finish with a PR only boosted her confidence that much more. “I now have the confidence to trust myself and my ability to run the race the way I want to run it.” It shouldn’t be a surprise that that race is Dani’s favorite memory of competitive running so far.

One of the things that sets Dani apart not just from other runners, but other athletes, is her understanding of the role mental health plays in her performance. Dani was a psychology major in college which she credits for helping her be more comfortable discussing certain aspects of mental health. She knows that if she is going to be the best version of herself when she steps on the line, she needs to take just as much care of her mental health as her physical health. Currently, Dani and the other runners on her team work with a sports psychologist at minimum once a week to make sure they are in a good place mentally.

As Dani heads into the summer brimming with confidence, there’s one event that is at the forefront of her mind, the trials for Japan. A year ago, there was no guarantee Dani would make the team bound for Tokyo. “If you had asked me a year ago about making the team my answer probably would have been ‘Oh maybe, but probably not.’” Now her mindset has flipped. She has already run a qualifying time and there is a real shot she can make the team. Her training now focuses on running a Championship style race. “If it’s fast from the gun, we want to be ready. If it’s a sit and kick type of race, we want to be ready. We just want to have as many tools in the arsenal as we can.”

Part of the reason Dani has been able to achieve so much over the past few years has been her decision to sign with HOKA. She knew that she wanted to be on a team, in a team environment, that helped her get better every day and to her HOKA backed that up. The inclusivity of HOKA was also a major plus for Dani who is Mexican-American. “Seeing people who look like me being included in the marketing, that is empowering.”

You can find all the HOKA shoes Dani trusts when you visit Eastbay today. We have a wide selection of sizes and colorways so you can find the perfect pair for your next run. You can check out the HOKA Northern Arizona Elite team based out of Flagstaff, Arizona which Dani is a part of by checking out their website: https://www.nazelite.com/ and make sure to follow Dani on Instagram @danishani

How Women Can Find Football Cleats In Their Size

How Women Can Find Football Cleats In Their Size

As more girls and women get into playing football, they need cleats that fit them properly. The problem is that none of the major brands specifically size their cleats for women, so to find your size you need to do some math.

Typically, the way the sizing works is that you should take whatever women’s size you are and subtract 1.5 to get your size in men’s. For example, if you are a women’s size 7, then you want a cleat that is size 5.5 in men. If your foot is smaller than the lowest size in men’s then you need to find the kids’ version of the cleat. The math is the exact same and kids’ cleats have a smaller size run compared to the men’s.

Gloves are also essential for every football player. While they don’t come in women’s sizes, generally many girls and women are most comfortable in a men’s S or a kid’s XL.

You can find all the best cleats and gloves when you visit eastbay.com today.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sam 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.

Amy Bream – ConqHERing Her Doubts

Amy Bream – ConqHERing Her Doubts

ConqHER is about female athletes who are pushing boundaries every single day. These women and their stories inspire athletes and demonstrate that sports cannot be defined by gender – only heart.

 

Amy Bream knows that self-confidence isn’t built in a day. Born without a majority of her right leg, Amy was self-conscious of working out in public because she thought that others would be judgmental of her prosthesis. But, with a little encouragement from friends and trainers, Amy adapted her full workout and quickly found a community in her gym. Now, she’s become stronger than ever as a seasoned kickboxer and wants to share her story with the world. She connects with the people who don’t think they belong in a gym, and wants to let them know that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, everyone has the right to work out without judgement. Amy shared with us how she overcame her fears of going to the gym and found acceptance and encouragement within the fitness community.

 

Q: Initially, what was your biggest fear when going to the gym?

A: I was afraid of what I would look like and what other people would think of me. For some reason, I had it in my mind that adapting to workout was not normal. And once I actually starting going, I realized that no one was even paying attention, and the few people that did notice were really encouraging to me. I found that there’s nothing wrong with adapting a workout. Just put in the work the way you need to do it and you’re still going to get so much out of working out.

Q: How did you conquer that fear of the gym?

A: Simply by just showing up. I had a friend that came with me to hold me accountable, so that was a big help too. It really didn’t happen overnight either. It was a small, gradual change and really came by just showing up consistently. I also started taking video of myself and when I would get frustrated or discouraged, I would go back and watch myself on day one and realize how far I had come.

Q: What was the motivating factor when you started working out?

A: When I first starting going to the gym, I just felt like I was there to work out for health. Then, when I found kickboxing, it was a very different experience. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was impossible for me to do it, and when I found out all it took was time and commitment from me, it opened up this entire world. It wasn’t about just getting a physical result anymore, it was about seeing what boundaries I could push that I used to say no to.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you face while working out?

A: Obviously there’s the physical challenge of having a prosthesis. Mine goes all the way up to the hip, so it requires more energy. I have to adapt certain exercises and make sure that I’m not overusing my muscles and putting unnecessary strain on them for long-term health purposes. I also think one of my biggest challenges in my personal journey is finding people to train and workout with who aren’t afraid to push me. Having those people around to push me and give me that competitive vibe has been a game-changer for me.

Q: What does conqHER mean to you?

A: The entire meaning behind conqHER is so powerful. It’s incredibly important to lift up other women and to be encouraging. There’s room for everyone in the gym, and one of my favorite parts of training is not only seeing changes in myself, but seeing changes in the women around me. It’s such a strong community.

Q: What advice to you have for younger girls who look up to you?

A: My biggest piece of advice would be to just show up. Show up, ask questions, talk to people, and just keep coming back. I just kept showing up every day and learning, and it really made me realize how encouraging and uplifting the fitness community can be.