Game Recognize Game: Forest Hills High School’s Brady Christ is our October Winner

Game Recognize Game: Forest Hills High School’s Brady Christ is our October 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 senior Brady Christ from Forest Hills High School in Pennsylvania.

An all-around athlete, Brady is a two-year letterman who also competes in powerlifting and track & field while remaining active in his school community. He’s a member of the ski and media clubs, holds down a 3.4 GPA, and is a four-year PA Bronze Academic Award winner.

For Brady, football is more than a game. It’s all about the family, friendships, and character building that come with working hard to reach your goals. Here’s what Brady had to say about being a role model for younger athletes, the joy of competing, and his future aspirations:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

My definition would be a student who balances being a successful athlete while also succeeding in the classroom and makes a healthy impact in their school community.

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far, and what makes that moment stand out for you?

My highlight has been my defensive playing this year. I have two interceptions and there are still games to play.

Who is your role model in athletics?

My role model is Jalen Ramsey.

How important is it to you to be a role model for younger athletes?

It’s very important. When I was younger, I was raised up by older athletes who guided me down the right paths. I wish to continue that tradition and be a positive influence.

What do you love most about competing?

I love expressing all the hard work and effort I’ve put in. Getting to show that I’ve worked harder and I’ve become a better athlete is easily the best part.

What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school, and what are you most looking forward to?

I’d love to be able to coach a team or be an athletic trainer for a team. Later on, raise a family and so forth.

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: Richland High School’s Griffin LaRue is our September Winner

Game Recognize Game: Richland High School’s Griffin LaRue is our September 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 All State wide receiver Griffin LaRue from Richland High School in Johnstown, PA.

For Griffin, football is more than a game – it’s everything to him. And he backs that up with hard work and dedication. Now in his last year at Richland High, Griffin is getting ready to take his game to the next level, and he can’t wait to see what happens next. Here’s what he told us about being the thrill of competing, being a role model, and what he hopes for the future:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

My definition of a successful student-athlete is a student who can excel in the classroom day in and day out, and still achieve all their goals and dreams on field.

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far, and what makes that moment stand out for you?

I would say the highlight of my athletic career so far is definitely my first offer.  That moment gave me indescribable happiness!

Who is your role model in athletics?

My role model would definitely have to be LaRod Stephens-Howling.  Growing up and playing football in the same town in the same city as I am currently and still making it to the league and winning a Super Bowl is beyond crazy and inspiring to me.

How important is it to you to be a role model for younger athletes?

It’s extremely important to me, especially with me having two younger siblings that look up to everything I do and take after me.  Growing up with two older brothers, I always looked up to them and followed in their footsteps, and I want to guide my younger siblings and young student-athletes in the correct direction.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing is the intensity.  When I line up across from someone, I think in my head “It’s my family vs. their’s” and I’ll choose mine any day of the year.

What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school, and what are you most looking forward to?

My biggest out-of-this-world goal is to someday have a gold jacket on, but that’s me shooting for the stars. But I truly just want to be different and make a name for myself and to prove everyone that doubted me wrong.  One thing I’m extremely excited for and looking forward to is just going to college in general.  I feel like college will be a whole new world for me, and especially with football on top of it I feel I will learn so much.

 

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

Game Recognize Game: Foundation Academy’s Danny Stutsman is our April Winner

Game Recognize Game: Foundation Academy’s Danny Stutsman is our April 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 standout linebacker Danny Stutsman from Foundation Academy in central Florida.

A threat on both sides of the ball, Danny knows that to win games, you have to be just as dedicated off the field as you are on Friday nights. In his senior season, Danny worked alongside his team and led Foundation Academy to its first Regional Championship and State Semi Final.

Through eight games that season, Danny tallied:

On Offense

  • 64 carries for 548 yards
  • 10 rushing TDs
  • 25 catches for 542 yards
  • 21 yards per catch
  • 7 receiving touchdowns

On Defense

  • 52 solo tackles
  • 11 tackles for loss
  • 5 sacks
  • 2 forced fumbles
  • 2 interception returns for touchdowns
  • 4 pass deflections
  • 1 blocked punt

And that was just the regular season. In the playoffs, Danny racked up 164 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Regional Semi Final, 151 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 11 tackles, and 1 sack in the Regional Finals, and 9 tackles and 1 receiving touchdown in the State Semi Final against Victory Christian.

It’s a high school career full of performances like these that helped Danny make First Team All State in 2018 and 2019 and 2A Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. His proven football IQ and 3.8 GPA garnered Danny over 25 Division 1 scholarship offers before he committed to University of Oklahoma.

Danny was nominated for Game Recognize Game by Brad Lord, his head football coach at Foundation Academy and someone who’s seen first hand what an asset Danny is on the field.

Here’s what Danny had to say about competition, leadership, and playing college ball:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

Utilizing lessons that I have learned in the classroom to transcend onto the athletic field. Also being able to balance the responsibilities a full-time student has while also managing the schedule of full-time athlete.

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

While my acceptance into the University of Oklahoma and earning an athletic scholarship has been a memorable moment in my career, I would also add being able to lead my high school team, Foundation Academy, to a regional championship for the first time in the school’s history has been meaningful in so many ways.

Who is your role model in athletics?

I’d say one of my idols in athletics itself is Michael Jordan. Although he’s a basketball player, his tenacity to always be the best player on the court and off has motivated me tremendously, and his constant desire to always compete no matter the circumstances has always made me push my game to the next level. Also, most importantly, Jordan’s ability to lead a team and motivate the players around him is something I try to take out of his game.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing is the constant drive to be the best. Competing is so much more than just in-between the whistles on the football field. It is also during your off time competing against yourself and seeing how hard you can push yourself every day to be the best possible player and person.

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

Some goals that I would like to achieve after high school would be to make an impact at Oklahoma as soon as I arrive, as well as seize the opportunity I am given by pursuing my college education.

 

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