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.
Finalist voting for the 90th annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award is open!
Each year, since 1930, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) gives out this award to the nation’s top amateur athlete. Named after its founder, James E. Sullivan, this award recognizes players who not only entertain us but inspire and motivate us.
Scroll down to learn more about each of this year’s finalists, click here to cast your vote, and stay tuned to find out who will win this prestigious award.
Track and Field, University of Florida
Holloway became the fifth Gator in history to be named SEC Male Athlete of the Year and the first Gator to sweep the USTFCCCA National Indoor and Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year awards. He also became the first man in history to sweep the NCAA Championship titles for 60 hurdles and 110 hurdles three years in a row. Holloway was the third leg for Florida’s NCAA title-winning and collegiate record-breaking 4×100 relay at NCAA Outdoors (37.97 seconds), and he anchored Florida’s 4×400 relay to a silver medal to set a school record time of 2:59.60 (split 43.75 seconds). Holloway scored 27.5 points at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the second-highest total in meet history; 28 points at SEC Indoor Championships, breaking the meet record of 22.5; and 14 points at SEC Outdoor Championships. He’s a 4x USTFCCCA Outdoor All-American, 4x USTFCCCA Indoor All-American, SEC Indoor Runner of the Year and USTFCCCA South Region Indoor and Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year.
Women’s Lacrosse, University of Maryland
Winning her second national championship this past year, Taylor became the first goalie ever to win the prestigious Tewaaraton Award. In addition, Taylor was named the IWLCA National Player of the Year, the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, the University of Maryland Student-Athlete of the Year, the Big Ten Goalie of the Year for the fourth time in four years, and she won the Honda Award for Lacrosse. Taylor started 88 of 91 games over her four-year career, putting together an 84-4 record. She ended her Maryland career with a .512 save percentage and 740 saves, the second highest of any Maryland goalie. The senior won two National Championships, seven Conference Championships and never lost a game at home.
Women’s Volleyball, University of Wisconsin
Dana is the youngest member of the 2019 U.S. National Team that won the Volleyball Nations League. She’s been named three-time first-team All-American, 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year, 2019 AVCA Northeast Regional Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-Big Ten, and two-time Academic All-Big Ten. She aided the Badgers to three NCAA tournament appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2019. She holds the UW career record in hitting percentage and ranks among the top Badger players in kills, kills per set, total blocks, blocks per set, points, and points per set. She played in 110 sets and led the team with 3.75 kills per set. She had a season high 22 kills vs. Marquette (September 5) and had a tied season high five digs vs. Penn State (October 2).
Women’s Swimming, University of California Berkeley
Last year, Weitzeil broke the American record in the 50-yard free twice, won four national titles at the 2019 NCAA Championships, and earned 2019 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year honors. Not only did she win all three of her individual races at the Pac-12 Championship meet, but she also helped her Cal team win multiple relays. As a result, she was named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet. At the NCAA Championships, she earned a national title in the 50 free and anchored three relays to national championships while helping the 200 medley relay to a runner-up finish. During the final race of the 200 medley relay on the third night of the meet, Weitzel hit the wall hard hyper-extending her elbow. The next day, with her arm heavily taped, she anchored the 400 free relay to a national title breaking the NCAA record in the event.
Football, Clemson University
Lawrence entered 2020 having completed 527 of his 804 career passes for 6,945 yards with 66 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 1,610 snaps in 30 career games (26 starts). His rushing numbers are just as impressive with 967 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns on 163 career carries. As a freshman in 2018, Lawrence started the final 11 games helping Clemson to go 15-0 and win 10 of those games by 20 points or more. Lawrence became the first true freshman quarterback to lead his team to a national title since 1985. Lawrence was a consensus freshman All-American honoree who earned a bevy of national and conference honors for both his athletic and academic success. Lawrence recorded a 25-game winning streak in his first 25 games as a starter, tied for the sixth-longest winning streak by a starting quarterback at any point of a career.
Gymnastics, University of California Los Angeles
Ross has had a historic career at UCLA. She has scored two perfect 10s on uneven bars and one on vault and leads UCLA with 34 individual titles out of a possible 45. Ross has totaled four NCAA individual championships and one team championship. She holds the NCAA career record for perfect 10s on uneven bars with 11 and counting. Ross is the first female gymnast in history to win NCAA, World and Olympic gold. She’s a two-time defending Pac-12 all-around champion and has a total of six Pac-12 individual titles. Ross currently ranks first in the nation on uneven bars, second on balance beam, third in the all-around, fourth on floor exercise, and 11th on vault. The 19-time All-American is a standout off the floor as well, receiving Pac-12 All-Academic honors twice in her career while studying Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology.
Men’s Wrestling, University of Iowa
Two-time NCAA Wrestling Champion, Lee, claimed the 2019 US Senior National Championship, qualifying for the US Olympic Trials. Lee outscored his opponents 55-7 in five matches at the NCAA Championships. He posted a 23-3 overall record, including a perfect 7-0 mark in Big Ten duals. For the 2018-19 season, he recorded a team-high seven technical falls and eight pins, ranking second on the team. He became an Academic All-Big Ten and was named the Mike Howard Most Valuable Wrestler. Lee was also named to the NWCA Academic All-American Team and is a two-time letter winner.
Men’s Basketball, Marquette University
Howard is a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, one of only two student-athletes in the nation. He was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year, is Marquette’s all-time leading scorer, and is the top scorer in BIG EAST history (1,587 points). Howard was a unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team honoree in 2019-20. He was the only person in 2018-2019 to finish in the top-10 in the nation in scoring and free throw percentage, and he’s already in possession of multiple Marquette single-game, season, and career records.
Rhythmic Gymnastics, USA Rhythmic Gymnastics
Griskenas is a full-time honors/AP student and dedicated athlete. She’s been named the National Junior Champion (June 2015), National ball (July 2018) and ribbon Senior National Champion (July 2019), and three-time all-around second-place Senior National Champion. Griskenas has had much international success as well. In September, she secured a spot in the top 8 in the world at the World Championships in Baku. She was the most decorated athlete of the August 2019 Pan American Games, and in October 2017, she swept all five gold medals at the Pan American Championships.
Women’s Basketball, University of Oregon
Ionescu is the first player in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds, and 1,000 career assists. She’s the NCAA all-time triple-double leader with 26 as of February 25, 2020. She’s a Pac-12 all-time leader in assists. She was awarded the 2018-19 Wooden Award and Wade Trophy winner as the national player of the year. Ionescu helped the Ducks to their first ever Final Four playing 1,369 minutes, the most in the NCAA. She graduated from the University of Oregon in just three years with a degree in general social science and is now pursuing her Master’s degree in Advertising and Brand Responsibility.
Track and field stars, it’s time to start gearing up for the upcoming outdoor season. Eastbay has what you need to succeed, so out with the old and in with the new. This gear guide was created to help you figure out which qualities to look for in competition shoes, based on your event, and provide you with our top recommendations.
If you’re not sure how your spikes should fit, check out this blog post, to learn how to shop track and field shoes.
When choosing a sprint spike, you should focus on two things : light weight and aggressive traction. You’re used to speeding through and relying on instinct when you’re on the track, but when it comes to deciding on sprint spikes, make sure to take your time. Look for a snug fit on the upper and a strategic spike plate to keep your feet stable in the blocks and help you grip the track with every stride.
Noah Lyles grabbed the attention of sports media when he took first in the men’s 100-meter at the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships. But Lyles isn’t letting the new spotlight distract him from his upcoming season or the big events of summer 2020. No matter the race at hand, Lyles’ goal remains the same: “Win everything.”
This competitive spirit is in his blood, having been raised in a running family with parents and a brother who all have track experience. But it takes more than just a competitive streak to be successful in professional sports, and Noah Lyles’ track record is a clear indicator that he knows what it takes to be the best. So, here’s his advice for finding success on and off the track.
1. It takes two types of training: mental and physical.
“A lot of people think it’s the hard training [that makes you a better athlete], but it’s not just hard training. It’s also being smart with the training, and that all comes from your mind,” Lyles said. “My mom has always said this sport is 90% mental, 10% physical.”
The biggest competition on the track isn’t always an actual person. Sometimes it’s the voice in your head questioning your ability to shave a couple tenths off your next meet; sometimes it’s the crippling fear that you’re not as good as you think. But through training you learn to shut up that voice and become the best you can be.
2. It’s crucial to create a strategy.
“The night before, I talk to my sport psychologist about our plan for the race,” Lyles said.
Then on the day of the race, as Lyles prepares to get in the blocks, he repeats his plan in his mind. He focuses on the track before him and pictures himself passing up his competitors one by one until all that’s left in his sights is the finish line.
Envisioning the win is a key to success.
3. Don’t try to be anybody but yourself.
“I’m not here to be the next whoever,” Lyles said. “I’m here to be me. And I’m hoping that when people see that, they’ll try to be the best them that they can be.”
It’s easy to see that Lyles is true to himself from the themed socks he’ll wear on race days to his victory dances after he crosses the finish line. Comparison is the thief of joy – maybe that’s why Noah Lyles is always smiling.
4. Find a creative outlet.
“In high school, track and field was all my life was built around,” Lyles said. “During off season I would kind of go crazy. So, I decided I would start incorporating my hobbies heavily into my life. Because if I don’t have something to work on outside of track, I start to think that all I am is a runner, and that’s not how it is.”
Noah Lyles loves his career as a professional sprinter and dedicates tons of time to perfecting his skills. But he also understands the importance of embracing his hobbies like creating music, designing sneakers and filming YouTube videos. Drive and determination are necessary tools for success, but finding balance is equally important.
5. Don’t live in the past.
When asked what piece of advice he would give to a younger him, without hesitation Noah Lyles said, “You did everything right.”
It’s a simple answer that holds an important lesson. The wins and losses make you who you are today. It does no good to worry about how the last meet went or hate yourself for not setting a new record. Instead you must decide to train, race, and give 100% every time.
These five keys set Noah Lyles apart from other athletes and put him in a league of his own. But even the most talented workman has his favorite tools, and for Lyles it’s adidas through and through. Check out a full selection of adidas track and field gear at eastbay.com and start owning your success today.
Track and field stars, it’s that time of year again to find out what shoes you need for the upcoming season. Eastbay has what you need to succeed, so out with the old and in with the new. This Gear Guide was created to let you know which qualities to look for in competition shoes, based on your event.
On the track you’re used to going fast and relying on instinct, but make sure to take your time deciding on a sprint spike. You’re going to want a shoe that increases your power and delivers explosive traction to enhance your speed. Look for a snug fit and strategic spike plate to prevent slipping and help grip the track with every stride.
The Nike Zoom Rival S 9 can help you finish faster. The traction pattern on the outsole and updated spike plate give you ultimate grip as you fly out of the blocks, and the ¾ length bootie keeps your foot secure during your run.
Finding the right mid distance spike can be a little tricky. You want the speed of a sprinter with the endurance of a distance runner, and that takes a special type of shoe. You’ll want to find something that melds the rigidness of a sprint spike and the comfort of a distance spike.
A pair of New Balance md800 V6 is a great choice. They’re lightweight, offer a full-length spike plate to enhance speed, and have a bootie fit for added comfort.
It’s time to invest in a shoe to change your racing game. Since you’ll be running many consecutive miles, you’ll want a spike to give comfort and support while remaining lightweight so that even if your legs feel like lead weights your shoes don’t.
A good example is the Saucony Endorphin 2. It’s the lightest spike Saucony makes and features foam in the midsole for added cushioning, so that you can run confident and comfortable.
Pole Vaulting and Triple Jump
To run and jump with ease you need a hybrid shoe, something to give you the best of both worlds. Look for a shoe that fits securely on your foot, offers grip to gain speed on your approach, and features comfortable padding to protect your foot from impact when you land.
The adidas adiZero TJ/PV is the right shoe for the job and is created with a sharkskin pattern on the outsole to increase traction, a forefoot strap to keep your foot secure, and cushion in the midsole for comfort where it counts.
If I say, “Jump.” And you ask, “How high?” I’d ask what shoes you’re wearing, because footwear does matter. The perfect pair of high jump shoes will be lightweight and flexible to aid with speed during the approach, and they’ll also provide traction to give stability during takeoff.
Choose the adidas adiZero HJ. It’s lightweight with flexible midsole cushioning and a Sharkskin traction pattern on the sole.
As you sprint down the stretch, hit the board full force, and take off through the air, what’s going through your mind? Hopefully you’re not worrying about your shoes — but if you are, that’s a sure sign you need a new pair. When purchasing long jump shoes, look for a light weight to assist with speed. You’ll also want the sole to have traction to grip the board before take-off. Lastly, ensure there’s cushion to protect your feet when you land.
I’d recommend checking out the Nike Zoom LJ 4. It has durable cushioning, a 3/4-length spike plate to give powerful traction, and a zippered shroud to keep the shoe securely on your foot.
Whether you wield a hammer or a discus or a shot, you’ll want a shoe that can give you an extra boost of power and has good grip to keep you planted during follow-through.
The durable Saucony Unleash SD 2 is a good choice. It has a rubber outsole for grip, a lockdown strap for support, and a padded tongue and collar for comfort.
Javelin throwing is hardcore, but just because your weaponry is medieval doesn’t mean your footwear should be. There’s a reason you don’t wear sandals to competition. The best shoes will have a secure fit and strategic spikes spread through the sole. This will give you extra grip and control during your throw and release.
What you need is something like the Nike Zoom Javelin Elite 2. It has 11 spikes, feels light with responsive midsole cushioning, and gives extra support with a midfoot strap.
Whether you’re running road races or just doing a high impact training session, it’s a good idea to have a solid pair of racing flats. They can be used for practice, so you don’t wear out your new spikes so quickly. You’ll want to find a pair that is comfortable for long hours of training, but light enough not to affect your performance.
A pair like the New Balance 1400 V6 will suit you well. This versatile shoe is made with specially engineered mesh and foam cushioning for a lightweight feel.
Did you know that Eastbay also sells clothing, replacement spikes, and training equipment? You can find it all at eastbay.com. Good luck this season and have fun breaking records.