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

Track and Field Gear Guide

Track and Field Gear Guide

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.

Jump To: Sprint Spikes, Mid-Distance & Distance Spikes, Throwing Shoes, Jumping Shoes

Woman sprinting in tank top with trees in the background.

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.

5 Keys to Success from Noah Lyles

5 Keys to Success from Noah Lyles

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.

Noah Lyles In The Blocks - Edited

“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.

Noah Lyles Sprinting

“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.

Noah Lyles Dancing

“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.

Noah Lyles Casual Running

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.

Best Track and Field Shoes: A 2019 Guide

Best Track and Field Shoes: A 2019 Guide

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.

Sprint

Nike Zoom Rival S 9

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.

Mid Distance

New Balance MD800 V6

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.

Distance

Saucony Endorphin 2

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

adidas adizero TJ/PV

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.

High Jump

adidas adizero HJ

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.

Long Jump

Nike Zoom LJ 4

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.

Throwing

Saucony Unleash SD 2

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

Nike Zoom Javelin Elite 2

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.

Racing Flats

New Balance 1400 V6

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.

Tips From An Expert: How To Prep For New Balance Nationals Outdoor

Tips From An Expert: How To Prep For New Balance Nationals Outdoor

This weekend, the best high school track and field athletes from around the nation will gather at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina to compete for the title of All American. Big meets like New Balance Nationals Outdoor mean big expectations, and to come out on top, athletes need to be prepared both mentally and physically. So, we asked former pro sprinter Keith Ricks how he kept his cool when big wins and PRs were on the line.

 

Eastbay: Did you have any superstitions or rituals for competition day?

Keith: When I was in high school, I would watch guys in the Olympics do their pre-race shakeouts right before they get into the blocks. I noticed that Tyson Gay raised both arms right before he gets down in the blocks, and I thought it looked cool. So I started doing it before my races when I was just starting to run track in school. It became a habit, and I continued to do this throughout my career. Fast forward six years later and I was racing beside Tyson Gay at the USA Outdoor Nationals doing the same pre-race shake out as he was ‑ that was an awesome race for me!

 

Eastbay: What’s one piece of advice you have for the athletes preparing for New Balance Nationals?

Keith: By the time you reach New Balance Outdoor Nationals, all of the hard work has been done! You’ve trained hard all year and hopefully got the results you were looking for during the season. Championships are a time to show out! Show all of the hard work you put in all year and punish the competition. Prove you are fast enough to not only compete but win against the very best!

 

Eastbay: When you’re competing at an elite level, how important are mental preparation and focus?

Keith: Mental preparation is essential. I would mentally prepare for every race the same way to stay consistent. I would visualize myself winning and running the best race of my life. I would do this for every meet from ones as important as New Balance Outdoor Nationals to the small district meet in high school on a Wednesday.

 

Eastbay: What are some physical recovery tips athletes should remember for after a meet?

Keith: After the meet, it’s important to cool down and recover effectively. Most runners hate ice baths but they are a life saver! It feels like it takes years (even though it’s really only 15 minutes) to adapt to the freezing cold ice, but your body will thank you later! A protein-rich, post-race dinner can also be beneficial. My favorite meal to eat after a race was grilled fish or chicken with rice and vegetables on the side.

 

Eastbay: What’s the most important thing you learned/your biggest takeaway from your competitive career?