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

The 90th Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award: Meet Your Finalists

The 90th Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award: Meet Your Finalists

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.


Grant Holloway

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.


Megan Taylor

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.


Dana Rettke

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).


Abbey Weitzeil

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.


Trevor Lawrence

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.


Kyla Ross

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.


Spencer Lee

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.


Markus Howard

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.


Evita Griskenas

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.


Sabrina Ionescu

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.


Don’t forget to vote for who you’d like to win! You can vote once per day until March 30, and the winner will be announced on April 21, 2020.

This Year’s Top Wrestling Gear: Shoes, Singlets, and More!

This Year’s Top Wrestling Gear: Shoes, Singlets, and More!

There’s a moment in every wrestling match when you know you’re going to win. When your opponent loses focus for one second, makes one misstep, and suddenly, there’s your opening. You go in for the takedown. You hold for the pin. And the ref raises your arm: victorious!

But how do you get there? How do you become faster, stronger, and smarter than the competition? It takes hard work, passion for the sport, and top wrestling gear. So, check out our top picks for this year’s best wrestling gear and get ready to dominate this season.

Top Wrestling Shoes

As with any sport, shoes are one of the most important pieces of gear so make sure you take your time finding the shoe that’s right for you. (If you’re not sure how they should fit, check out this blog post.) Scroll through our top three picks below to read more on the Nike Hypersweep, the adidas Adizero Varner 2, and the ASICS® JB Elite IV.

How Should My Shoes Fit? (And Other FAQ)

How Should My Shoes Fit? (And Other FAQ)

The fit of a pair of shoes is just as important as the quality because not only can it affect your performance during competition, but it can also affect your comfort and chance of injury.

But because different shoes serve different purposes not all shoes are going to fit the same. For example, football cleats should not fit you the same as running shoes would. Why? Because one is designed to provide ultimate traction and protection using durable materials, while the other uses lightweight materials and a sleek design to gain optimal speed. They’re different tools made to assist you with different jobs.

So, to help you find the right fit for your shoes, we’ve created this guide. For each sport, you’ll find three areas to check the fit and feel, and at the end there’s a section of frequently asked questions. So go ahead, give it a read and then head on over to eastbay.com to buy some shoes.

Toe Area:
Allow .25″ to .5″ (thumbnail’s length) of space between end of longest toe on largest foot and the end of the shoe.

Width Area:
Foot is supposed to fit comfortably without stretching the upper over the midsole of the shoe.

Heel Area:
Heel can move but is not supposed to slip.

Shop Basketball Shoes Shop Running Shoes
Shop Training Shoes Shop Volleyball Shoes
Shop Cheer Shoes

Toe Area:
Glove-like fit (allow room for toes to move comfortably) while standing up straight.

Width Area:
Foot should fit comfortably without stretching the upper over the midsole of the shoe.

Heel Area:
Because of the heel counter in the rear of the shoe, it should feel less padded and more firm, so you’ll want a snug fit.

Shop XC Shoes Shop Soccer Cleats
Shop Wrestling Shoes Shop Track & Field Shoes

Toe Area:
Allow room for toes to move comfortably while standing up straight.

Width Area:
Foot should fit comfortably without stretching the upper over the midsole of the shoe.

Heel Area:
Because of the heel counter in the rear of the shoe, it should feel less padded and more firm, so you’ll want a snug fit.

Shop Baseball Cleats Shop Football Cleats
Shop Softball Cleats Shop Lacrosse Cleats

F.A.Q.

· What are training shoes?

Training shoes are the perfect all-in-one pair that can be used for a variety of athletic activities. When you compare them to running shoes, you’ll notice two main differences. First, you’ll notice that training shoes have less of a heel drop to provide increased stability. Second, training shoes feature more traction to assist with lateral movements while running shoes only focus on forward movements. Because of their versatility, training shoes are one of your best options for gym shoes. You can run, jump, lift, and climb in a single pair of shoes.

· Why is buying running shoes so complicated?

Because feet are complicated! Not only do people have different sized feet, but did you know that they also have different shaped feet? That’s why the first step to choosing the right running shoes is to figure out what type of feet you have. If you’ve bought running shoes in store before, an employee may have done a test on your feet to figure out your arch type. If you don’t know your arch type, you can do a quick test right from home – check out the how-to instructions in this blog post.

Once you know your foot and arch type then you can find the right shoes to complement.

Runners with a medium arch have normal pronation and should look for neutral running shoes or stability running shoes if you want a little extra support.

Runners with a low arch tend to overpronate (roll inward during stride). If you only slightly overpronate you can look for stability running shoes, but if you severely overpronate, you’ll want to find motion control running shoes (like the Brooks Beast or Brooks Addiction).

Runners with a high arch are more likely to supinate (roll outward during stride). So you’ll want to find some neutral running shoes with lots of cushion.

· What’s with the different soles on wrestling shoes?

Besides looking for a snug fit and sturdy ankle support, when shopping for wrestling shoes you’ll want to make sure they have the right sole to fit your needs. There are two options: Split Sole or Full Sole. Split Sole wrestling shoes are usually lighter in weight and more flexible, made for fast attack play. Full Sole wrestling shoes are designed for grappling moves and are built for aggressive traction on the mat and increased durability.

· There’s more than one type of soccer cleat?

Of course! The uppers of soccer cleats can differ considerably from the material they’re made with (mesh, leather, knit) to the way they lace up (or don’t in some laceless models) to the way they fit on your ankle (low cut or mid cut). The choice on the upper is more of a personal preference depending on what you find most comfortable. The other way soccer cleats differ from one another is the type of cleat/spike on the bottom when you flip the shoes over and choosing the right one should be based on the surface you’ll be playing on.

  1. Molded TPU cleats are available for a variety of surfaces. Firm ground cleats work best on firm natural surfaces. Hard ground cleats work best on hard surfaces, both natural and artificial. Artificial grass cleats work best on most artificial grass surfaces, and soft ground cleats work best on soft or wet natural surfaces.
  2. Molded rubber cleats are heavier but safer, especially for youth who are just learning how to play.
  3. Turf shoes feature small rubber studs on the outsole to improve traction on both natural and artificial surfaces. Many players use turf shoes for training and practice.
  4. Indoor shoes generally feature flat, non-marking rubber outsoles for indoor or dry artificial surfaces.
· There are so many types of baseball and softball cleats . . . any tips?

When it comes to baseball and softball cleats, they can pretty much be sorted into four different categories similar to soccer.

  1. Metal cleats have bladed studs that are usually wide and thin with rounded edges. The studs are pointed at different directions on the outsole to deliver multidirectional traction specific to baseball movements.
  2. Molded rubber cleats have wide studs with deep grooves. These are the safest choice when it comes to baseball footwear, which is why most youth leagues and certain adult organizations require players to wear them.
  3. Molded TPU cleats feature hard plastic studs in various configurations. TPU weighs less than rubber and offers the “feel” of metal-cleats without the danger.
  4. Turf shoes, also called trainers, have rubber bottoms with shallow patterns or little nubs. These are most popular during indoor training season and are ideal for batting practice and fielding drills.
· What type of football cleats should I buy?

When it comes to deciding on football cleats, there are two important things to consider: the type of field you’ll be playing on and the position you’ll play.

Just like in other cleated sports, there are different types of cleats depending on the surface you play on.

  1. Molded TPU and rubber cleats work best on natural grass surfaces that are neither soggy nor bone dry as well as “sport grass” synthetic turf surfaces.
  2. Detachable cleats work best on wet or dry natural grass surfaces.
  3. Turf shoes work best on very hard/dry natural surfaces and “Astroturf” synthetic surfaces.

The other important factor in deciding which cleats to buy is the position you play and the skill you want to showcase — speed, power or agility.

  1. Speed cleats are key for players in running positions. These cleats sit low on the ankle and provide speed and flexibility so that you can juke your opponent right off the snap to get open.
  2. Power cleats are best for those on the line looking to push and shove and stand their ground. These cleats will often sit higher on the ankle to provide both protection and stability.
  3. Agility cleats are for the playmakers, from QBs to receivers to tight ends, these cleats offer lightweight support for explosive moments.

For more details on the best football gear for speed, power, and agility, check out this blog post.

· With all these different cleats, how do I tell the difference?

Whether you’re new to your sport or shopping for someone else, here’s two tricks to remember:
– Soccer and football cleats never have metal studs.
– Football cleats and baseball cleats generally have an extra stud at the very front edge while soccer cleats don’t.

· What if I order shoes in the mail, and they don’t fit correctly?

Well that sucks, but you’re not out of luck! Did you know that Eastbay offers a Test Run Program? So you can make sure your cleats or spikes perform to your satisfaction and that they feel as good as they look online. If you’re not satisfied, you can return them within 30 days and be refunded with an e-Gift card to use on a new pair. For more information on Eastbay’s return policy click here.

· Where are all the women’s sizes?

Good eye, shopper! Unfortunately, not all sports and brands offer every shoe model in both men’s and women’s sizes. For example, if you’re a female athlete looking to play football, you won’t find any “women’s football cleats” on our website, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. All you have to do is take your normal shoe size and subtract 1.5. Voila! The remaining difference is going to be your men’s shoe size. This is a general rule of thumb for other shoes too, so if you find a cool looking colorway that’s men’s specific, just do the math, buy your size, and rock the heck out of your fresh footwear!


Did you find an answer to your question? If not, drop your question in the comments below, and we’ll help you out!