High-SchoolGirl: ESPNHS Girl Magazine

Golfer Stacy Lewis: Scoliosis can't stop me

June, 1, 2012
Stacy LewisMOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty ImagesStacy Lewis, who spent her teenage years wearing a back brace 18 hours a day to combat scoliosis, won her first LPGA title at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
This story originally appeared in the May/June issue of ESPNHS Magazine.

Stacy Lewis is a study in perseverance.

Diagnosed at 11 with scoliosis, a condition causing lateral curvature of the spine, she spent her teenage years outside Houston wearing a back brace 18 hours a day. But instead of accepting limitations, she earned a golf scholarship to the University of Arkansas, and although back surgery nearly derailed her college career before it started, she won 12 tournaments.

During her third full season as a pro, Lewis won her first LPGA title, the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, which is one of the tour’s four majors.

Because June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month, we caught up with the 27-year-old to discuss her experience and her work as a spokesperson for the Scoliosis Research Society.

ESPNHS: How did you cope with having scoliosis as a teenager?

Lewis: It was really hard. My mom and I got into a lot of fights because I didn’t want to wear my brace. As a high school kid, you’re worried about what you look like, what your clothes are like and what people think of you. I didn’t want anybody to know about my brace, and I tried to hide it as best I could. Part of the reason I’m partnering with the Scoliosis Research Society is to create awareness so kids don’t feel so bad about it.

ESPNHS: What was it like wearing a back brace 18 hours a day for 6 1/2 years?

Lewis: It’s very uncomfortable. And in Texas especially it’s very hot, so the summers are brutal. I would itch, get bruises, sweat a lot. And I had to sleep in it. I turned to golf because that was time I could get out of my brace to practice.

ESPNHS: How did you overcome the disease to become a major champion?

Lewis: I think it created a lot of determination in me. When things get tough, that’s when I get better. Having to go through all I did with my back, I learned to deal with hard situations. And I think for golf that’s perfect, because it’s such a mental game that you have to be able to overcome bad holes and bad shots.

ESPNHS: What other lessons have you learned from your journey?

Lewis: I think the biggest thing is just to never give up. When somebody tells me it can’t be done, I say, "Watch me." It’s made me who I am.

Read more about Lewis's triumphs on and off the course on her personal blog, StacysBack.com.

A new spin: Mountain biking for school

May, 23, 2012
Rachel HarrisCourtesy of Hank HarrisRachel Harris won gold in the category 3 women's 15-18 cross-country competition at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships.
This story originally appeared in the May/June issue of ESPNHS Magazine.

Pretty soon, riding your bike to school will serve more than one purpose (i.e. avoiding a seat on the cheese bus, or worse, mom's car). It could ultimately be your ticket to college, just like any other major sport.

For the past two years, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, a nonprofit organization formed in 2009 to expand the sport, has been working toward establishing mountain biking clubs in high schools in all 50 states by 2020. So far, five leagues exist – Northern California, Southern California, Colorado, Washington and Texas -- with two more slated to launch this fall in Minnesota and Utah. More than 15 additional states have submitted bids to be the next NICA Project League.

“We want to give every student in America the opportunity to improve his or her body, mind and character through cross-country mountain bike racing,” says Matt Fritzinger, executive director of the NICA. “We want people to know it's a sport just like baseball or basketball.”

In addition to receiving training and coaching, league members will race on loops of up to six miles, and will learn bike-handling skills, maintenance techniques, how to fix a flat and proper etiquette when riding alongside hikers, dogs or horses on the trails.

The sport will be open to boys and girls, grades 9-12. According to Fritzinger, 1,150 high schoolers biked in 2011 -- and the number is expected to jump to 2,000 this year.

Anything that legitimizes mountain biking as an interscholastic sport will certainly help rising stars, like Rachel Harris, 16, garner college attention. The sophomore at Monarch (Louisville, Colo.) started shredding dirt trails near her home three years ago. Last summer, she won gold in the category 3 women's 15-18 cross-country competition at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships.

Get In gear

Want to start a mountain bike team at your school? Check out the “Team Starter Kit” at nationalmtb.org. It outlines everything you need to do, including how to get local businesses to help fund the costs for jerseys, race fees, coaches’ fees (if necessary) and bikes, which can cost anywhere from $300 to $3,000.

A sporty girl's guide to prom

April, 11, 2012
Promssuaphoto/VeerYou may not be able to conceal your cast for prom, but there are ways to dress it up.

You aren’t ashamed of your war wounds when you’re on the field or the court, but come prom time, it’s a different story. Don’t let a game-clinching bruise or floor burn make you self-conscious in a strapless. Here’s how to camouflage your injuries so you look beautiful, not busted, on the special night.

“Help! My black-and-blues from practice don’t match my prom dress.”
Bruises can take up to two weeks to fade. If you have one, avoid aspirin or other blood thinners as well as vitamins, which may lengthen healing time. Before you cover it up, moisturize the area with body lotion or face cream. Then use your fingers to blend in a small amount of creamy concealer, like Physicians Formula Gentle Cover Stick ($5.49). The shade of your bruise will dictate the color of the concealer. “Yellow takes away blue bruises and green will combat bluish/red ones,” says Los Angeles-based makeup artist Phoebe Ogan. To disguise a facial booboo, sponge your regular foundation over the colored concealer, pressing it on top without wiping away the existing makeup. Follow with a flesh-colored concealer that matches your skin tone and set with a loose or pressed powder such as Almay Clear Complexion ($12.99). For a body bruise, simply use a flesh-colored concealer over the colored one and set with powder.

“The floor burn from last night’s game takes the shine off my metallic minidress.”
While skidding across the floor to rein in that loose ball earned you kudos from Coach, the friction destroyed the outermost layer of your skin, leaving an angry red mark. To speed up recovery, try slathering on some good old Vaseline Petroleum Jelly ($3.29). To hide the burn, use a breathable foundation that provides coverage while aiding the healing process, suggests Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist in Omaha, Neb. His pick: Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation ($9 for a small sample).

“My scab isn't healing fast enough. What can I do to avoid being nominated for prom scream?”
“A scab is a nonhealed area of dead or dying skin,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Keeping it moist and covered are the best things you can do. Picking at it is the worst thing you can do.” To help your body repair quicker, dab on hydrogen peroxide (found at any local drugstore). It'll let you remove the scab naturally with little or no harm. To cover it with makeup, apply a concealer that matches your skin tone, gently tapping to blend until the blemish is hidden. But keep in mind that it’s better to keep the area moist so it heals most effectively. Your best bet: A flesh-colored Band-Aid with Polysporin underneath. When you’re further along in the healing process, reduce your chance of a permanent memento with a cream such as Mederma Gel Scar Treatment ($16.49).

“What's the best way to hide bandages — or worse, a cast?”
It’s tough to conceal a cast. But you can show you’re a good sport by turning your wound into a work of art. Ogan suggests visiting a local craft store and picking up glitter markers, a glue gun and crystals, nontoxic paint markers and whatever else inspires you. Invite your teammates to help you bedazzle — and show off — your sports injury.
The Real Katniss EverdeenCourtesy of Michael Parker and Lions Gate EntertainmentTo fake what 17-year-old archer Ella Kokinda (left) does for real, actress Jennifer Lawrence (aka Katniss) underwent a grueling, six-week training camp.
Ella Kokinda may not know much yet about the irrepressible teen heroine of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling book series-turned-film “The Hunger Games” (in theaters this Friday), but she and Katniss Everdeen sure have a lot in common.

Though the 17-year-old junior from Bishop England (Charleston, S.C.) High hasn’t read the trilogy about kids who battle for their lives in an annual TV reality show, she is Katniss’ doppelganger, right down to her hair. From her low-slung, brunette braid to her skills with a bow and arrow and her participation in a TV show last summer, where she competed against the nation’s top four male and female teen archers for prizes (it aired on the Sportsman Channel), it’s no wonder Kokinda reminds her peers of the fictional archer extraordinaire.

Like Katniss, Ella has also become the accidental poster child of a cause in her community. Thankfully, it’s not a violent revolution but rather the good ol’ sport of archery, which dates back about 10,000 years. In early January, Kokinda and her coach of four years, Mike Parker, started Bishop England’s first archery team.

“In South Carolina, you can get an archery kit for free from the Department of Natural Resources,” said Kokinda, who first picked up the sport in seventh grade (when Parker brought it to her middle school) and won third place at state that year. “You just need a teacher in the school to sponsor the team and then fill out forms on the DNR website,” added the National Honor Society student, who has a 4.59 GPA.

The best part about the sport is that anyone can pick it up, regardless of age, gender or strength, Kokinda said. During a tournament, you have to shoot five arrows in each of three rounds from distances of 10 meters and then 15 meters (30 arrows total). You can earn 10 points max per shot and that’s only if you hit the bull’s-eye, a three-inch-in-diameter center ring. “That’s where I always aim,” said Kokinda, who scored 292 points out of a possible 300 at nationals last year, earning her second place in the high school female division.

This May, she’s aiming to become the national champ. Kokinda’s great form, relentless dedication to training and unshakeable focus set her apart from the rest, said Parker, who relies on her to help him with the school’s new archery team of 18 male and female athletes at the range behind the school. “Once you have the point system down and learn how to fine-tune the muscle movements in your arm, you’ve got it in the bag,” said Kokinda, who’s already targeting the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

This story originally appeared in the Spring issue of ESPNHS Girl magazine. Click here to subscribe.

No. 1 seeds have it covered

March, 16, 2012
ESPNHS Girl MagazineESPNHS IllustrationNotre Dame's Skylar Diggins, Baylor's Brittney Griner and Delaware's Elena Delle Donne are three of the 40 players in the NCAA women's tournament who have graced the cover of ESPNHS.

The Baylor women's basketball team is undefeated as it heads into the NCAA tournament this weekend, but it has been tied.

In the number of times, that is, that its players have appeared on ESPNHS covers.

Prior to tipoff of the first NCAA women's game on Saturday, we took a look back in this cover gallery to see some of the nation's top college players when they were in high school.

The Bears and fellow No. 1 seeds UConn and Stanford each have four ESPNHS magazine covers that feature current players.

Baylor's Brittney Griner, who is the only player in this year's tournament who has graced two covers, Brooklyn Pope and Odyssey Sims all enjoyed high school careers that landed them on covers.

For UConn, Tiffany Hayes, Bria Hartley, Michala Johnson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis have all been ESPNHS cover girls.

Stanford's Mikaela Ruef, Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka Ogwumike and Sarah Boothe can claim the same.

Notre Dame, the final No. 1 seed, can claim only Skylar Diggins and Devereaux Peters as cover features.

In all, 40 athletes from 21 teams are included in the gallery.

Click here to view the 68 covers that feature former high school boys' players.
Kristen KelliherCourtesy of Kristen KelliherLast September, Kristen Kelliher, a 17-year-old from Norwich, Vt., became the youngest female to summit the tallest mountain in each of the 48 contiguous United States.
Only one mountain –- albeit a very tall one -- stands between Kristen Kelliher and an amazing accomplishment.

Last September, the 17-year-old from Norwich, Vt., became the youngest female to “highpoint’’ -- or stand atop the tallest mountains in -- each of the 48 contiguous United States. Last week, she climbed into the record books again when she conquered Hawaii's Mauna Kea (13,976 feet), her 49th summit ... in spite of 15 inches of snow!

If all goes according to plan, she will conquer North America's highest peak -- Alaska's Mount McKinley -- in May, thereby reaching the apex of all 50 states.

An all-state field hockey goalie who also competed interscholastically in basketball, crew and downhill skiing, Kelliher graduated a semester early from Hanover (Hanover, N.H.). And she has been working to raise $17,000 to finance her travel to Alaska and a guided trek up the 20,320-foot Mount McKinley. "I've had several neighbors of family members want to help support me, but I'd rather do this on my own," she said.

Read and see more about Kelliher, who was honored as one of ESPNHS' 18 Under 18, and follow her quest on her blog, Climbing With Kristen.

Would you play rugby in a prom dress?

March, 5, 2012
ESPNHS Girl MagazineCourtesy of John MulgrewSaint Joseph Academy (Cleveland, Ohio) hopes to donate $1,000 to the Miles for Smiles Triathlon this spring with funds raised at its annual Prom Dress Rugby Tournament.

Quick, picture a rugby game. Betcha the last images that come to mind are dresses, makeup and pretty up-dos. But at Saint Joseph Academy’s (Cleveland, Ohio) annual Prom Dress Rugby Tournament, during which girls teams from area high schools compete while wearing -- get this -- prom dresses, style points reign supreme.

“Everyone dresses up ... the fans, the coaches, the girls. It’s hilarious,” says Saint Joseph coach Jaime Barnes-Cleary.

“I definitely hadn’t run or gotten tackled in a dress before, but it was so much fun,” says senior Sarah Reinhold.

In addition to being a blast, the tournament also supports good causes, like cancer research.

So far $1,100 has been donated to various charities the past two years. Each team (approximately 10 total) pays a $25-to-$50 entry fee. Additional fund-raising takes place at the event through raffles and food sales.

“This draws together the whole rugby community and shows off the silly side of our sport,” says Barnes-Cleary.

This May, the team hopes to donate $1,000 to the Miles for Smiles Triathlon, which benefits families and kids, like Barnes-Cleary’s son, who are born with a cleft lip and palate.

Where to Start
Getting other teams to participate is the biggest challenge, so reach out to local schools and clubs early, Sarah says. Ask friends and family for items they could donate to the raffle or sell during the event, and seek volunteers to ref the games and work the booths. Gain crowd support by putting notes in the school’s morning announcements, handing out fliers and contacting your local newspaper, she says. And last, but certainly not least, you have to find the perfect prom dress for the game. Goodwill is a great place to start. “Don’t go for anything too long (you’ll trip!). And remember: The less you like a dress, the better, because it will probably get destroyed,” Sarah says. Hand out awards to the best-dressed team and crown your own prom queen.
Jane LevyCourtesy of ABCBefore her breakout role on ABC's hit sitcom "Suburgatory," Jane Levy was a star soccer player for Sir Francis Drake (Marin County, Calif.) High and Goucher College.
Like many suburban kids, Jane Levy began playing soccer at age 5 because, well, that’s what Mom signed her up for. But the star of ABC’s new hit “Suburgatory” -- who also just landed the lead female role in the "Evil Dead" film remake -- got such a kick out of the sport that she continued to play it into college. Manning everything from defender to forward (for two minutes) to right midfielder, Jane competed for both a club team (Novato) and Sir Francis Drake (Marin County, Calif.) High, where she was named captain her senior year. She made varsity at Division III Goucher College in Baltimore, but left before her sophomore season to pursue acting in New York. Though she hasn’t set foot on a checkered ball since, the 23-year-old channels her soccer days to be a team player on the set. --Interview by Cristina Goyanes

ESPNHS: Was there a point in your life, before you started acting, that you thought you could reach the highest level of soccer?

Jane Levy: I wasn't naturally talented, but I worked so hard and committed myself 100 percent. I enjoyed the process of training, learning and hanging out with my teammates.

ESPNHS: Did you attend soccer camp?

Jane Levy soccer
Courtesy of Jane LevyLevy competed for both a club team (Novato) and Sir Francis Drake (Marin County, Calif.) High, where she was named captain her senior year.
JL: Yes, a two-week camp. I miss the smell of freshly cut grass and being up too early. It was such a fun time.

ESPNHS: Do you play anymore?

JL: I completely stopped when I left college at 18. I had a good run and learned a lot. It might sound cliché, but being a team player [helps you understand that you’re] just one piece of a huge puzzle. Its not all about you. That has helped me in everything I do.

ESPNHS: When did you first know you wanted to act?

JL: When I was little, I asked my mom to move us to Los Angeles and get me an agent. She would say, “Stop it. Go play in the dirt.” So I shoved it aside because she did. We both thought, “Well, every young girl wants to be an actress.” When I found myself still having those feelings at 17, I thought, “Maybe this is what I really want to do?” So I went for it.

ESPNHS: So you had a real high school experience?

JL: Totally. I developed a sense of self before moving to crazy Hollywood, which was really important.

ESPNHS: Did you act in high school?

JL: Yes, but I stopped after my freshman year. I started focusing on soccer instead.

ESPNHS: Most memorable moment on the field?

Courtesy of ABCIn Suburgatory, Levy plays Tessa, a too-cool-for-school teen forced by her father to leave New York City for the 'burbs.
JL: I was really proud of my yellow cards and getting ’em in when I had to. I never hurt anybody. For me, it was more important to save a goal than to make one -- maybe because I wasn’t good at scoring. But when I saved a goal, it felt so good. I had saved my team from taking a bullet!

ESPNHS: As captain, how did you motivate your team?

JL: Every week, we’d have dinner together. We didn’t just talk about sports. We’d cover everything, from boys to schoolwork to what we were doing outside of school. That really brought us together.

ESPNHS: Most embarrassing moment on the field?

JL: I scored an own goal, which is the most painful experience ever. I honestly don’t remember the details. I just know it happened. I probably blocked it out because it was traumatizing.

ESPNHS: Will Tessa, your character “Suburgatory,” ever play sports?

JL: No, she’s not interested in sports. She thinks jocks are dumb. But she’ll soon realize they’re not. It’s just bad judgment.

Jane Levy's not the only athlete-turned-celebrity. Read about how high school sports helped shape Avril Lavigne and Nina Dobrev into the stars they are today.

This story originally appeared in the Spring issue of ESPNHS Girl magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Cool School: Carmel (Ind.) rules the pool

March, 1, 2012
Cool SchoolCourtesy of Jeanne KelschThe Carmel (Ind.) girls swim team has won 26 IHSSA state championships in a row.
It’s commonly accepted that the most difficult feat in sports, professional or otherwise, is defending a championship. The mark against which the pros measure themselves is the Boston Celtics’ eight consecutive NBA titles from 1959 to 1966. Sounds difficult, right? The Carmel (Ind.) High girls’ swim team has won 26 IHSAA state championships in a row (1986 to 2012), and earned their first overall national championship last year. It’s the fourth-longest high school winning streak in the country, and the longest active one.

But just what does it take to keep the titles coming? According to the Lady Greyhounds, it’s practicing hard and supporting their teammates. “We do this thing once a week called ‘winners circle,’ where we each stand up and recognize a teammate for doing something good, like staying after practice [to do a few extra laps],” said co-captain and senior Taylor Kelsch. “That really contributes to our success and our confidence.” The girls also have a team breakfast every Friday and stick to long-standing rituals some might call superstitious. “We have to drink a certain Gatorade, we always use Wish-Bone salad dressing for our salad and we always have spaghetti. It's been going on for 26 years,” said Kelsch.

Another motivator: Not wanting the streak to end! “Knowing that there was a time when all [the Lady Greyhounds] wanted to do was win a state championship, knowing that they worked so hard to finally get it started, and now we’re keeping it going—that drives me to train harder,” Taylor said. “When I’m training harder it makes my teammates train harder.” And boy, do they train both at school and at their local club, where head coach Chris Plumb has been calling the shots from poolside since 2006. “The coaching staff deserves huge credit,” said co-captain and senior Margaret Ramsey. “They invest all their time in developing workouts and training. We practice year-round, six days a week.”

“Bottom line, the girls want to continue to live up to the tradition that’s in front of them, and they know it can be done,” said Plumb, who was recently inducted into the Indiana Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame. “When you watch people do it, you say, ‘I can do it, too.’ Success just breeds success.”

Does a hunger to win fuel eating disorders?

February, 29, 2012
Feb. 26 through March 3 mark National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The following special report appears in the spring issue of ESPNHS GIRL magazine.

It wasn’t like Sarah Sumpter had a secret. She wasn’t sneaking around eating things she shouldn’t or pretending to be in bed sleeping when she was really off exercising her brains out. Like many young, talented, determined high school athletes, Sumpter was methodical and organized in her behavior, laying her eating disorder out in public, for coaches, teammates and family members to see and react to.

For far too long, they didn’t seem to do much of either.

A high school standout in cross country and track and field, Sumpter was one of the best runners Healdsburg (Calif.) High had ever seen. She was driven and dedicated to the sport, approaching each workout with a hunger usually seen in professionals.

Sarah Sumpter
Scott Kurtz/ESPNHSA high school standout in cross country and track and field, Sarah Sumpter battled an eating disorder.
From freshman to sophomore year, she made huge gains in her performance. Her junior year brought even greater accolades, topped by being crowned the California Division IV cross country champion in the fall of her senior year, earning her a trip to the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships. The harder she worked, the faster she got. It was natural to make the connection between self-discipline and excellence. “I wanted to see how good of a runner I could be if I really committed myself,” she said.

So she did. Miles went up. Gym sessions increased. Food intake went down. “I realized that as I worked harder and lost some weight, my times were improving,” she said. “So I figured that if a little weight loss was good, a lot would be even better.” She began putting herself through a grueling training schedule, adding miles on top of the usual team workouts and monitoring every morsel that passed her lips. In short order, the numbers on the scale began to drop. By the winter of her senior year, Sumpter, 5-foot-1, had dropped from 112 to barely 92 pounds.

To her surprise, her running performance stopped improving. Rather than getting faster, she found herself dogging it through more than one workout, feeling exhausted from runs that used to leave her exhilarated. At the Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals in November 2007, Sumpter finished a disappointing 22nd. “I remember just being so happy the race was over,” she said. “I was glad not to have to run anymore.” But rather than seeing a subpar performance as a sign to back off and let her body recover from the relentless routine, Sumpter doubled down on her efforts to improve. She began running 110 miles per week, determined to do better, be faster and get fitter before the spring season started.

She was literally running herself into the ground -- and as her body began to weaken, her love of the sport slowly slipped away. “That winter, I reached an emotional breaking point,” she admited. “I was so cold and miserable out there on my runs. And I was confused how something that had given me so much joy in my life now felt like this terrible chore I was forced to do.”

She needed help.

Sumpter's downward spiral into the depths of anorexia is perhaps most disturbing for its simple logic: If a few pounds were good for performance, a lot of pounds would be amazing.

Compounding the issue, the draconian, self-imposed discipline required to lose unsafe amounts of weight is something athletes like Sumpter excel at. While the average person might call it quits when they start feeling weak or unwell, top athletes are trained to push through pain and thrive on challenging their body’s limits. Restricting food intake becomes another way to build mental toughness and show dedication to one’s sport. Before she knew it, Sarah’s competitive spirit had turned against her, and she found herself fighting to regain control of her body and mind.

It is a paradox that in this time of national obesity epidemic, a segment of the teen population is suffering from health issues at the other end of the spectrum. But anorexia and bulimia are also on the rise, affecting an estimated 10 million Americans every year and taking hold of elite athletes at twice the rate of the average female population, according to the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Though most studies of young athletes have been done on the collegiate population, a 2006 article in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that among high school student athletes in California, 20 percent of girls had at least one symptom of female athlete triad, characterized by disordered eating, missed menstrual periods and low bone mass. What’s more, one third of NCAA Division I female athletes show symptoms, putting them at risk for anorexia. While playing recreational sports appears to provide some protection by creating higher self-esteem and confidence in girls, this advantage is negated as soon as the athlete engages in competitive events, where her performance is critiqued and the pressure to win looms large.

“Studies show that as you move up in competition level, problems with eating disorders increase,” said Dr. Ron Thompson, a Bloomington, Ind.-based sports psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. “The same competitive personality traits and perfectionist tendencies that make elite athletes successful are also factors that contribute to eating disorders.”

High school girls are already in the highest risk group for developing body image issues because of social pressures, Thompson noted. Throw in the pressure of sports performance, and you have the perfect storm for diseases like anorexia. If the disorder doesn’t fully show itself at the high school level, just wait, said Thompson: “I’d estimate that 90 percent of the college athletes I see with eating disorders do not develop their problems in college. They begin much earlier, at the high school level.”

The problem is most high schools have a coach (often a volunteer) who is unlikely to have been trained in handling anorexia or bulimia. “You’re required to take CPR classes and first-aid sessions,” said Tanya Namad, a cross country coach at a private all-girls school in New York City. “But there’s no requirement to be trained in eating disorders.”

Though Namad hasn’t had to broach the topic with anyone on her team, she said if she did, she’d have no blueprint to follow. “There’s no formal training for high school coaches on it,” she acknowledged. “I’d look for the typical signs -- if the student looks really thin, or she’s always tired and avoiding social situations involving food.” One thing Namad’s school does support is teaching students about sports nutrition. “I talk with my athletes about proper hydration, and what to eat before a big game or during practice to keep them healthy,” Namad said. Indirectly, such information may help girls think of food as a tool for improved performance, not a detriment to it.

Lack of training and resources for coaches is a big reason why some girls fall through the cracks. “There is a real problem here,” Thompson said. “The athletes who are most at risk are the younger athletes. The NCAA trains coaches about what to look for -- college athletic departments have full-time physicians and nutritionists who work with teams. High school coaches lack the information on the issue and no medical backup is available for them if an eating disorder arises. These girls are vulnerable to going undiagnosed until the disorder becomes extreme.”

For most girls, when a health issue comes to light it’s off to the family doctor -- and therein lies another major hurdle. “When I went to see my doctor, it was not helpful,” Sumpter said. “He told me I should gain weight to reach 120 pounds. That’s more than I ever weighed before I even began running.” The well-meaning but very real disconnect between a pediatrician’s advice and the goals of an athlete leaves people like Sumpter without any constructive path to follow. Yes, she needed to add some pounds back on, but she wasn’t willing to give up her athletic dreams to do so. “I felt alone,” she said.

Whitney Post
Courtesy of Allison EvansWhitney Post, a former Olympic rower, developed bulimia after joining the crew team at Brown University, and struggled for nearly 15 years to get a grip on the disease.
Whitney Post launched the website Eating For Life for young athletes like Sumpter. Post, a former Olympic rower, developed bulimia after joining the crew team at Brown University and struggled for nearly 15 years to get a grip on the disease. “I wanted to create a space where students, parents and coaches could come for advice,” Post said. Though the site caters to college students, Post feels a particular need to reach out to young athletes who are suffering and is working with the Women’s Sports Foundation and offering workshops at colleges. “It is a slippery slope for female athletes,” she admitted. “Psychologists used to think that sports would protect girls from developing eating disorders, but the new thinking is that the increased focus on body and performance may actually raise the risk.”

The locker room atmosphere can also exacerbate the problem. “When a teammate is suffering from disordered eating, there’s a lot of gossiping but no one wants to say anything in public,” Post said. “It can really throw the team dynamic off.”

The issue of “competitive thinness” also rears its head in a team environment, added Thompson, referring to girls comparing their bodies to teammates’ and feeling envious of those who are thinner. “Athletes are already competitive by nature, and in a lot of sports -- like diving, swimming and gymnastics -- they’re wearing next to nothing,” he said. “If the thinnest girl wins the meet or competition, it’s easy to think, ‘I need to look like her to be the best.’”

Navigating the weight versus performance issue is tough. “Girls may see temporary gains in their performance when they lose weight, but it’s not sustainable if they aren’t taking in enough calories,” said Dr. Kate Ackerman, a sports medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital in Boston. The female athlete triad is particularly disturbing since loss of estrogen production leads to poor bone density, resulting in stress fractures. “Ninety percent of bone mass is built by age 18,” Ackerman said. “High school years are critical for building strong bones.”
Worse, without enough nutrients to support intense workouts, the body begins to consume its own muscles for fuel. Those girls who dropped weight and started running faster? In another six months, they’re nowhere to be seen, having been sidelined by a cycle of injuries and illnesses that multiply as their eating disorder deepens.

Given the dire outcome of losing too much weight, it is confusing why girls keep drinking the dieting Kool-Aid. Part of it may be a lack of information about what really drives their successes. “When one of my athletes has a good performance, and I ask her to tell me what she did that contributed to the positive results, nine times out of 10, she doesn’t know,” said Dr. Caroline Silby, a sports psychologist and author of “Games Girls Play.” “If athletes don’t know why they’ve performed well, they also don’t understand why they perform poorly, and the easiest thing to blame for poor performance is weight.”

Also not helping: images of a sport’s elite athletes looking impossibly lean. “Paula Radcliffe does not have an ounce of body fat on her,” Sumpter said, referring to the British world-record holder for the marathon. These women may have perfectly healthy eating habits, but that doesn’t stop aspiring athletes from trying to attain the same appearance by less-healthy means. “The most important thing coaches and parents can do is to emphasize fitness,” Silby said. “If we can change the conversation from how thin these athletes are to how fit they are, it will go a long way to helping girls develop a healthier attitude toward food as fuel.”

True to her disciplined approach to training, when Sumpter finally asked for help with her anorexia -- seeking out a guidance counselor and subsequently enlisting her coaches’ support to keep her on the right track -- she was determined to beat the disease and rekindle her love affair with running.

For the most part, it worked. She added enough pounds to keep her strength up and race times down, and learned to stop beating herself up every time practice didn’t go perfectly. “Once I started eating right,” she said, “I was like, ‘Look how much more energy I have!’” Now a college standout on the UC Davis cross country and track teams, she admits she is not completely free of her demons. “It’s not something you can just turn off,” she says. “I’ve just learned to combat those thoughts more successfully.”

If she could share one thing with other athletes, Sumpter says it would be this: “Your body can’t run on nothing. Eventually, you will crash and burn. If a friend or coach says something, be open to considering what they’re telling you. The sooner you get help, the easier it will be to get your life back.”
ESPNHS Girl Magazine
Jetkat/ShutterstockIf you've got 10 minutes to spare, these lunches are sure to beat the cafeteria's selections.
Pizza, chicken fingers, fries … the school cafeteria sure isn’t helping you score points for nutrition or for your team.

As an athlete, you know what you eat hugely affects you -- which is why you should consider brown-bagging it to stay healthy and fit.

Here are three easy-to-prepare lunches (they will take 10 minutes or less of your time to get them just right) that will keep you fueled throughout the afternoon.

DIY Lunch No . 1: Better-for-You Burrito
1 package Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Whole Grain Brown Rice
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained & rinsed
2 tablespoons salsa (plus extra for toppings)
1 large soft flour tortilla
1/4 cup shredded Colby Jack or Mexican blend cheese
1 /4 cup shredded lettuce
1 orange
1 small container skim milk
How to: Microwave rice according to directions; save 1/2 cup of the cooked rice for the burrito, refrigerating the rest for an after-practice snack. Combine beans and salsa; place in the tortilla along with rice, lettuce and cheese. Roll it up and wrap with foil. Pack with orange and buy milk at school.
Nutrition scoreboard: Combining rice and beans creates a complete protein source, essential for athletes needing to build and repair muscle.

DIY Lunch No . 2: Souped-up Salad
2 cups romaine lettuce
1 /4 cup each tomatoes and cucumbers, chopped
2 slices deli turkey or ham
2 generous pinches mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons low-fat salad dressing
1 container Campbell’s Ready to Serve Low Sodium Chicken Noodle
Single-serving cup 2 percent cottage cheese with pineapple
How to: Mix first five ingredients in a bowl then transfer to a container. Microwave soup on high for two minutes; place in a thermos. Pack with cottage cheese.
Nutrition scoreboard: All those toppings make for a hearty salad; cottage cheese packs a double calcium-protein punch. As for the soup, Mom was right: It is good for you! Studies show that chicken soup may have anti-inflammatory effects, which helps fight off flu and cold symptoms.

DIY Lunch No . 3: Perfect PB&J
2 slices 100 percent whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon fruit preserves (or sliced banana drizzled with honey)
1 cup baby carrots
1 Sabra Hummus Single
1 stick mozzarella string cheese
1 grapefruit
How to: Make your PB&J, then wrap it up and pack with carrots, hummus, string cheese, grapefruit and a bottle of water.
Nutrition scoreboard: The good ol’ American PB&J continues to supply long-lasting, stick-to-your-ribs energy. Hummus kicks your protein up a notch, carrots count as a serving of veggies and string cheese delivers a boost of bone-strengthening calcium.

Note:Recipes developed by Tara Gidus, RD, CSSD, team dietitian for the Orlando Magic and nutrition consultant for the University of Central Florida Athletics.

Carly Reed, Besser Dyson credit telepathy

December, 30, 2011
Dynamic DuosRyan Gibson"She'd know where I am with her eyes closed," Carly Reed (left) says of St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.) teammate Besser Dyson.
MORE DYNAMIC DUOS: Morgan Kuhrt and Kinsey Caldwell | Kaela Davis and Kristina Nelson | Cami Chapus and Amy Weissenbach | Cameron Castleberry and Caroline Lindquist | Dynamic Duos photo gallery

It all starts when St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.) junior Carly Reed cuts to the goal. Even before she does a quick change-of-direction move to get open, her teammate Besser Dyson knows what to do.

“I don’t even have to look at her; I always know where she is,” says Besser, named 2011 Second Team All-Met by The Washington Post. “I just pass to her so when she turns around, the ball’s basically in her stick. It’s like telepathy!”

“She’d know where I am with her eyes closed,” adds Carly, a 2011 First Team All-Met selection. “We’ve been playing together for so long; I always know what she’s doing.”

The two met as kindergartners when they were backdoor neighbors, and started playing lacrosse together in second grade. No matter what they did — lacrosse camp, playing soccer or basketball, or simply hanging out — they never left each other’s side. Now, in addition to playing the same position (attack), they live only about 100 yards from each other in Alexandria, roughly 10 minutes from Washington, D.C.

“I feel like she’s a sister,” Besser says.

“We’re very similar,” Carly adds. “I might be a little bit louder than she is.”

The only time they get competitive with one another is when they’re angling for space on the left side of the field.

“We both want to be on the left side in order to cut with our right hand up, so we talk a lot about who gets that side,” Carly says. “But it always works out some way.”

Their collaboration led St. Stephen’s to back-to-back Independent School League titles in 2010 and 2011; the school has won 18 in a row. Last year, the Saints went 31-2 and Carly and Besser both surpassed 100 goals (Carly had 153, breaking the school’s single-season record for goals, along with 41 assists; and Besser had 116 goals and 53 assists).

“They’re very, very good,” says Kathy Jenkins, who has been the school’s girls’ lacrosse coach since 1976. “They are gifted with speed, quickness and athletic ability — all the things you look for.”

The two plan to be roommates in New York City one day, where they want to work, but first they’ll experience an ACC rivalry after high school. Carly and Besser gave verbal commitments to different colleges (North Carolina for Carly and Virginia for Besser), but each destination was a lifelong dream school.

“It’ll be weird when I play her,” Besser says.

Carly has a different take: “It’ll be fun. I can’t wait.”
You’ve been breathing since birth. So naturally you’re a pro at it, right? Not necessarily, at least when it comes to exercise. A poor breathing technique could be the difference between setting a personal record and barely making it across the finish line.

ESPNHS Girl Magazine
Trunk Twists
“You can train aerobically until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re not breathing efficiently, your training will suffer for it,” says Gwen Lawrence, a NYC-based yoga coach for pro teams such as the Giants, Knicks and Yankees. “Better oxygen flow to the body decreases anxiety, reduces exercise-induced asthma and improves overall athletic performance,” she adds.

Get your fill of O with these three breathing exercises, which Lawrence recommends practicing before or during a game (on the sideline, of course).

Trunk Twists
Standing or sitting cross-legged on the floor, bring your arms up and out to create 90-degree angles. Your shoulders should be the same height as your elbows, and your fingers should be reaching skyward. Twist from the hips to the left and
ESPNHS Girl Magazine
Standing Forward Bend

right. Let your head move with your upper body. If you get dizzy easily, pick a point in the room and focus on it. Do this for 30 seconds to a minute, syncing your breath naturally to a comfortable rhythm. Over time, aim to work your way up to doing this exercise for two to three minutes to boost your spine rotation and open the muscles between your ribs.

Standing Forward Bend
Stand with your feet hip-width apart with knees slightly bent and in line with your big toes. Fold over at the hips. Connect your upper body to your thighs without letting your knees collapse inward. Once you feel stable, grab each elbow with the opposite hand and hang for a minute. Although it’ll be tempting to close your eyes, don’t! You’ll lose your balance. It’s OK, however, to sway back and forth or bend and straighten your knees. This move will help lengthen your hamstrings, which, in turn, will improve your posture and thus improve your breathing.

ESPNHS Girl Magazine
Extended Arm Triangle
Extended Arm Triangle
Start with your feet about four feet apart. Turn your right toes out 90 degrees. Line your right heel up with the arch of your left foot. Lift straight arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Take a deep breath and drop your shoulders. Extend your torso to the right directly over the right leg (bend from the hip, not waist). Reach your right hand to the floor (or place it on top of a soccer ball or basketball if you can’t go all the way down). Extend your left arm up in line with your right arm, then lower it to your left ear. To go deeper, turn your head to your left arm. Hold, then repeat on the other side.
Dynamic DuosJames Robinson/ESPNHS"We've only gotten to know each other in the past couple years," Caroline Lindquist (left) says of Cameron Castleberry. "But it's made those years so much better."
MORE DYNAMIC DUOS: Morgan Kuhrt and Kinsey Caldwell | Kaela Davis and Kristina Nelson | Cami Chapus and Amy Weissenbach | Dynamic Duos photo gallery

When Cameron Castleberry returned from a week of training with the Under-17 National Team last April, she knew she was in trouble.

She had five days’ worth of schoolwork to make up in addition to the new assignments that were coming in, all in the midst of her high school soccer season at Ravenscroft School (Raleigh, N.C.) and her club season with the Capital Area Soccer League Chelsea Under-16 team.

The stress was overwhelming.

Caroline Lindquist knew the feeling. A year older than her Ravenscroft teammate, Caroline had been to a few national team training camps herself and had experience dealing with the anxious aftermath.

“Caroline gave me a lot of good advice about how to talk to my teachers and manage my workload,” says Cameron, a junior forward/midfielder. “Having someone to talk to who had been through it made me feel so much better.”

Most elite soccer players don’t have that luxury. And Cameron and Caroline certainly are elite. Both have verbally committed to 20-time national champion North Carolina, a breeding ground for World Cup stars from Mia Hamm to Heather O’Reilly.

“We’ve only gotten to know each other in the past couple years,” says Caroline, a senior midfielder/defender. “But it’s made those years so much better.”

Despite playing in the same club program and each being involved with Youth National Teams, last spring was the first time Caroline and Cameron were actually teammates. They became fast friends while sitting next to each other on bus trips to away games.

Their performance on the field had spectators believing they’d been playing together all their lives. The duo led their team to an 18-2-1 record and a trip to the Independent Schools state title game.

In the process, Caroline was named Gatorade North Carolina Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year and Cameron earned conference Player of the Year honors.

“Both girls are incredible individual players to watch,” Ravenscroft coach J.J. Raabe says. “They make it look so fun and effortless.”

Beauty tips: Fight the winter woes

December, 19, 2011
This story originally appeared in the winter issue of ESPNHS Girl magazine. Click here to subscribe.

’Tis the season for hot cocoa, cute puffers — and lackluster hair and scaly skin. We heart winter … but not the beauty dilemmas that come with it.

Here’s how to overcome common cold-weather woes (made worse by all those outdoor practices) and stay stunning in the chilly months ahead.

Winter Woe No. 1 : “My hair is dry and lifeless. Washing it twice a day — before school and after practice — isn’t helping.”
Solution: “Shampooing twice a day is far too often!” says Robert Gioria, owner of NYC’s chic Robert G Salon and the man responsible for maintaining Sarah Jessica Parker’s magnificent mane. “Washing hair too frequently strips it of natural oils that keep it hydrated.” Shampoo three times a week, max. In between, simply rinse your hair with water and follow up with a hydrating conditioner. Try Aveda Shampure Shampoo & Conditioner ($21 for the set) or Pantene Pro-V NatureFusion Moisture Balance Shampoo & Conditioner ($6.99 each). Alternatively, you can use a dry shampoo — such as Ojon Full Detox Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Spray ($13) — to eliminate odor and grease. If your strands are drier than the Sahara, Gioria recommends a hair masque or deep conditioning treatment once a week. We like John Frieda Frizz-Ease Rehydrate Intensive Deep Conditioner ($5.37).

Winter Woe No. 2: “Eww, my skin is flaking everywhere.”
“Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture in the air as well as low temps,” says Dr. David Colbert, a NYC dermatologist. Playing sports can worsen the problem because sweat causes the skin to lose moisture. Keep showers short and use a mild cleanser containing glycerin, such as Dove VisibleCare Softening Crème Body Wash ($5), which hydrates the skin. Dry off completely and apply a lightly or non-scented moisturizer like Lubriderm Intense Skin Repair Calming Relief Lotion ($8) or Trilipiderm All-Body Natural Moisturizing Créme ($24.95). Get rid of any lingering flakiness with a gentle exfoliant like Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub ($6). “Use it a few times per week, but never daily,” warns Dr. Colbert. “Over-exfoliating can dry out your skin by breaking through the protective layer that traps water.” Treat super-dry patches with a petrolatum-containing ointment like Aquaphor ($5.99).

Winter Woe No. 3 : “My lips are always chapped, especially when I train outside.”
Solution: Licking your lips won’t help. Instead lightly swipe Vaseline Petroleum Jelly on your kisser ($3.39). If you’re exercising outdoors, a lip balm with sunscreen is essential, says Dr. Colbert. Pucker up with Aloe Gator Cherry Lip Balm with 30 SPF, a fave among surfers and swimmers because it’s waterproof for eight hours ($3). Avoid lipsticks and glosses, which aren’t as moisturizing and can plug pores, leading to breakouts.