Congratulations to these talented Student-Athletes.
We are proud to share that The Observer identified three of our rising student-athletes in their list of ten area athletes to watch. Check out the article to learn more about the OUTstanding student-athletes they chose to highlight. Congrats to all our student-athletes on their dedication and commitment to academics and athletics.
10 — Saraiah Walkes, The Out-of-Door Academy
What more can you say about The Out-of-Door Academy freshman Saraiah Walkes?
Not only did she win three state championships as an eighth grader in 2017, finishing first in the Class 1A girls 100 meters in 12.35 seconds, the 200 in 25.20 and the 400 in 55.57, but she also finished second in the 14-year-old girls 200-meter dash (24.71 seconds) at the AAU Junior Olympic Games on Aug. 1 in Ypsilanti, Mich.
She topped our moments list last week, and for good reason: Walkes puts on an impressive show every time she takes the track.
If you somehow still haven't heard of Walkes, 2018 in your chance to watch her dominate the running scene.
8 — Natalie Gorji, The Out-of-Door Academy
The Thunder girls soccer attack is powerful, and it's led by Natalie Gorji.
Gorji scored 26 goals in 2016-2017 and dished 11 assists. That was her freshman campaign. ODA reached the regional semifinals last season, but the program has bigger things in mind for 2018.
Now a sophomore, Gorji is in no danger of a slump. She netted four goals Dec. 5 in an 8-0 win against Bradenton Christian and scored the lone goal Dec. 15 in a 1-0 win against a stingy Braden River High.
The Thunder stand 8-1 as of Dec. 21. The future of the program looks strong, and with Gorji at the helm it should stay that way.
5 — Ryan Ives, The Out-of-Door Academy
The Out-of-Door Academy defensive lineman Ryan Ives was a banshee in 2017, his sophomore season. He recorded seven sacks, 10 quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss in just eight games, meaning he disrupted opponents' passing and running games.
That disruption helped ODA rebound from a 3-7 record to 6-2 and its first home playoff win in eight years. With many of the Thunder's key contributors graduating, it will be on Ives and his Thunder defensemates to keep up the pressure.