American Gold Sports Alliance

ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT

Every month, the American Gold Sports Alliance chooses one athlete who has shown excellence in their respective sport and in the classroom. If you have a student-athlete who you would like to nominate for Athlete of the Month, email us at info@agsa.org.

SEPTEMBER ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

Amber English

USA Skeet Shooting

Amber English is an American sport shooter from Colorado Springs, CO. English won the gold medal in the women’s skeet at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, setting a new Olympic record of 56. In addition to being an olympian, English is also currently serving as a First lieutenant in the United States Army.

Amber English began shooting at the age of six and is a member of a distinguished shooting family. Her father, Mike, and uncle, Butch were U.S. Running Target National Team members and Olympic Training center resident athletes, while her mother, Ana and aunt, Kim were members of one of America’s top collegiate rifle programs at the University of Kentucky.

Amber joined the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) in February 2017. In 2018, she was part of a U.S. sweep at World Championships where she earned the bronze medal. She has four world cup medals to her name won in 2010, 2016, 2018, and 2019.

We are so excited to have her as our September Athlete of the Month!

1. How many years have you played for your team?

I played varsity badminton all throughout high school (freshman to senior year). I was also first in the lineup every year. I am currently ranked number 2 nationally in singles and 3 in doubles. I won the IHSA badminton state for singles in 2019 and 2021 as well.

2. Why did you start playing badminton?

My dad always wanted to put me in a sport for three reasons: learning discipline, learn the importance of fitness and athletics and having fun. There was a badminton club near the house we moved into in 2012 so he signed me up and I have played and grown ever since.

3. What is your favorite badminton memory?

My favorite memory while playing would be when I was warming up to play singles finals at the Pan American Junior Tournament in Moncton, Canada. The previous year I played in the same tournament in Brazil and I lost the first round so it was satisfying to see hard work and perseverance be worth it. The entire year before this day I made sure to stay motivated with the three reasons my dad had in mind and having that purpose helped me stay grounded towards my goal and it was cool to see everything pay off.

4. What is a life lesson you learned from playing badminton?

I learned that experience comes from more than just winning. If you want to be successful, failure is bound to be a stepping stone. Badminton is a fun recreation sport but it can also be a beautiful competitive sport and sticking with it and embracing the challenges it brings is key.

5. How did badminton impact your student-athlete life?

Badminton definitely had an impact on my academic life when I first started high school because I had not yet learned how to balance both. I was able to fix this problem by setting up schedules and to do lists for even little time periods of my day because even though I might not stick to them completely, I can refocus even after getting off track. I also would be in the moment when in school and doing homework and then also would have my mind completely up present when playing badminton so I am not thinking about other aspects of my life. Badminton did create moments of stress for me because of how it constructed my time for everything else but I now have the lifelong skill of time management and self composure.

Quick Questions with Bhaavya

6. What are 3 words you can think of that describe badminton?

I would describe badminton as uplifting, dynamic, and gritty.

7. Are you still playing badminton since your season is over?

I do still play now and am currently attending a camp to train for nationals that are happening at the end of June (June 2021). After this tournament, I will be going to college in the fall so I will stop training as regularity and will play for fun and fitness and not as competitively.

8. How has participating in badminton camp helped you?

Badminton camp not only improved my physical and mental endurance but also gave me a place to be around other people who are willing to put in work and appreciate badminton as a sport. The friends I have made are forever and they have taught me so much and given me some of my favorite memories.

10. What is it like coming back to play this season as a graduate student, after having your senior season taken away due to the pandemic?

I feel like everyday, I think how much easier life would be without softball right now, but then five seconds later I realize how grateful I am to have this opportunity to play another season. I feel like i wasnt done when the season was over last year. I havent given everything i had yet to softball. I wasnt ready to hang up my cleats just yet. I am just so grateful to be able to have the actual season and opportunity to hang up the cleats in a more positive way. And not only give what i have talent wise, but also knowledge wise. Especially towards the younger players and the freshman.. It has always been one of my favorite things. Wanted to give what I could knowledge wise and encourage the younger players. It has always been one of my favorite things as an upperclassman. I can’t imagine life without the sport…..

6. How would you describe your experience throwing a no-hitter and a perfect game in the same weekend?

Honestly, the night after the no-hitter I kind of got nervous thinking ahead of the next day. How would I follow that up?  I was worried about messing it up. I kept the same mindset and kept it simple. Didn’t do too much, just threw pitches where they were supposed to be thrown and focussed on doing my part. It just worked out. I kept my mindset the same. My defense was behind me, handling the pressure of the game. They had my back behind me and made the plays they needed to make for the game. 

7. What are you most proud of in your career thus far?

Probably the weekend of the no-hitter and perfect game. This season I have done better in finishing games than I have in the past. It is something I have struggled with as a pitcher, having a good game then letting it go in the last few innings, being able to finish two full games strong, and then bringing that into other games since then is something I am proud of and hope to keep doing for the team. 

8. Who do you look up to?

My dad. He has taught me how to believe in myself and to remain calm and to trust the process and always remember to give everything my all. He is a very influential guy, he’s not loud, but he has influenced me a lot in his quiet calmness and his kindness.

9. What advice do you have for young, aspiring college athletes?

Anything that’s worth doing is going to require your best and a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Once you achieve your goal, you have to keep working hard and apply yourself. Your future is worth all of your efforts. What you become is dependent on how much you invest in it. 

Do You Have A Student-Athlete You'd Like To Nominate For Athlete of the Month?

Athlete Spotlight News

SEPTEMBER ATHLETE OF
THE MONTH

Amber
English

USA Skeet Shooting

Amber English is an American sport shooter from Colorado Springs, CO. English won the gold medal in the women’s skeet at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, setting a new Olympic record of 56. In addition to being an olympian, English is also currently serving as a First lieutenant in the United States Army.

Amber English began shooting at the age of six and is a member of a distinguished shooting family. Her father, Mike, and uncle, Butch were U.S. Running Target National Team members and Olympic Training center resident athletes, while her mother, Ana and aunt, Kim were members of one of America’s top collegiate rifle programs at the University of Kentucky.

Amber joined the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) in February 2017. In 2018, she was part of a U.S. sweep at World Championships where she earned the bronze medal. She has four world cup medals to her name won in 2010, 2016, 2018, and 2019.

We are so excited to have her as our September Athlete of the Month!

1. How many years have you played for your team?

I played varsity badminton all throughout high school (freshman to senior year). I was also first in the lineup every year. I am currently ranked number 2 nationally in singles and 3 in doubles. I won the IHSA badminton state for singles in 2019 and 2021 as well.

2. Why did you start playing badminton?

My dad always wanted to put me in a sport for three reasons: learning discipline, learn the importance of fitness and athletics and having fun. There was a badminton club near the house we moved into in 2012 so he signed me up and I have played and grown ever since

3. What is your favorite badminton memory?

My favorite memory while playing would be when I was warming up to play singles finals at the Pan American Junior Tournament in Moncton, Canada. The previous year I played in the same tournament in Brazil and I lost the first round so it was satisfying to see hard work and perseverance be worth it. The entire year before this day I made sure to stay motivated with the three reasons my dad had in mind and having that purpose helped me stay grounded towards my goal and it was cool to see everything pay off.

4. What is a life lesson you learned from playing badminton?

I learned that experience comes from more than just winning. If you want to be successful, failure is bound to be a stepping stone. Badminton is a fun recreation sport but it can also be a beautiful competitive sport and sticking with it and embracing the challenges it brings is key.

5. How did badminton impact your student-athlete life?

Badminton definitely had an impact on my academic life when I first started high school because I had not yet learned how to balance both. I was able to fix this problem by setting up schedules and to do lists for even little time periods of my day because even though I might not stick to them completely, I can refocus even after getting off track. I also would be in the moment when in school and doing homework and then also would have my mind completely up present when playing badminton so I am not thinking about other aspects of my life. Badminton did create moments of stress for me because of how it constructed my time for everything else but I now have the lifelong skill of time management and self composure.

6. What are 3 words you can think of that describe badminton?

I would describe badminton as uplifting, dynamic, and gritty.

Quick Questions With Bhaavya Manikonda

Do You Have A Student-Athlete You'd Like To Nominate For Athlete of the Month?

Athlete Spotlight News