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RISE Mag's editors pick top stories of '08

12/31/2008

From the tragic shooting of promising athlete Jamiel Shaw to the inspiring story of Tiffany Jacobson's battle with MS to get back to the volleyball court, ESPN RISE Magazine's editors pick the most memorable stories that appeared in the magazine in 2008. For more about ESPN RISE Magazine, click here.

1. Jamiel Shaw (National feature, September)
Last spring's murder of Los Angeles High football star Jamiel Shaw received national attention. A promising Division I player who had never been in trouble with the law, Shaw was gunned down in front of his house. It was just one of several tragedies that hit the LA High football team as it tried to prepare for the 2008 season. Read the story here.

2. Terrelle Pryor (National feature, May)
Before becoming the starting quarterback at Ohio State, Terrelle Pryor experienced the most scrutinized senior year of high school since LeBron James. Sometimes Pryor wowed everybody with his athletic gifts on the gridiron and hardwood. But other times the attention came at a price, proving that prep fame can be both a gift and a curse.

3. Eating Disorders (Fall GIRL)
According to the National Eating Disorder Association, nearly 10 million females in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders. And those are just the acknowledged cases. In her powerful first-person account, former high school and college athlete Andrea Valachovic opened up about the difficulties of admitting she's one of the 10 million. Read the story here.

4. Tierra Rogers (Bay Area, December)
A basketball star at national power Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco, Calif.), Tierra Rogers had everything going for her last year. Until her father and biggest fan, Terray, was murdered at halftime of one of her games. Now a senior, Tierra still struggles with playing the sport her father taught her.

5. Kenny Boynton & Brandon Knight (South Florida, December)
Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight are good friends, AAU teammates and two of the best players in the country. But when their high schools go head-to-head, there's no love lost. Boynton, a Florida-bound senior guard at American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), and Knight, a junior guard at Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), will likely meet four times this season between the regular season and playoffs, with the victor the odds-on favorite to take home the Class 3A state title. Read the story here.

6. Kenzie Fowler (Phoenix, April)
Lights-out hurlers, gaudy strikeout numbers and miniscule ERA's always make for good stories. But what makes Canyon del Oro (Oro Valley, Ariz.) pitcher Kenzie Fowler special isn't her unhittable rising fastball -- it's her triumph over adversity. While so many others would have backed down, whined or flinched from a 12-day hospital stay that included three surgeries, Fowler bounced back from life-threatening blood clots.

7. Tim Beckham (Atlanta, March)
Tim Beckham has big plans. He wants to be an All-Star. He wants to be in the Hall of Fame. Each day after school at Griffin (Ga.), the smooth-swinging shortstop used goals like that to drive himself through solitary workouts. This past summer, Beckham checked the first major item of his career to-do list when he was selected No. 1 in the MLB Draft.

8. Tiffany Jacobson (Washington, D.C., October)
After leading Reservoir (Fulton, Md.) to the Class 3A state volleyball title as a junior, Tiffany Jacobson was riding high. But then one day she woke up with the entire left side of her body feeling tingly and numb. A few days later, Jacobson lost hearing in her left ear and couldn't walk straight. Eventually Jacobson was diagnosed with degenerative muscle disease multiple sclerosis. Jacobson has since returned to her dominant self on the volleyball court, but the road to recovery hasn't been easy. Read the story here.

9. Alaska (National feature, October)
When it comes to high school sports, everything is a little more difficult up north. Whether they're fighting through crippling snowstorms, 24 hours of darkness or daylong road trips, Alaskan athletes are second to none when it comes to toughness. Read the story here.

10. Evan King (Chicago, May)
As one of the country's top-ranked junior tennis players, 2008 Walter Payton Prep (Chicago, Ill.) graduate Evan King is known for thinking on his feet. But his biggest decision came off the court. And when it came time for King to choose between defending his state title or transferring into the USTA training program, he made the right call for his future.

Editor's note: ESPNRISE.com launched in August, and links to stories that appeared earlier are currently unavailable.