Future Game Changers
Sarah Hendrickson won nine World Cup events, is world's top-ranked ski jumper
Paramus (N.J.) Catholic's Jabrill Peppers is the top saftey prospect in the '14 class
Taylor Townsend won singles and doubles junior titles at the 2012 Australian Open
Who's got next? Well, it might just be this remarkable group of 14 teenagers. Their sports résumés are impressive despite their young age, and over the next few years, it'll be fun to see how far their dreams carry them -- whether to college stardom, professional titles or Olympic gold.
For a full photo gallery of our up-and-coming stars, click here.
Hometown: Aspen, Colo.
Skinny: As a freshman at Aspen High last season, Beirne threw for 22 touchdowns and more than 2,000 passing yards in leading the Skiers to a 7-4 record. Those numbers helped the 15 year old earn an honorable mention on the U.S. Air Force Freshmen All-America team in January.
Beirne, who stands 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds, has since transferred to national power Christopher Columbus High in Miami, a program that has produced famous alumni including former NFL quarterback Brian Griese (Class of 1993) and Raiders cornerback Pat Lee (Class of 2003). A rising sophomore, Beirne will start next fall for the defending Class 8A district and regional champs.
Evokes: A young Daunte Culpepper, for his arm strength and ability to throw on the run.
VIDEO: Get to know Jane Campbell
Hometown: Kennesaw, Ga.
Skinny: One of a talented crop of current U.S. U-17 national team goalkeepers, the 5-foot-9 Campbell hopes to one day follow in the ranks of American stars Brianna Scurry and Hope Solo. During the recent CONCACAF U-17 tournament, she recorded five straight shutouts and did not concede a goal in all 450 minutes of the tournament. Campbell's performance earned the U.S. a berth in the 2012 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan.
"Hope Solo is the best goalkeeper in the world right now and if I want to be like her I have to keep reaching my own smaller goals," Campbell told U.S. Soccer's web site recently.
The daughter of a pair of former Navy pilots -- her father, Mike, flew in the Blue Angels -- the 17 year old has already committed to play at Stanford in the fall of 2013, when she graduates from the Darlington School.
Evokes: Solo, the star goalkeeper of the U.S. Women's National Team.
VIDEO: Get to know Arielle Gold
Hometown: Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Skinny: Gold won silver in the halfpipe and slopestyle events at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in Austria in January, and she followed that up with gold in the halfpipe at the Junior World Championships in Spain in March.
Now 16, she has not shied away from increasingly complex tricks -- and has walked away with some hardware as a result. Gold initially planned to complete an easy run at the 2012 Youth Olympics before seeing her competitors pull some surprise tricks. In response, Gold opted to launch her best trick, a frontside 900, in what was essentially an audition. She didn't land the move cleanly, but she still won silver after showcasing a series of advanced tricks. This fall and winter, Gold will enter several Olympic qualifying events in advance of the 2014 Sochi Games.
Evokes: Kelly Clark, the Olympic halfpipe winner and four-time X Games superpipe champion.
Sport: Ski Jumping
Hometown: Park City, Utah
Skinny: A senior at the Winter Sports School in Park City -- a program that runs April through November so students can compete during the winter months -- the 17-year-old Hendrickson is the top-ranked ski jumper in the world. She is the early favorite for the 2014 Olympics.
Just 5-foot-3 and 95 pounds, Hendrickson claimed the first women's World Cup ski jumping title earlier this year after winning nine of the 13 World Cup events. She'll be eligible to compete at the 2014 Games as the International Olympic Committee has included ski jumping on its program. Hendrickson first tried ski jumping as a seven year old on a small K5 hill.
Evokes: A pioneer in her sport, Hendrickson is blazing her own path. Still, she hopes to follow in the ski tracks of one of her favorite athletes, Lindsey Vonn.
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Skinny: The No. 1 player in Golfweek's Junior Rankings and the No. 5 player in Golfweek's Women's Amateur Rankings, Jutanugarn has exploded onto the international scene. In May 2012, the 16 year old won her second consecutive Rolex Girls Junior Championship title, setting a tournament record for margin of victory by finishing 18 shots ahead of the runner-up, her older sister, Moriya. In 2011, Jutanugarn won the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and the Junior PGA Championship.
"She's just an amazing player," fellow junior golfer Casey Danielson recently told the Bangkok Post. "You know that every hole she's going for birdie, she's going to do it because she's got that mindset."
Evokes: Lexi Thompson, who won her first LPGA title at 16, for her dedication and excellence at a young age.
Hometown: Sandy, Utah
Skinny: Kafentzis was named MaxPreps' National Freshman of the Year in 2011 after passing for 3,188 yards and 23 touchdowng, rushing for 1,377 yards and 22 scores and leading Jordan High to the state Class 5A semifinals. BYU has already offered a scholarship, and Kafentzis has been visited by a number of college coaches, including Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
In addition to his performance on the gridiron, Kafentzis, 16, broke the Utah Class 5A record in the javelin in May with a throw of 190 feet.
Evokes: Aaron Rodgers, for his ability to throw passes into tight spaces.
VIDEO: Get to know Jeremy Martinez
Hometown: Fountain Valley, Calif.
Skinny: One of only two underclassmen to participate in last year's Under Armour All-America Game, Martinez appears poised to be a first-round pick in next year's MLB Draft. He's currently the top-rated 2013 prospect by ESPN, and in March, he helped Mater Dei (Calif.) High to USA Baseball's inaugural High School invitational title. Martinez batted .538 in four games; for the 2012 season, he hit .388 with 18 RBIs.
Martinez verbally committed to USC at the end of his freshman season, but that likely won't stop a MLB team from drafting him early. If he wants to remain a catcher, however, going to college may not be a bad choice. Since 2005, just one high school catcher picked in the first round (Devin Mesoraco, the backup for the Reds) is currently in the big leagues at the postion (Others, such as Brandon Snyder and Brett Lawrie, were converted to infielders). College catchers selected in the first round have been far more successful. The post-2005 class of collegiate catchers includes Buster Posey, Matt Wieters, J.P. Arencibia and Jason Castro.
Evokes: Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, the former for his batting stance and the latter for his defensive skills.
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