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WHERE WILL THEY BE?
Text by SARAH KWAK
July 13, 2009
These 14 teens have already found their places in the sun. Watch over the next few years to see how far their dreams will carry them—to college stardom, professional titles or Olympic gold
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July 13, 2009

Where Will They Be?

These 14 teens have already found their places in the sun. Watch over the next few years to see how far their dreams will carry them—to college stardom, professional titles or Olympic gold

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CHRISTIAN LOPES
16 > INFIELDER > canyon Country, Calif.

Achievements
After being named the U-13 Player of the Year in 2006 by National Youth Baseball, Christian had an MVP season as a freshman for Valencia High, batting .408 with 10 home runs. The 6-foot, 185-pound middle infielder hit .453 with 15 homers and 33 RBIs batting leadoff as a sophomore. "For us to be successful, we need Christian to be at the plate four or five times a game," Valencia coach Jared Snyder says. Last month Christian made the first cut for the USA Baseball U-18 team.

Reminiscent of
Derek Jeter. The lifelong Mets fan has profound respect for the Yankees' shortstop. "He's such a humble player and a good leader," Christian says. "I even met the guy, and he's such a class act. He didn't big-league anybody."

Coach's comment
"He had five strikeouts in 86 at bats," Snyder says. "His plate discipline is pretty phenomenal, and when he gets his pitch, he usually hits it."

Next step
A superb student—Christian's 3.8 GPA as a freshman earned him a Scholar Athlete Award—he wants to go to college and already has a stack of letters from programs across the country.

CHASE ELLIOTT
13 > AUTO RACER > Dawsonville, Ga.

Achievements
The son of former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, Chase grew up on the track and started go-kart racing as an eight-year-old. By age 12 he had earned seven state titles, including the Georgia semipro championship. In May, in just his seventh race with the lighter versions of standard stock-racing cars, the 5'1", 105-pound Chase won at his home track in the Georgia Asphalt Series Super Six 100s, beating drivers more than twice his age.

Reminiscent of
Bill Elliott. People often tell Chase he races smoothly like his father, and that would make sense: The elder Elliott spots him on the track, warning him of cautions and teaching him as he goes.

Coach's comment
"It doesn't do good to run into people and bump them out of the way—you need to race people with respect, and he does that," crew chief Ricky Turner says. "His maturity level is really high for 13."

Next step
Still three years from being eligible to enter a NASCAR-sanctioned event, Chase will continue to compete in the asphalt series. In anticipation of his move to NASCAR, his uncle Ernie Elliott, who used to build motors for his dad during the '80s, is working on a super-late-model, 700-horsepower engine.

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