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Saluja Law Congratulates Ella Hagen: A Trailblazer in High School Athletics

Posted by Paul Saluja | Jun 13, 2024 | 0 Comments


High school and college athletics are changing. Not that long ago, athletes were barred from earning money or benefits from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). However, with the Colorado High School Activities Association recently permitting high school athletes to sign NIL deals, a new world has opened up for current student-athletes. Among the pioneers navigating this evolving landscape is Summit High School's rising senior, Ella Hagen, who has set a new precedent by signing her own NIL deal.

Ella Hagen: Breaking New Ground with Hoka

Ella Hagen, the first Summit athlete to sign an NIL deal in the school's history, has partnered with the California-based sportswear brand, Hoka. The agreement, which includes shoes, apparel, and travel opportunities, marks a significant milestone in her athletic journey.

“It is an awesome opportunity to show what is possible,” Hagen said. “The sport is changing, and there are more opportunities for athletes out there. Personally, I am just proud to show that it is possible and that your hard work can bring awesome experiences.”

Making Her Mark

Although Hagen's deal was formally announced on social media on June 5, she has been affiliated with Hoka for a few weeks. She made her debut as a Hoka athlete at the Hoka Festival of Miles track meet, where she competed against some of the nation's top distance runners. Hagen placed 11th in the Spewak Training High School girls elite mile, achieving a new personal best of 4 minutes, 53.87 seconds. This performance not only marked a personal milestone but also broke her school record in the 1600-meter run.

With her first race with Hoka behind her, Hagen is now set to participate in the prestigious Western States 100, where she will be part of professional endurance-sport athlete Heather Jackson's crew. The ultramarathon, held in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains from June 29-30, offers Hagen a unique mentorship opportunity with Jackson.

Upcoming Competitions and New Challenges

Following her experience at the Western States 100, Hagen will return to compete in the National High School Trail Championships in Salida in July. Having won the race last year, she is eager to defend her title and share the experience with her Summit High School teammates.

“It is all pretty incredible,” Hagen said. “Western States will be really fun, pacing a really awesome athlete and having that mentorship with Heather. The National High School Trail Championships out in Salida is going to be awesome because we are planning on taking a team, so that is something that I get to do with my training partners — show them that side of it.”

Hagen's summer will culminate with a trip to Europe, where she will compete in the Hoka Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) Youth Chamonix Courmayeur event. Joined once again by Jackson, Hagen will tackle two international trail running races, further expanding her horizons in the sport.

“UTMB is going to be incredible,” Hagen said. “I get to do kind of a bigger trail race which is different from what I am used to. I am excited for it all.”

A Role Model for Versatile Runners

Beyond being the first Summit athlete to earn an NIL deal, Hagen stands out as the sole female athlete on Hoka's new NIL team. Alongside Mountain Vista High School's Benji Anderson and California's Anthony Fast Horse, Hagen takes pride in showcasing the versatility of runners.

“A part of the message that we are trying to send is that you can do the trail, do the track, do it all,” Hagen said. “You don't have to necessarily only do one. I am beyond grateful to be part of the team and be part of the community a little bit more.”

From Local Job to Global Recognition

Reflecting on her journey, Hagen expresses gratitude for the opportunity to transition from working at Peak Running in Breckenridge last summer to getting paid to run with a renowned brand like Hoka.

“It is kind of incredible that I have gotten to the point where I can make it a job,” Hagen said. “Again, it shows what is possible in the sport and how far you can take it. It is just the start, but I am honored that I am able to do what I love and do running as my job for the summer. I am super grateful for the opportunity to continue training and do what I would be doing anyway, but in a super special format.”

In addition to her deal with Hoka, Hagen has also secured an NIL deal with Coros, a performance sports technology company specializing in watches and heart rate monitors. Her next competition will be on June 22, when she competes at On Track Nights: Vienna in Austria, where she will run the 5,000-meter track race.

A Bright Future Ahead

Ella Hagen's story is a testament to the changing landscape of high school athletics and the boundless opportunities that come with it. Her journey serves as an inspiration to young athletes everywhere, demonstrating that dedication and hard work can indeed bring remarkable experiences and opportunities.

At Saluja Law, we celebrate Ella Hagen's achievements and wish her continued success in her athletic endeavors. Congratulations, Ella, on your pioneering NIL deal and the exciting journey ahead!

About the Author

Paul Saluja

Paul Saluja is a distinguished legal professional with over two decades of experience serving clients across a spectrum of legal domains. Graduating from West Virginia State University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, he continued his academic journey at Ohio Northern University, gr...


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