Eli Manning advises HS athletes to stay on track, avoid distractions at Jersey Shore Sports Awards

Eli Manning advises HS athletes to stay on track, avoid distractions at Jersey Shore Sports Awards

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Eli Manning advises HS athletes to stay on track, avoid distractions at Jersey Shore Sports Awards

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WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J – They came from Matawan and Manahawkin, and virtually all points in between. They had excelled on the gridiron and the court, as well as the diamond, mat and track. Many of them set records and won championships.

All of them represented their school with distinction.

A total of 370 Shore Conference high school athletes were honored Monday at the Asbury Park Press’ inaugural Jersey Shore Sports Awards. More than 1,000 people filled Monmouth University’s Multipurpose Activity Center, which was converted into a banquet hall with a stage and two jumbo video screens. They received All-Shore awards from the fall, winter and spring seasons and heard from a special guest speaker—New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning, who addressed the crowd for 25 minutes in a question-and-answer format with Asbury Park Press columnist Steve Edelson, offered plenty of advice to the young athletes about achieving success.

“It’s just sticking to what you want to get accomplished, what’s important to you,” Manning said. “There are distractions. You want to surround yourself with good people, friends who have the same priorities you do. That makes a big difference.”

He added, “The lessons you learned in high school, the work ethic that has gotten you into this room tonight, carry those things on.”

Manning said he played football, basketball and baseball in high school and even played soccer growing up. He encouraged athletes to try different things and avoid specialization.

“I’m a big supporter of playing as many sports as you can,” he said.

Asked to advise young athletes on handling social media, Manning—who is not on Twitter—said, “How many followers you have does not make you successful. It does not make you a better player.”

His message made an impression on the athletes, who bellowed a thunderous ovation when he finished.

“It was pretty inspirational to hear Eli to talk about all of his experiences playing sports in high school and college,” said Middletown South ice hockey player Chris Falzone, who won the Comeback Award for his return to the ice after a serious illness. “It was just awesome that all the athletes were here from all the different sports. To be a part of this, I was truly honored.”

Read more about the awards and honorees at the Asbury Park Press.

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