How Nicholas Feigelson Combines His Passion for Math and Sports

When did you enter York Prep?

I entered York Prep in 9th grade.

What clubs/ sports do you participate in?

I have been a part of many different clubs during my time at York: the Community Service Club, Scholars, York Prep Ambassadors, WYRK, Student Government, the History Super Bowl Team, and Varsity Volleyball.
What inspired you to join the volleyball team and what have you learned from being on the team?

The story of how I joined the volleyball team is actually kind of funny. When I started ninth grade I actually intended on playing baseball. However, I came into York one day and I realized I had missed the tryouts. I still wanted to play a sport, so my friend told me I should try out for volleyball with him. Although I am not amazing at Volleyball and it is likely something I will not pursue in college, I think being on a sports team, in general, can be a very important experience for a teenager. Sports teams help you learn communication, discipline, and how even if you're not in the spotlight you are still a valuable person.

Tell us about your interests and hobbies outside of school.

My biggest interests outside of school are skiing, working out, hanging out with my friends, and sports statistics. While I enjoy all of these, the one I have the most passion for is sports statistics. I have always loved math from a young age, so it was inevitable that once I started following sports I would fall in love with statistics. I have passively explored statistics for many years, but I will finally have an opportunity to really learn more through the sports statistics Wharton summer program that I am attending.

Sports statistics sounds fascinating. Can you describe what is involved in being a sports statistics enthusiast?

When I am looking at sports statistics, I am basically doing, for fun, what someone who works in a sports management field would be doing. This involves analyzing different numbers for player value categories, comparing certain statistics with others to see find how much more valuable one player is than another, and analyzing things like cap space and determining the most realistic use of money for teams. These are all things I just enjoy doing for my own pleasure, but in the real world, translate to the types of things a general manager of a sports team would be doing.

How did you get involved in sports statistics? How old were you, and how did you learn about it?

I honestly could not tell you exactly how I got involved in sports statistics. I have always loved math, so once I started following sports I think the two just naturally connected with each other, piquing my interest. It was probably around fourth grade when I started pursuing an interest in sports and analytics. I have really just taught myself, along with a few videos and articles, everything I have learned over the years. However, you can only teach yourself so much which is why I am super excited for this Wharton program, which I am going to be attending this program for three weeks this July. I want to attend this program to expand on the knowledge I already have. To me, not knowing exactly what I want to learn and just being excited to expand my knowledge in a way I haven't been able to on my own, is so much more exciting. Right now I am going because I don't have any questions. Hopefully, I will be leaving with a lot of questions because questions are what keep me going and are what make me want to explore sports statistics in my free time.

Do you plan to pursue a career centered around sports statistics? If so, please share more about your inspiration.

Only being 17 years old I have no clue what I want to be when I grow up, but I definitely think a career in sports management/statistics is a realistic option. I think I was most likely inspired by the fact that I did not understand why my favorite team would make certain moves. They would make a trade or sign a player and it would not make sense to me why. I wanted to be able to understand what made a player valuable. Some more recent inspiration has been playing fantasy football. I started casually playing in middle school as I started becoming a bigger football fan. However, as I reached high school I started enjoying fantasy football much more and became very invested. This most likely had to do with the mixture of my interest in sports statistics and my competitive nature. As I have played fantasy football I have tried to use my knowledge of sports statistics to gain an upper hand. I can most notably point to the mathematical formula I developed a couple of months ago to try and pinpoint kicker value (a generally very hard position to evaluate in fantasy football).

What has been your best memory here at York?

My best memory at York was probably my first volleyball game as a freshman. The team was made up of seniors so I saw very little playing time the whole season, but the last game of the year I was put in. I won three serves in a row and got an ace, helping the team to finish off the win. Although it may have been a meaningless game, it felt very good to finally find a sport I had success at. It felt like I had found a home for my next three years of high school.

If you could give yourself advice as a student entering York, what would it be?

If I could give myself advice as a student entering York, I would tell myself that while times may get rough, you should never give in because you come out stronger than you were before. I have dealt with struggle, both academically and socially, in my three years at York, but every time that I felt lost and beaten I always managed to pull through stronger than I ever was before.