Cassidy McLellan – Mustangs Ahead

LRHS athletic director Kent Ringquist (l) recognizes state girls shotput and softball champions last year

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Wednesday, Feb. 2, was National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD).

NGWSD is an annual celebration during the first week of February to highlight female athletes’ achievements, to recognize the impact of sports involvement on women and girls and to praise the success and ongoing struggle for equality in sports.

Girls soccer head coach Delany Riggins said she appreciates the day.

“Raising more awareness about different events and building a better fan base is a key factor in fixing women athletics being second to men athletics,” she said.

President Ronald Reagan designated the first NGWSD on February 4, 1987 to honor the history of women’s sports and to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman and her work to promote equitable representation of women in sports.

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Since then, the day has developed to honor all female athletes, their accomplishments, the beneficial effects of women’s inclusion in sports, and the problems that women face when it comes to equitable participation in sports.

Cross country head coach Kristin Wikstrom said, “Women and men’s sports have not always been equal in fact, women’s sports didn’t always exist, so this day helps to recognize the fact that women are just as accomplished in sports as men are.”

LRHS volleyball coach Perri Hankins said women’s sports will become more popular as they become more visible.

“People don’t know they want to watch something until they watch it,” she said.  “As women’s sports get more exposure they’ll attract more girls, and that interest will bring more exposure. 

“That’s the great thing about the Olympics,” she continued.  “People can see more live sports than ever on TV.  Why would anyone want to watch a replay of an old event when they can watch a live game?”

Young female athletes all around the U.S. are very appreciative of how the women before them paved the way for them to compete in sports.

Sophomore Grace Shaw-Rockey said, “It is cool to have a day representing female athletes like myself because a lot of the times we don’t get the representation that we need, and this day helps.”