The annual Women and Girls In Sport Day was held at Southern Saturday, Jan. 30 at Moore Field House. The event is a long running tradition, according to assistant athletic director Michael Kobylanski, for Southern’s female athletes to inspire the younger generation.
“We have been doing this event for almost 20 years now,” Kobylanski said. “It is the second largest [women and girls’ in sport event] in the state behind the University of Hartford among college athletic departments.”
Kobylanski said that “thousands of young girls” have had the opportunity to come through and participate in this program over the years, something he and Southern are “extremely happy about.”
In a continued university-wide effort to provide community service, he noted that “it is the largest single day volunteer effort by our athletic department.”
Southern had 175 student-athletes and coaches volunteering Saturday, serving as instructors for various events for the youth in attendance.
Kya O’Donnell, a sophomore psychology major and forward on the women’s field hockey team, said the event is a great experience for the younger kids.
“At a young age you don’t really know what sport you want to go into, but everyone is so enthusiastic about their respective sport and it is definitely beneficial for the younger kids to look up to us and want to be a part of this.”
Kelli McCombs, a sophomore goalkeeper planning to major in sports management, said the event is a place for everyone to come together and have empowering confidence.
In addition to this event, the field hockey team also completes community service projects with Southern’s Day of Service and Relay For Life.
“We volunteer at a lot of 5K events,” McCombs said. “We do a lot of community service outside of just our school.”
This year’s event was held on behalf of the athletic department and Southern’s Office of Alumni Relations. Parents and legal guardians had to sign assumption of risk forms and were asked to remain on the premises throughout the entire event. 200 girls from grades one through eight participated in various activities run by the aforementioned student-athletes and coaches, according to the Southern athletic website.
Jay Moran, Southern’s athletic director, said the best part is “little girls are given seven to 10-minute sessions with our student-athletes and our student-athletes become role models to them.”
Moran reinforced that their are many opportunities for girls in college athletics and said “it is a great opportunity for us to showcase our student-athletes to our younger girls.”
He said the hope is they will want to get involved in a sport as they get older. Southern offers 10 NCAA Division II women’s sports in Cross Country, Basketball, Field Hockey, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Track and Field and Volleyball.
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications