USD hosted its second annual women’s sports clinic in honor of the 32nd annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day on Saturday.
Athletes from USD’s golf, soccer, softball, volleyball and track and field programs set up various stations for young women of all ages to participate in throughout the day. Over 100 participants attended the event.
Senior softball infielder Taylor Steinfeldt said this event gave USD a chance to help the Vermillion community.
“I think this is a great event for the community in general,” Steinfeldt said. “It shows that we support the community and that the community supports us as well.”
Even though this event is only in its second year, Steinfeldt noticed increased interest after last year’s clinic.
“It’s good news that they all came back, so it shows that they enjoyed what they had last year,” she said.
The women at the event managed the stations, ranging from hurdles to practice with golf swings and setting volleyballs.
Senior distance runner Nicole Schmidt said she enjoyed the event because it gave girls an opportunity to try out different sports.
“I think this event is important because it gives all the girls a chance to focus on a lot of different events throughout the day and get to see what a lot of different sports are about,” Schmidt said. “The engagement with the older girls is really important as role models, and as leaders, and just to ask questions and have fun.”
Anne Rasmussen, sophomore defensive specialist for the volleyball team, said sports have taught her important life lessons.
“Sports have taught me a lot about teamwork, and how to work with others, but also a lot about myself and how I can stretch my limits and see what I am able to do,” Rasmussen said.
Junior midfielder Kellee Willer said many of the lessons she learned have come from participating in sports.
“Commitment, hard work, perseverance, honestly every virtue that I’ve learned has come from sports,” Willer said. “It helps you get over adversity, mental hardships and leaning on other people to accomplish great things.”
In the world of professional sports, women have lots of role models like Serena Williams, Katie Ledecky and Sylvia Fowles, she said.
“I think that’s so cool because I think, we grow up wanting to be princesses and all that, and now we have these figures that we can be like,” Willer said. “Just like the men, I can be a professional athlete.”
Senior setter Brittany Jessen said the success of professional female athletes will help increase the public’s overall enthusiasm for women’s sports.
“The successes that women have had in sports has been really really great to see progressing, more people watching, more people interested and excited about it,” Jessen said. “I think it can only go up from here, and it’s a great platform that we have here at USD to be able to affect these girls.”
Schmidt said the growth of women’s sports might be connected to people’s acknowledgement that women are as talented as men.
“We’re really starting to eliminate the taboo of ‘boys can do more, boys can lift more, boys are faster, boys are stronger,'” she said. “We’re really starting to approach sports on an equal playing field, which is really fun to see.”