The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student athletes attend National Girls & Women in Sports Day

Dr. Heidi Caruso Commins ‘94 discusses her time as a dual student-athlete. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Last Saturday, Lafayette hosted a National Girls & Women in Sports Day celebration that included an educational talk for the college’s female student-athletes as well as activities for young girls in the community.  

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), the organization that powers this national event, this year’s celebration was the 37th of its kind and is intended to inspire girls and women to be active in an effort to “realize their full power.” WSF believes that “the confidence, strength and character gained through sports participation are the very tools girls and women need to become strong leaders in sports and life.”

The day began with all of the female student athletes eating breakfast together and then attending a talk led by alumna Dr. Heidi Caruso Commins ‘94, who last year was recognized by the Patriot League as a “Trailblazer of Distinction.” Director of Athletics Sherryta Freeman introduced Commins before Big East Digital Network Correspondent Meghan Caffrey facilitated the discussion.

Commins detailed her experiences as a soccer and basketball player at Lafayette. During her time as a dual student-athlete, she was a Maroon Club Scholar-Athlete and earned All-Patriot League First-Team honors three times for soccer. At one point, she held NCAA records in basketball for most steals in a game (14), steals in a season (168) and career steals (532). 

Commins then discussed her professional career in the medical field and how Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, impacted her. 

“She inspired us as young female athletes entering the career field with a balanced liberal arts education,” junior lacrosse player Colleen McNamara said.

“I think our players take away was to take advantages of the opportunities and experiences Lafayette is providing,” women’s lacrosse Head Coach Katie McConnell wrote in an email.

After the talk, the teams broke off into the clinic portion of the day in Kamine Gym. Organized by McConnell, this involved all of the female sports and spirit teams except basketball, since they were warming up for their game, leading smaller group stations that introduced sports to younger girls around the Easton area.

“The clinic was an opportunity for local girls to participate in all the sports Lafayette has to offer. I think everyone enjoyed it! Some never played the sports they participated it and it was fun to watch everyone try something new,” McConnell wrote. “I think events like this are important because it helps provide opportunities to play a sport you may of not tried before and it gives our athletes the opportunity to give back to a sport that has given them so much.”

“It was cute to get lacrosse sticks in their hands, bop around the volleyball with everyone … It was just kind of in the spirit of Women in Sports Day,” McNamara said.

From there, the student-athletes gave the children pizza and T-shirts before heading to the women’s basketball game, exemplifying what McNamara called “female athletes supporting female athletes.” The team ended up winning 52-45 against Colgate thanks to the crowd’s reinforcement.

Overall, McNamara said that she loved how positively Commins discussed being a woman in sports despite the potential hardships they may face in this historically male-dominated industry.

“She always found that … there were a lot of positives of being a female athlete, especially on a team where there are leadership opportunities and chances to really grow and become best friends for life,” McNamara said.

Disclaimer: Colleen McNamara ’24 is a Sports staff writer and copy editor for The Lafayette. She did not contribute writing or editing to this story. 

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Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

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