WIAC Celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day
Rachel Pukall
rpuka198@uwsp.edu

The 27th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day was held February 6th. The purpose of Women in Sports Day is to promote awareness and support for females who are currently competitive in sports and to grow the women’s game.

Stacey White, the head women’s volleyball coach, says it is a day to reflect on women who have worked so hard to pave the way for females to have the opportunity to participate in sports.

“Sports is such a big part of my life, and I could not imagine my life without it, so I think this day really helps remind women how far we have come in sports and how fortunate we are to have these opportunities,” said White.

Ann Ninnemann, the head women’s hockey coach, thinks it is a great way to encourage females to be a part of sports.

“Athletics and sports can offer many life lessons women won’t get elsewhere. Competition, independence, work ethic, teamwork and leadership are a few key examples to what women can learn and develop while participating in sports,” Ninnemann said.

White would agree.

“I enjoy seeing each individual grow in areas outside of their sport as a result of the confidence and skills they gain through their participation in volleyball,” White said.

Women’s volleyball participation has been increasing each year with the success of the U.S. women in beach volleyball and hard court volleyball in the past decade.

“Volleyball’s popularity has also increased as well, making it a very fun sport to be involved in,” said White.

Participation in women’s hockey has also increased.

“The women’s game of hockey has definitely grown over the years. The quality of the game has also improved. On the other hand, there are many people out there who don’t give their children the opportunity to play the game because ‘it’s too expensive.’ Hockey is a great game for both males and females to participate in and learn many core values that will last a lifetime,” said Ninnemann.

Annie Wetter, the women’s faculty athletic representative, says that since she was a kid, women’s involvement in athletics has grown tremendously.

“Women are showing that they’re as competitive and interested in athletics as men. They enjoy the college and life experience just as much and benefit from it,” Wetter said.

Wetter also serves as a resource for student athletes who feel pressured balancing academics and athletics.

“Some students that aren’t involved in sports don’t realize how much of a challenge it is to balance out athletics and academics. I’m here for students to talk to when they have scheduling conflicts or when they feel pressured,” Wetter said.

White believes that women’s sports will continue to grow in its popularity. Wetter hopes that someday women won’t need a special day to be noticed and that Women in Sports Day will just be a reflection of history.

“I think Women in Sports Day has made a difference in bringing awareness to sports on the women’s side and has helped people appreciate how far we have come and the direction we still need to go in the future,” White said.

Ninnemann agrees.

“I encourage more people to get involved and raise awareness that women’s athletics still has room to grow and improve with continued support and advocacy,” Ninneman said.