A gallery of photos from the event can be viewed here.
More than 650 female athletes from Cherokee County's six high schools participated in the county's annual celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), held Wednesday, February 6, at Woodstock High School. NGWSD recognizes the contributions female athletes have made in their sports, acknowledges the challenges they have overcome, and celebrates the positive influence of sports participation for girls and women everywhere, as well as the impact of Title IX legislation that guarantees equal access to athletics for females.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring athletic achievements and encouragement of female participation in sports. Cherokee County School District takes part in this special day by hosting its own event, which it has done since 2005.
"Athletic participation has shaped the lives of so many women across the country. Many females that grow up to have successful careers, attribute their success to their participation in athletics. Since Title IX, there's been real growth in the number of women who participate in sports, receive scholarships, and benefit from increased budgets," said event coordinator Tonya Sebring, Administrator on Special Assignment for Student Activities and Athletics. "There are more opportunities to compete at elite levels like the Olympics, World Championships and professional leagues. It has even expanded the opportunity for women to coach at these levels. How exciting is it to know that we now have females coaching in the NBA and the NFL?"
“This year’s National Theme is Lead her Forward ,” Sebring told the crowd. “For most of us, it is difficult to think about what it used to be like…we’ve all heard the stories…but just imagine….What would your life be like without an opportunity to play? Without your teammates? Or if you were on a team…, but had no uniforms.. or nowhere to practice or play?”
The program honors a coach each year for his/her contributions and support of female athletes. This year's recipient was Kerri Schmitt, head soccer coach at Creekview HS. Since she began coaching at Creekview, she has been named Cherokee County Coach of the Year three times. She also is a two-time Region Coach of the Year. Under her tutelage, the Lady Grizzlies have made multiple state playoff appearances, won two region titles, twice finished in the elite eight, and once in the final four. In 2010, her region championship team advanced to the finals in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state tournament and finished as the State Runner Up. That same year, Coach Schmitt was named the GHSA State Coach of the Year.
Student presenters reviewed the achievements of each school's female athletes and teams; those presenters were Elizabeth Ruban from Cherokee; Maddie Kitts from Creekview; Arianna Medina from Etowah; Blake Chumley from River Ridge; Anslee Day from Sequoyah; and Anna Bailey from Woodstock. For the first time, a female athlete from Special Olympics was recognized, and that was Maggie Tressler.
Each school also honored an alumna, an athlete of the year and a team of the year.
• Cherokee High School honored alumna Ali MacGillivary; Athlete of the Year Danielle O'Meara; and selected the competition cheer squad as Team of the Year.
• Creekview High School honored alumna Sydney Rumble; Athlete of the Year Hannah Fitzgerald; and selected Lady Grizzlies volleyball as Team of the Year.
• Etowah High School honored alumna Payton Donley; Athlete of the Year Tori Ridgeway; and selected Lady Eagle cross country as Team of the Year.
• River Ridge HS honored alumna Chanel Mosely; Athlete of the Year Kelly Popp ; and selected Lady Knights swimmers as Team of the Year.
• Sequoyah HS honored alumna Aleah Johnson; Athlete of the Year Ryelyn Wells; and Lady Chiefs Basketball as Team of the Year.
• Woodstock HS honored alumna Clara Young; Athlete of the Year Brynne Sumner; and selected the Wolverines’ fast-pitch softball as Team of the Year.
The event was attended and supported by high school principals and athletic directors, and School Board Members Patsy Jordan and Kelly Poole. Event sponsor was Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Georgia National Guard provided breakfast.