Photos by Mark Busch
Female athletes from all levels – high school to professional – are finally receiving the recognition they have always worked so hard for and deserved.
When it comes to fierce females in professional sports, it’s the women of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team who led the fight to resolve the pay gap between their team and their male counterparts that deserve praise.
At the end of February, the organization posted a statement on their website with news years in the making. “We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer.”
Basketball is also a popular sport for both men and women at the school and professional level. But, the WNBA is often overshadowed by the NBA teams. Recent news by YahooSports reports,
“The WNBA has closed on $75 million in funding that values the league and its teams at $1 billion, according to people familiar with the raise. The league said it is the largest-ever capital raise for a women’s sports property.” More money should bring more support, more advertisers, better players, more fans and ultimately, more popularity to the sport.
Local fans of female sports don’t have to look far to find teams that truly deliver. Nazareth’s line up of female sports teams is growing and achieving success in historic ways. This year in particular, Nazareth women’s sports have dominated.
To start, the class 3A State Champion Volleyball team had a record of 30-7, and took third in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. This is the first IHSA State Championship title earned by a Nazareth female sports team.
The team’s success was due to the hard work and dedication of the team. Member of the team sophomore Olivia Austin said,
“We worked super hard and maintained the same team goal of being ‘all in’ the entire season. This means we dedicated lots of time both inside and outside of volleyball to improving ourselves for the team.”
The Girls Basketball team also had an outstanding season. With their 33-3 record, the team came in second in the state as well as second in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. They were a thrill to watch and made Nazareth proud.
Not only did the team play well together, but they also made strong connections off of the court. Sophomore Danni Scully said, “Our team is one of the best I have been on and I have met some friends I will be friends with forever.”
Nazareth’s Competitive Dance team also took an amazing trip downstate. They placed top 6 at Sectionals in order to qualify for State.
The athletes on the Lacrosse team are many and mighty. This all female team attracted scores of players; for the 2022 season, with fifty girls in the program.
Many student athletes flocked to the Girls Cross Country team: this year there are over 40 on the roster. However, some argue not enough was done for the team. “I think the sport gets a lot of attention because they would always announce our times on the announcements but, I think there should be a little more done for girls’ teams as we don’t get recognized as much as boys,” sophomore MaryJane Zimmerman said.
Soccer is another sport that attracts a lot of female athletes. This year the team had over 50 girls involved. This is almost twice the size of last year’s Girls’ Soccer team. There is a lot of incoming potential for this sport with its recent growth.
Assistant Athletic Director Kim Connell takes pride in the success of Nazareth’s female sports teams, especially as a female in a traditionally male field. She said, “[The success] is great for Naz, especially the female athletes.”