“Lead Her Forward” is the slogan for National Girls & Women in Sports Day, a national observance that recognizes the importance of fair play, awareness of Title IX and equal opportunity in sports. On Saturday, Feb. 2, the Knox Athletic Department hosted a brunch for Knox female student-athletes and coaches to celebrate this day. The event was held to honor the victories and successes women have achieved in sports, and especially to celebrate Prairie Fire athletes’ accomplishments.
Speakers included: President Teresa Amott, Director of Athletics Daniella Irle, Assistant Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator Lexie Vernon, Knox College Title IX Coordinator Kim Schrader, and recent Knox Alum Abby Owens Kozak ‘12. This is the first year that Knox has held a brunch for just the female athletes.
Irle, who is the first female Director of Athletics at Knox, believes the presence of women in sports is important.
“For National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Kim [Schrader], Lexie [Vernon] and I all agreed we had to do something to celebrate our female student athletes,” Irle said. “It is important to talk about how far we have come, but there is still much work to be done.”
She also spoke about how fulfilling it’s been to be in such a high powered position as a woman.
“My mother’s generation dreamed about having this type of job. My generation hoped we could do it. The generation coming through now, they know they can do it,” Irle said.
President Amott stated that she is excited to see the women continue to lead on the courts and fields, in the classroom, on campus and within the Galesburg communities.
“It’s really been fun to see the rosters grow and women become champions,” Amott told TKS in an email.
Amott is the first female president at Knox College. When asked for advice for women wishing to advance themselves, Amott had some encouraging words.
“Believe in yourself but also be grateful for all those who have helped or supported you and pay it forward by helping and supporting others. That way we all can rise!” Amott said.
Senior women’s soccer player Rosie Medina reflected on her time as a player on the women’s soccer team. She commented that being an athlete at Knox has helped her because of the connections to people that are inspiring to her, such as Vernon, athletic trainer Shana Sewick and Irle, saying she looks up to them.
Freshman volleyball and softball player Kylie Wolf thinks playing at Knox is very empowering because of its history of opportunities for women.
“Hearing Daniella and Lexie talk about the history was so cool because we have come so far, but we still have places to go,” Wolf said.
Junior soccer player Leah Aspinwall talked about one of her favorite memories thus far in her collegiate career. It took place during her freshman year in 2016, as she describes it.
“During the Midwest Conference Tournament women’s soccer championship game, the whole football team came over to our field to cheer us on with all their football gear still on. They finished their game early and wanted to support the women’s soccer team,” Aspinwall said.
She realized then how tightly knit our athletic teams are.
Aspinwall said that as an athlete, she loves the support she gets from other teams on campus regardless of whether they are male or female.