CCSD female wrestlers were recognized with the 2023 Trailblazer award
More than 500 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 Monday, January 30, 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 who 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, Supervisor for Student Activities and Athletics. "The National Girls and Women in Sports Day Coalition knows that educating the public about the power of this legislation is critical to its enforcement. The more you understand Title IX and the rights it protects, the more you can advocate for others not as fortunate as us."
The NGWSD program honors a coach each year for his/her contributions and support of female athletes. This year's recipient was Julie Crowe, assistant principal and athletic director at Woodstock HS. Coach Crowe was acknowledged for her 20 years as coach of the Lady Wolverines basketball program, with a 25-0 perfect season and multiple trips to the state playoffs.
Woodstock HS Athletic Director Julie Crowe, right, was named the Honorary Coach of the Year. CCSD Supervisor for Student Athletics and Activities Tonya Sebring, left, presented the award.
Sebring then presented the Trailblazer Award to CCSD's 18 female wrestlers, who have been competing in a male-dominated sport; Georgia High School Association added a girls bracket to the state wrestling championships this year, expanding the sport for female athletes.
From Cherokee: Zoe Parris, Maddie Morris and Savannah Chao
From Creekview: Emma Gunter, Isabelle Seargeant, Ariel Maicon
From Etowah: Jada White
From River Ridge: Nicole Coutinho, Alanna Garner, Evelyn Koester, Kimberly Rivera and Alyssa Roberts
From Sequoyah: Marissa Carlisle and Carly Todd
From Woodstock: Haley Burgess, Olivia Vos Costa, Krista Pruitt, Zoe Kirkland
Student presenters reviewed the achievements of each school's female athletes and teams; those presenters were Julianna Brown from Cherokee; Brooke Wildes from Creekview; Sydney Bray from Etowah; Ansley Westbrook and Emily Paulson from River Ridge; Emma Brinkman from Sequoyah; and Jesal Patel from Woodstock.
Each school also honored an alumna, an athlete of the year and a team of the year (based on 2022 season).
• Cherokee High School honored alumna Lauren Mullinax; Athlete of the Year Lexi Pavese; and selected Lady Warriors Fast-Pitch Softball as Team of the Year.
• Creekview High School honored alumna Alivia Mynes (who was tragically lost in a car crash in 2022, Jessica Estes presented on her behalf); Athlete of the Year Anslie Pettit; and selected Lacrosse and Competition Cheer as Teams of the Year.
• Etowah High School honored alumna Courtney Atkinson; Athlete of the Year Astrid Medina; and selected Girls Cross Country as Team of the Year.
• River Ridge HS honored alumna Gabbi Phillips; Athlete of the Year Mataya Gayle; and selected Soccer as Team of the Year.
• Sequoyah HS honored alumna Ashlyn Carlton; Athlete of the Year Laurel Blase; and Lady Chiefs Volleyball and Basketball as Teams of the Year.
• Woodstock HS honored alumna Kasey Lawton; Athlete of the Year Hannah Obenauf; and selected Lady Wolverines’ Volleyball as Team of the Year.
The event was attended and supported by high school principals and athletic directors, and School Board Members Kyla Cromer and Dr. Susan Padgett-Harrison. Event sponsor was Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; the athletes also heard from Scott Peterson with Positive Athlete Georgia.
ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
Clockwise from top left: Cherokee HS, Creekview HS, River Ridge HS, Woodstock HS, Sequoyah HS, and Etowah HS