A gallery of photos from the event can be viewed here.
More than 700 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, February 3, at Cherokee 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. Last night, if you watched the Superbowl, you witnessed history in the making…. as the San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers was the first female to coach in the Superbowl!"
“A powerful movement we celebrate annually, National Girls and Women in Sports Day continues to honor the many ways sports push girls and women to achieve excellence and realize their boundless potential,” said Sebring. “This year’s theme is a continuation of the charge...’Lead her Forward.’”
The NGWSD program honors a coach each year for his/her contributions and support of female athletes. This year's recipient was Lorri Little of Sequoyah HS. Coach John Edwards from Sequoyah made the presentation, praising Little for her years of excellence at the helm of volleyball, basketball, track and then flag football at the school. Coach Little’s achievements include a slow pitch softball state championship which coaching at Roswell High School in the 1990s, multiple region championships in track, along with state and area championships in volleyball at Sequoyah. This year she led the school’s first girls’ flag football team to the county championship and the state playoffs at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Sebring then presented the Trailblazer Award to the Sequoyah Girls Flag Football team, after recognizing all the amazing Cherokee County athletes who took on the challenge of starting one of the first flag football programs in Georgia this year. “A trailblazer is the first person (or persons) to do something or go where no other has gone before,” said Sebring. “Trailblazers show others that something is possible and inspire others to do what they thought was unthinkable.”
Student presenters reviewed the achievements of each school's female athletes and teams; those presenters were Emma Kirkman from Cherokee; Ashley Schwerzler from Creekview; Natalie Harper from Etowah; Chloe Bedora and Paige Ewald from River Ridge; Tatum Dondanville and Macy Williams from Sequoyah; and Jessica Watson from Woodstock.
Each school also honored an alumna, an athlete of the year and a team of the year.
• Cherokee High School honored alumna Autumn Bible; Athlete of the Year Hope Jiles; and selected Lady Warriors basketball as Team of the Year.
• Creekview High School honored alumna Kristian Graham Cornelius; Athlete of the Year Emily Wilkie; and selected Slow Pitch Softball and Competition Cheer as Teams of the Year.
• Etowah High School honored alumna Taylor Kimber; Athlete of the Year Savannah Bray; and selected Fast Pitch Softball as Team of the Year.
• River Ridge HS honored alumna Bayleigh Lott; Athlete of the Year Gabbi Phillips ; and selected Softball and Volleyball as Teams of the Year.
• Sequoyah HS honored alumna Emily Ryan; Athlete of the Year Annelyssa Destin; and Lady Chiefs Volleyball as Team of the Year.
• Woodstock HS honored alumna Ashton Sutton; Athlete of the Year Haley Roe; and selected the Wolverines’ Competition Cheer squad 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 Patsy Jordan. Event sponsors were Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Georgia National Guard; and Orange Theory fitness.