Celebrating Women’s History Month: female student-athletes share their stories

Published: Last Updated on

I became interested in playing sports at a young age, and I wanted to do something that got me moving and got me excited to be a part of a team with other people. I didn’t think that choosing track and field would have stuck with me all the way to college, but I’m glad it did. My parents and I decided that I should try track in middle school, which is where I started. Throughout high school, I was able to win some of my high school indoor meets and ended up securing two indoor hurdle records. During my senior year of high school, my indoor and outdoor track season got canceled due
to COVID-19. 

I wasn’t very passionate about continuing with running in college until my senior year got taken away. I felt like I needed one more chance to be able to run in order to feel satisfied. I got an opportunity to come on a University of Indianapolis college visit and meet with the Director of Track and Field Scott Fangman on the same day. I felt like I knew I wanted to come here and run after that day. The conversation with Fangman helped me realize that maybe I was good enough to continue to run in college and hopefully show my full potential. Choosing to come to UIndy prior to my visit was not my first choice, but I am very glad that it became my final choice.

Photo by Jacob Walton Sophomore Lindsey Wormuth finishes in second place in the 60-meter hurdles at the Indianapolis Winter Break Classic on Dec.11, 2021 in the ARC. According to UIndy Athletics, Wormuth finished the race in 9.31 seconds.

My favorite thing about being an athlete is being able to compete, as well as visiting other schools. Being able to compete every weekend against girls who push you to go faster and train harder than ever is something that I looked forward to. Visiting another school is also very exciting. While our facility at the University of Indianapolis is nice and I am happy to have it, being able to look at other facilities to see where the teams train is something to be excited about as well because training styles at other universities can be different. Being an athlete allows you to meet new people who are interested in the same things you are. With track, I have been able to meet some of my best friends while also running and getting better at my sport. Throughout my career, the workouts got harder and wanting to be faster became more of something that was achievable to me. Becoming better was easier because of the coaches that want you to succeed for meets. Being a female college athlete can feel intimidating and overwhelming at some points if you are in a male dominated sport. Coming here, the first people I met on the team were males. I was intimidated being thrown in with a team where it was majority males. Throughout my time on the team, I became less intimidated because they started to become my friends.

My experience has been amazing. I feel like I have learned and improved so much from working with my teammates everyday because they push me harder than in high school. Having a good experience as a college athlete has been a gift because everyone motivates each other no matter what. Celebrating being a female athlete during Women’s History Month is very important. There are so many women out there who have overcome obstacles to be where they are now. The women who have families and children but still have an athletic career are the women I looked up to when I was little. My advice to female athletes is to never let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. No matter what sport you play, there will always be someone who will doubt you, but don’t let what other people think or say affect your mental attitude or will to play sports out of high school.

by Lindsey Wormuth | Editorial Assistant

Throughout my entire life, one thing has always been a constant for me: sports. Both of my parents shared their passion for sports with my older brothers and I from a young age. They had already bought me my first basketball before I was even born. The majority of my childhood was spent either going to soccer tournaments to watch my brother or at my own softball, soccer or basketball games. When we weren’t at games or practices, we would watch college games on TV. This presence of sports did not change when I got to high school, as I continued to play soccer and basketball and started throwing on the track team my sophomore year. I think I can count on one hand the number of times during my high school career that I didn’t have to go to a practice or game after school. Because sports had been a major part of my life, it wasn’t something that I just wanted to give up after high school was over. I had talked to a couple of coaches from smaller Division III schools but it wasn’t until the last week of April of my senior year of high school that I reached out to Throws Coach Matthew Royer and Director of Track and Field Scott Fangman about being a walk-on for the track team at the University of Indianapolis. They answered within the next few days and I made my choice to come be a part of the team in
the fall. 

I was not really sure what to expect when I went to my first practice with the team because I had never actually met any of the coaches or my teammates until that day. However, I can say that the dynamic of the throwing team is by far the best of any team that I have been on in my life. It was a bit intimidating at first because the men’s team was double the size of the women’s team, but what I have learned and really enjoy is that the divide between both teams really only exists in competition, meaning that we are just like one big team. The men’s and women’s team practice the same, we do the same lifts in the weight room and we are all coached the same way. Any guy on the throwing team is just as much of a teammate to me as any girl on the team, and we support each other in the
same way.

Photo by Jacob Walton Freshman MaKenna Maschino throws 12.75 meters in her first collegiate meet. She improved that mark to 14.75 throughout the season, qualifying for the GLVC Championship. She finished in 11th in her appearance.

One challenge I face personally, and that many other female throwers face that I feel is not talked about as much as it should be, is body image issues. Most of the sport is about being strong and, in most cases, in order to be able to throw farther, it is almost crucial to bulk up and put on weight. This in particular is something I really struggle with because society is not really accepting of more muscular women, as it is seen as less feminine. While this factor does bother me from time to time, I care way more about getting better at a sport that I enjoy way more than I care more about what society thinks that I “should” look like as a woman.

I think it is important to celebrate female athletes and being a female athlete because it gives the next generation of young girls women to look up to. I know a big part of why I wanted to be so involved in sports as a young child is because I grew up watching women playing sports on TV. I would watch them and want to be just like them, so I think it is important to celebrate these women because they inspire the next generation and that generation will inspire the generations after them.

by MaKenna Maschino | Photo Editor

Recommended for You