National Girls and Women in Sports Day is celebrated by Belles Athletics with Girls From all Over the Community

Girls playing lacrosse with student-athletes.

More than 100 girls were on campus last week for Belles Athletics’ one-day sports clinic to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The Athletic Department hosted the event on Friday, February 2, for girls ages 6-12 from the local South Bend community. The free clinic offered participants the opportunity to play four of the nine sports offered by the College. In each 30-minute session, student-athletes and coaches instructed and cheered the girls on. Through this clinic, Saint Mary’s student-athletes support girls in improving their skills in the sports they love, empower girls to try new sports, and possibly discover a new one. 

Jackie Bauters ’04, head cross country coach and mother of two girls attending, looks forward to this event every year. She says the energy is high, and all the girls are excited to work with the Saint Mary’s student-athletes. The clinic provides a way for them to look up to someone and learn how to become confident in themselves and their sport, Bauters said. 

“It is so rewarding to see girls experiment with sports in a safe, non-pressured environment. There is no expectation to already know how to do it, or win, just really to have fun,” Bauters says. “My girls have participated every year they have been able to, and as much as they love participating in the sports, they love the interaction with the athletes.”

“Being able to have strong young women teach you is often an anomaly for these girls. It is so powerful to see strong, capable women doing sports.”

An autograph session at the end of the clinic offered girls the chance to meet their favorite student-athletes, something they will never forget. The girls run over and ask varsity players for their signatures. The clinic empowers them to dream big and imagine a future that may include playing at Saint Mary’s. 

February 6, 2024 

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