During an intermission of the Seton Hall men’s basketball game against DePaul on Feb. 18, female-student athletes got their due with the faithful in the Prudential Center honoring them in what was the culmination of a two-week long stretch of honoring women in sports.
Feb. 7 marked the 32nd Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and the state of New Jersey conducted its celebration at SHU for the third straight year. The festivities were held on campus on Feb. 4, with one female athlete from each high school honored by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJAIAW).
In addition to honoring high school athletes, the NJAIAW handed down awards to female college athletes. Seton Hall’s NJAIAW Woman of the Year award winner was golfer Cassie Pantelas, following softball player Lauren Fischer last year.
The celebration started with a brunch in the Richard & Sheila Regan Fieldhouse for all honorees and finished with a sold-out women’s basketball game, where they were honored again.
Seton Hall’s female athletes were also honored with a video and on-court tribute during the men’s basketball game at the Prudential Center on Feb. 18, something that senior associate athletics director for compliance Rachelle Paul led the charge in. She also holds the title of senior woman administrator.
“We really just wanted to recognize and celebrate the contribution that our female student-athletes make to our athletic department in honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day,” Paul said.
“It is definitely awesome to be a female recognized at a male event,” Seton Hall volleyballs’ Amanda Rachwal said.
Elizabeth Sottung, another member of the volleyball team, added her perspective on what it was like to be honored at such a well-attended event.
“I think it is pretty cool, because, usually the boys get the first things in the higher hands,” Sottung said. “So, to be honored at an event as big as this is nice; and it is really good to be noticed for something.”
Paul does not struggle in relating to being a female student-athlete, as she played both lacrosse and soccer for Canisius College. She credits her time and participation as a student-athlete to where she is today.
“The lessons that you learn from being on a team are, to me, far more important and long-lasting and impactful than some of those that you will learn in a classroom,” Paul said. “So, for me personally, this is amazing.”
For Paul and all the female student-athletes, their commitments to Seton Hall have been equal to the men, and their spot in the spotlight is equally deserving.
“We really just wanted to congratulate them and celebrate them for all they do for the University,” Paul said. “And for the strides that we have made as females.”
Jose Feliciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFeliciano1101.