Pat Longobardi, Sports Editor:
Southern hosted its annual “Girls and Women in Sports Day” event on Saturday, March 12 at Moore Field House.
For over a decade, young girls from around the state have come each year to Southern’s campus to participate in various sports activities while being coached by Southern’s women student-athletes.
“We try to evaluate it each year to make it better,” said Michael Kobylanski, Associate Director of Athletics and Communications at Southern.
“Girls and Women in Sports Day” has become a growing tradition at Southern and is becoming more popular each year, said Kobylanski.
“We are extremely excited to have our largest turnout with 250 youngsters participating,” said Kobylanski.
This year had a record-breaking registration turnout. Registration had been reached and closed on Feb. 23.
According to Kobylanski, participants came from 28 different cities from as far as Salem, Thompson, and Canton. Seventy percent of the participants came from the New Haven County.
The sponsors for this year’s event were the Southern Connecticut State University Athletics Department, the Office of Alumni Relations, Comcast, Bruegger’s Bakery-Café and Coca-Cola.
The event had a bright, sunny day with temperatures near 50 degrees. The event began at 9:45 a.m. at Moore Field House with registration and a complimentary breakfast, courtesy of Bruegger’s.
Participants then took part in a variety of sports at different stations from 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. before having a complimentary lunch.
The participants had an opportunity to meet with and receive autographs from all of the Southern student-athletes in attendance, who were their instructors.
Southern’s interim President, Stanley Battle, also made a special appearance to have a discussion with the children during this year’s event.
“It is nice to see the athletes coach, and put themselves on that side to teach someone like an eight-year-old,” said Southern women’s lacrosse head coach, Kelley Frassinelli. “The student-athletes enjoy working with kids who might not have exposure to these types of things.”
There were 10 women’s sports represented at Southern for the event. “I enjoy it, and it gives kids a taste of some sports skills that not many expect like gymnastics, track and lacrosse, which are different from typical sports,” said Southern women’s basketball junior guard, Alex Fiola.
“The little girls spend time with all different athletes and the parents are also there watching and cheering their children on. It is just a great environment.”
The event last year took place on Jan. 30. The participants took part in the activities followed by seeing a Southern women’s basketball game.
“We are also pleased to have different youth organizations coming to the event and we are extremely grateful for our sponsors,” said Kobylanski. “Overall, the student-athletes will get the experience of giving back to the community through their different skills. In addition this year, we have added a new station when you have the opportunity to take your picture with Otis the Owl.”
Frassinelli credited how far this event has come, and said the turnout can only get better. “It is just the exposure and getting the word out,” said Frassinelli. “If this keeps growing, we might have to look for a bigger venue.”
“We [athletes] enjoy doing community service and giving back,” said Fiola. “We have experience and we know what to do. I’ve talked to other athletes and we enjoy teaching aspects of each sport and to have fun.”