The University of Miami hosted its second annual Celebration of Women’s Athletics with a brunch followed by the women’s basketball team’s game against Florida State at the BankUnited Center on Sunday afternoon. The event kicked off Inauguration Week for new UM President Julio Frenk.
“We very deliberately chose to tip off inauguration week with athletics. And women’s athletics is a subject very dear to my heart,” Frenk said. “Athletics plays an integral role in the development of young women.”
Women’s basketball Head Coach Katie Meier spoke for all of Miami’s coaches about the function athletics plays in building confidence in student-athletes. “With accomplishment comes confidence. With confidence comes belief. And it has to be in that order,” Meier said. “I truly believe this: a confident woman can change the world.”
Miami, which became the first school to offer an athletic scholarship to a female student-athlete in 1973, honored 10 current female student-athletes at the brunch attended by approximately 270 people. Director of Athletics Blake James and Deputy Director of Athletics Jennifer Strawley introduced the 10 honorees, noting their accomplishments on the field as well as their numerous academic achievements.
“This is something that is truly special and differentiates the University of Miami from the rest of the country,” James said. “It really signifies the important role women’s athletics plays for our university. I’m thrilled with our ability to celebrate the women on campus.”
The 10 honorees were basketball guard Adrienne Motley, diver Kara McCormack, golfer Daniela Darquea, rower Sarah Aschebrock, goalkeeper Catalina Perez, swimmer My Fridell, tennis player Stephanie Wagner, weight thrower Tiffany Okieme, volleyball player Kalysta White and track and field jumper Alexis Wright.
“We want to award our student-athletes who go out in the community and are such fantastic representatives of this university,” said Strawley, who led the planning of the event. “And to celebrate our female student-athletes who don’t get the same spotlight that our men’s student-athletes might get on a regular basis.”
Wright, a senior who plans on attending medical school after graduating, talked about the crucial role her track career has played in her life. “Athletics has given me a platform and a chance to see myself in a new light,” Wright said. “Women’s athletics changed my life and I hope it can do the same for others.”