Manhattan Athletics Hosts National Women and Girls in Sports Day for Local Aspiring Female Athletes 

Manhattan’s women’s lacrosse team teaching the girls how to throw, catch, and cradle with a lacrosse stick at the National Girls and Women in Sports Day Event. MADDIEMULKIGAN/COURTESY

By: Maddie Mulkigian, Senior Writer

Immediately following Manhattan College’s women’s basketball’s senior day and blow-out win against Saint Peter’s University, the Jaspers hosted National Girls and Women in Sports Day for young aspiring female athletes in Riverdale. 

Saturday was a great day to be a Lady J as all of Manhattan’s women’s teams created skills and drills for kids to learn about all eight female sports offered at Manhattan: lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, rowing, volleyball, basketball and track & field.  

After just celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX at Thursday night’s women’s basketball game, the National Girls and Women in Sports Day event not only allowed Manhattan the opportunity to celebrate its past and current Lady J’s, but also the young girls who aspire to be an athlete in the future.

This day is especially important to Athletic Director, Marianne Reilly, who played on the first Varsity women’s basketball team at Manhattan. Each women’s program has come a long way from her time attending Manhattan and National Girls and Women in Sports Day is definitive proof of that. 

“It’s passing the torch,” Reilly said. “When they see it, they can believe it and I never had this kind of environment when I was growing up. If you played sports, you played with the guys, so it’s just an awesome thing. The other day when I had some women that came before me and those that I’ve played with and then to be surrounded by all the current student-athletes, it just made me realize how this has all gone full circle in so many ways.” 

This day is a celebration for all female athletes, whether retired, collegiate, or just learning, but it is also the perfect opportunity for young girls to try a variety of sports to see if they like something that they’ve never seen before.

“They’re going to do things that they haven’t done before like lacrosse,” Reilly said. “They’re not going to be proficient maybe by the time they leave, but it may at least spark an interest to want to pick up the sport or learn more about it.” 

Gia Matteo, one of the young girls who attended the event, said she was excited to try each of the skills and drills provided, and told The Quadrangle which was her favorite sport of the day.

“My favorite part of today was probably the track,” Matteo said. “There’s a lot of movement and I had fun today.”

Draddy was turned into a female athlete’s playground with access to the rowing machines, target shooting with the softball team, sharks and minnows with a soccer ball, serving practice with the volleyball team, and so much more. Not only did young girls have the opportunity to try these sports, but they were also able to spend time chatting and learning with Division I athletes. Manhattan’s event provided these girls with everything from equipment to incredible role models. 

“When I was growing up, everything was for boys,” mother Charlene said. “Now you guys open up to show them that they can see all of the other sports that they might be interested in. It’s good to see them enjoying it, too.” 

The noise, energy, and excitement that filled Draddy Gymnasium were infectious. One thing that National Girls and Women in Sports Day proved is that the future of female sports is in good hands. Maybe one day, some of those girls in the crowd today will be hosting this same event while wearing their own Jasper Athletics gear. “I think that when little girls can look up to athletes that have made it at a Division I school, I think that is very special and just knowing that I can contribute and all of the Jasper women at Manhattan College can contribute to that in their lives is something really special and beautiful,” senior swimmer Teddy Segmuller said. “It means a lot.”