The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Gold medalist speaks to women athletes

The power of pink was as strong as ever last Saturday.
More than 500 students, faculty and administrators filled Marillac Terrace for the 12th annual Women in Sports Day, an event held to celebrate the achievement of women’s athletics and to raise money for breast cancer research.

The majority of the people in attendance donned pink t-shirts in support of the cause.

“I think the biggest thing for us is not only recognizing what our students and administrators have done for this university, but to see everyone coming together,” said Dana Lezama, Student Government Inc. president.

“It’s not very often, that we can bring student athletes, regular students, and student leaders together. I think this is one of those events that unites this campus.”

Many members of the St. John’s community were honored for their contributions to St. John’s women’s sports, including Jill Christensen, director of equipment operations and senior associate athletic trainer, Gemma Alexander-Mozeak, St. John’s women’s tennis coach, Lucy Pesce, director of Leadership Development for student athletes, David Romeo, a representative of Nutraceuticals International, junior Renee Cloutier, a member of the St. John’s women’s golf team and SGI school spirit co-chairs Tami Telford and Christina Zaccarelli.

The program, sponsored by Student Life, LEADership Development, Women’s Basketball, SGI and Campus Activies, was headlined by Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. Softball pitcher, Jennie Finch, who served as the event’s keynote speaker.

“It’s a great time to be a woman, take pride in it and celebrate how far we’ve come,” she said during her speech. “We know that we have more ground to cover and more barriers to break down. We have still have a long way to go.”

Finch mentioned the experience that inspired in her a drive to win. She told a story about losing a game in college to Arizona State University while pitching for the University of Arizona and how she told her father afterwards that she never wanted to lose again. It was from this moment on, Finch said, that fueled her competitive desire to be a winner and helped her win 60 straight games as a pitcher in college.

Junior Samantha Songle said she was inspired by Finch’s speech.

“Hearing a speech like that, I think that it puts into perspective how many hardships and struggles we have to go through to be successful as a female,” she said. “Women like Jennie Finch are breaking down many barriers for females for the future.”
Mary Pelkowski, director of LEADership Development, praised Finch and her disposition.

“It was a tremendous honor to have Jennie Finch at this event,” she said. “I was struck by how humble she was and how honored she was to play and represent our country.”

According to Pelkowski, the Women in Sports day first started 12 years ago, with 50 people celebrating Title IX, a law passed requiring gender equality in participation and funding for women’s and men’s athletic programs.

The event has since evolved, she said, but still has not lost sight of its original message.

“We have been extremely blessed that over the last few years we have had Gold Medal Olympians serve as keynote speakers, from Rebecca Lobo, Michelle Smith, Carla Overbeck, Lisa Leslie and this year, Jennie Finch,” she said. “We have been honored to have and welcome these women to our University.”

Kim Barnes-Arico, coach of the St. John’s women’s basketball team said she was impressed with the turnout for the event.
“It was a great crowd,” she said. “It’s a great foundation [and] it’s a great day for our university and the community to be involved in today.”

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