Inspiring The Next Generation

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Girls from the community came to learn and play with Pacific’s Women’s athletes 

 Support for women’s sports begins at a young age, and Pacific is doing its part to encourage local girls to participate in athletic activities. Throughout her life, Professor Jennifer Bhalla has been involved with sports in some capacity, whether as a player or coach. Each year she has one of her students pick this event as their senior capstone project. 

   On Tuesday, February 2, Pacific University celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day. There was no entry fee for any girl between the ages of 6 and 13 who wanted to attend the event, where Pacific University’s female athletes taught a range of sports in the field house—and afterwards, the girls were invited to cheer on the Pacific Women’s basketball team after the event with free tickets. 

   It was a circus of fun: Girls were running around with lacrosse sticks, juggling soccer balls, and grounding softballs. Beyond the skill development, though, was the objective of developing self-esteem and, by working collegiate female athletes, potentially following in their footsteps. 

   Brooke Geber-Perham, a junior on the track team, instructed the girls in her event, the shot put. She said it was awesome to teach the girls her event as it’s not something most girls would consider to try right away because it is not as popular as other mainstream sports.  

   “I had so much fun and it was sweet to see girls from the community try new sports,” explained Geber-Perham. “We brought lighter balls and then let the girls feel how heavy a full shot put is.” 

   Each girl was encouraged to try out as many different sports as they wished. They went from working on hand-eye coordination with the lacrosse team to playing penny tag with the women’s soccer team in the span of a few minutes. The women’s soccer team organized a scrimmage and let the girls shoot on their own star forward, Julia Fechter. A group of five other first-year players, including Kya Kearns, volunteered together. 

   “It made me feel joyous watching all the little girls come and play soccer with us,” explained Kearns. “This event made younger girls feel special and I saw the spark come back in my teammates’ eyes. There was a sense of relief, that we could all just be there and have fun in the sport we choose to play and love. I loved every moment of it, with my teammates and the young girl athletes.”

Evelyn Isiordia, a senior majoring in Kinesiology, chose this event as her capstone project and had over 60 girls show up which is the largest turn out in girls since Pacific has started this event. 

“For my capstone I chose to focus more on the psychological side of motivation and support systems an athlete requires to succeed,” Isiordia. “Our goal is just to highlight exactly what the goal of NGWSD is, which is to call attention to the accomplishments and progression of female athletes and their battle for equality and opportunities in sports. Getting these girls excited to be in sports is just the first step to that.”


Major: Journalism

Hometown: Mesa, Arizona

Hobbies: soccer, track, being outside, hiking, writing

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