The influence of Women in Athletics at Winona State University


Carolyn Hauschild

Third-year Sara Anderson competing in a match against Upper Iowa University. The start of the spring semester has brought the beginning of Tennis and other Winona State women’s sports like Track and Field, Gymnastics, and Softball.

Syerah Mulhern-Allred, Sports Editor

Women were not able to compete in the Olympics until 1900 and even then they were only 2.2 percent of all competitors and could only participate in sailing, golf, tennis and croquet. 

However, Title IX, a gender equity law, was not passed until 1972 and it was not until 1991 that the International Olympic Committee made it mandatory that all new Olympic sports were required to have a female component to them.  

This is why National Girls and Women in Sports Day is important, to celebrate how far women have come in the past 120 years of participation in sports, but there is still discrimination to be recognized as well.  

“When I was younger and in elementary school, when we would do fitness testing and only being 10-13 years old,” gymnast Ashley Roth said, “I would be told I was on steroids by my classmates, just because I was able to perform physically.” 

Roth is among a lot of impressive women athletes at Winona State, having scored a 9.100 on the bars at a WIAC dual meet on Jan. 20, marking the top spot for the Warriors.  

Also among gymnastics is Taryn Sellner, who tied fourth on balance beam last weekend at UW-Stout and Jessica Miley who has had quiet the freshman season, including tying for second at Stout.  

“Being a woman in sport makes me feel powerful because it shows that women can do sports and they can be good at it,” Sellner said. “They can be strong, and sports is not just for men, it’s for women as well.” 

Being in sports as a woman can prove to be a positive influence for younger girls, especially through the camps that our sports teams do for younger girls in sports. 

Third-year guard Mattie Schimenz against an Augustana University defender on Feb. 3 2023. (Carolyn Hauschild)

Just this past weekend at the Lewis Invite, sprinter Shereen Vallabouy hit a school record for the 400m at 52.87 seconds, winning the event and keeping up with her NCAA Division II indoor 400m champion.  

Kaylee Beyer also set a school record and came in first in the one mile with a time of 4:50.19 and earned a runner up finish in the 800m.  

The infamous Warrior 4×400 also won the invite, which consists of Vallabouy, Regan Feit, Alyssa Latson and Brooklyn Schyvinck. Schyvinck also took runner-up in the 200m. 

Finally, McKenna Taylor took third place in the 3000m and Xana Leum took third in the 60m hurdles. 

Overall, the Warrior Track team is an exemplary example of women’s empowerment in sports, along with all of our other teams on campus.  

Along with being athletically inclined, Warrior women are also great at balancing sports and athletics to keep up GPAs in difficult majors. 

“I just try to stay ahead on classes doing stuff before I need to usually so I’m not waiting until the last minute,” tennis player Rachel Kelly said. “If I need to schedule practices at a different time with coach so I can be at class or be at clinical, just making sure that you stay on top and stay ahead of everything.” 

The Myles Brand award is given to NSIC athletes that have a GPA of 3.75 or higher and 23 Winona State athletes got the award this year, 16 of those being women.  

Those included Megan Flom, Cori Meyers, Missy Greco, Jamie Kwon, Kara Schramel, Jessica Smith, Brooke Holloway, Allison Hendrickson, Samantha Kaye, Michaela Pryor, Maddy Pietz and Kendall Zeman.  

While most of those are graduates since the award can only be achieved once, it is very impressive to have so many women from Winona State represented in such an honorable way.  

“I think being a woman in sports comes with being a role model and knowing that you set an example for not only the people that you’re around,” Catcher Cammi Riemer said, “But all the people that look up to you and just being the best that you can be for yourself and the people you love.” 

Not only our athletes, but our athletic department has a lot of amazing women that work hard to make Warrior Athletics the best that it can be.   

This includes Melanie Brundson, Associate Athletic Director, Jill Bratberg, Assistant AD for Development, Breana Larsen, Assistant AD for Compliance, Danica Perner, Assistant AD for Student-Athlete Services and Stacey Czaplewski, the head Athletic Trainer on campus.  

There are also three head coaches that are women on campus: Ana Wurtz (Basketball), Dr. Stephanie Geislinger (Gymnastics) and Jill Leibforth (Soccer) along with several assistant coaches. 

Athletics would not be possible without all the coaches, athletic staff and athletic trainers that support our athletes. 

Our women in athletics at Winona State deserve to be celebrated not just on National Girls and Women in Sports day, but every day.  

Check The Winonan every week to keep up to date with women’s sports on campus and what the Warriors are up to every week.