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The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Celebrating NGWSD, Highlighting GU Female Student-Athletes

Megan Revell, Sports Editor, The Gannon Knight

February 16, 2024/Midnight

Erie, Pa., –Wednesday, February 7 served as the 38th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGSWD). NGSWD was established in 1987, originally in honor of Olympic volleyball player and dedicated sports equality activist Flo Hyman. The day has since evolved into celebrating and recognizing the national attention towards elite women athletes and female sports as a whole. The Women’s Sports Foundation powers NGSWD and celebrates its 50thanniversary.

Cristina Czyrka is the Coordinator of Student-Athlete Development and Compliance Assistant at Gannon University. She was an accomplished athlete on the University at Buffalo Swim and Dive team before receiving her master’s at Grand Valley State University and now working with student-athletes here at Gannon.

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“Athletics play a large role in my life. I grew up swimming and knew I wanted to continue for as long as possible. I swam at the University at Buffalo for college and knew I wanted to keep working with student-athletes. From there I found my current career working in athletics. I love being able to watch and develop student-athletes into their best selves” (Czyrka).

When asked about her thoughts on the importance of celebrating women’s sports and even women in sports, Czyrka replied, “It is important to celebrate women in sports because it has only been a short amount of time that women have been able to participate in sports. Having equal opportunities for females in sports is huge. This is why it is so important to celebrate it because it has only been possible for a short amount of time. I also think it’s important to celebrate it because women in sports have had to face a lot of adversity before. Some female athletes have had to compete against men because there were not enough in the sport to compete against.”

Sam Pirosko, a 6th-year senior forward on the Gannon Women’s Basketball team has had an exciting career here for the Golden Knights. Pirsoko has been named an honorable mention WBCA All-American for two straight seasons, as well as being named the 2022-2023 D2CCA Atlantic Region Player of the Year and the PSAC West Athlete of the Year. Recently, Pirosko scored her 2000th career point in early February against Edinboro. She finished the rival game with 27 points, and 10 rebounds and helped lead the dominant Golden Knights to a 57-54 victory.

Pirosko grew up playing several sports, including volleyball, softball, and of course basketball. “I always wanted to play a sport in college. I wasn’t sure which sport, but my high school basketball coach pushed me and really helped me get a scholarship at Gannon” (Pirosko).

“I think so many moments throughout my basketball career have affected my life. Basketball has made me more confident on and off the court as well as helped me develop some leadership skills. – I’d like to thank this year’s team for following me as a leader and truly being all-in to the Gannon culture. We wouldn’t be where we are without that commitment” (Pirosko).

Caroline Stevens is a junior attacker on the Gannon University Women’s Lacrosse team. She has been playing lacrosse since she was 10 years old, playing three years of varsity lacrosse for her high school. While at Gannon during her sophomore year, Stevens suffered a knee injury. “If anything, it prepared me for the future in the sense that things don’t always come easy. It made me have to work to push through the pain and make it through the season, but it taught me perseverance” (Stevens).

“I am most looking forward to making playoffs this year as well as taking the field with my teammates once again. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. There is no better feeling than being successful after all the hard work that we put in” (Stevens).

Stevens states that her parents are her main inspiration for continuing her athletic career and pursuing her dreams both academically and athletically.

“When young girls see collegiate female athletes succeeding, they believe that they too can be successful, giving them females to look up to- this also helps in advocating for fair treatment and opportunities in athletics” (Stevens).

5th-year base, mid-level, and tumbler Ashley Fallgren is a part of the Gannon Acrobatics and Tumbling team. Fallgren has an athletic background in gymnastics, and at the end of her high school career, she decided to try something new that reinspired her to be an athlete again and committed to the Gannon acro team.

“Females are one big sisterhood. Deep down, we all support one another. Women have a tendency to be underestimated, and I think athletics is one of the greatest ways that we can shock people with what we can do. Being a part of acrobatics and tumbling, a sport created by women for women has been one of the most empowering experiences I have been lucky enough to be a part of” (Fallgren).

Throughout her career as a collegiate athlete, Fallgren highlighted, “Your mind is more powerful than you think- one of the biggest things I have come to terms with is how detrimental self-doubt can be to your athletic performance and ability. It is actually crazy how much your mindset and self-talk can affect the way you perform. Although I may not be an athlete again after college, recognizing how influential our minds can be to our physical bodies is a tool I will use in many other aspects of life because I think people are way more capable than they believe they are.”

“This experience is nothing like I will ever get to live through again, so despite the challenges and adversity that we have gone through and will continue to face, I just want to be grateful to be here with these people and realize how lucky I am to be a part of this program” (Fallgren).

Fallgren was a crucial member in multiple rounds of play in Gannon’s season-opening win against PSAC opponents Kutztown and East Stroudsburg on February 10 at Keystone Arena in Kutztown, PA. Opening the season with an overall score of 276.235, the Golden Knights held the top score across the nation, beating 8-time defending champion Baylor University’s 275.475 season-opening score. The team is nationally ranked at 4 in the NCATA poll, hoping to climb higher before the NCATA National Championships this upcoming April.

“The biggest thing that I want to highlight in Gannon athletics is that we have 2 female emerging sports. Acrobatics and Tumbling and Wrestling are both trying to get established in the NCAA standard. By us having these sports we are creating more opportunities for females to compete in college athletics” (Czyrka).

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About the Contributor
Megan Revell
Megan Revell, Sports Editor
Megan Revell is a junior on the acrobatics and tumbling team here at Gannon University. She is majoring in communications journalism. Megan is from Tri Cities Washington, and she loves to travel, tumble and learn new skills! Last semester she was a contributing student writer and is so excited to represent sports in The Gannon Knight this semester!  

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