2020 FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETES
Since the early 1900s, brave and inspiring women athletes have been fighting for equal recognition for their athletic achievement and prowess. Men have historically and repeatedly seen more attention and higher salaries for athletic achievement compared to women, but that has not stopped some truly phenomenal women from achieving high levels of success in typically male-dominated sports. Recently, the NCAA announced its finalists for women athlete of the year, and the list is undoubtedly star studded with some of the finest young prospects in sports today, women or otherwise. The usual sports are represented in some of the finest athletes in basketball, softball, and track and field from the year. Names like DeAnna Hernandez, softball player from Texas Lutheran University, and Mikayla Pivec, basketball player from Oregon State University, are no brainers for the list.
However, a few names on the finalist list show a growing trend in 2020 for women taking over in athletics that are usually exclusively male. Two names in particular highlight this ground-breaking push for athletic recognition for women. One of which is Arielle Johnston, a field hockey player from Salisbury University who has won numerous awards while maintaining high marks academically as well. The second is a rugby player named Juah Toe, who plays for West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She led her team as rugby captain to a national championship. These women and so many more are showing that typically male dominated sports have more than their fair share of women who deserve the same kind of attention that their male counterparts get.
There has been one story in particular that has garnered more headlines than any other this year in regards to women in male sports. Sarah Fuller is a goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team at Vanderbilt, who also happened to be SEC champions. She also garnered a new position for herself this year. As Vanderbilt’s men’s football team saw multiple kickers go out due to quarantine, they needed a new kicker to step up to the plate and saw an opportunity in the 6”2 senior soccer player. On November 28th, 2020, Sarah Fuller became the first female player to play in a Power 5 conference game in NCAA men’s football history. She went on to make history again on December 12th when she kicked two extra point field goals and became the first woman to score in a Power 5 game in NCAA men’s football history.
Sarah Fuller is perhaps the most noteworthy case of women finding new success in a male dominated world this year. She proved herself to be the most accurate short distance kicker on the team against all of her male competitors , even after players returned from quarantine. Fuller, and so many other strong women like her, are doing brave work that will only go on to inspire more young girls like them to push themselves further and succeed at the same level as male athletes. There were many challenges in 2020, but these women athletes have only soared to inspire hope and inspiration for so many fellow women athletes around the world.