Players celebrate during Women’s Soccer team game against CSULA in CCAA first round on Nov. 12, 2019. (Courtesy of the CPP Athletics Department)

‘That’s nothing’: CPP’s women athletes reflect on obstacles, achievements and goals

By Blanca Gonzalez, March 23, 2021

Wage gaps, body shaming, criticism and discreditation are just a few of the struggles that women athletes face throughout their careers. Overcoming these obstacles hasn’t been easy for CPP’s women athletes but acknowledging and celebrating their journey is cardinal to Women’s History Month.

In the history of CPP Athletics Hall of Fame, more men have been awarded the recognition than women. However, in the recent years, more women have gradually been honored with a Hall of Fame title.

According to 2020 CPP’s soccer record books, 10 women have broken goal records in their athletic careers while 11 men have broken the same record. While the men have one more record breaker than the women in that category, both teams have the same amount of record breakers for almost all other categories.

With regards to the women’s track and field record-breakers and the men’s track and field record-breakers, both teams have a total of top 10 athletes who’ve broken records in each category.

Women athletes in the CPP’s track and field and soccer teams asserted that they have been treated equally and respectfully compared to their male counterparts. However, they also added that this wasn’t always the case in the earlier stages of their athletic careers.

Keiana Hamm, junior jumper of the track and field team, recalled being talked down to and discredited for her achievements in high school.

“I am a record-holder for high jump at my high school, and back then it would be announced during schoolwide morning announcements, and the soccer players in my class would tell me, ‘That’s nothing’ or ‘I haven’t seen you do it, so you can’t do it’ just to discredit me,” said Hamm.

Women’s Track and Field 2020 team photo with coaches. (Courtesy of the CPP Athletics Department)

Hamm added that at CPP she has found a lot of support within her team and from her coaches.

“When you’re doing your best, and they see that you’re trying, they’ll acknowledge you every single time,” said Hamm.

This sentiment was mirrored by her teammate, senior hurdler and jumper Nia Vance, who said

the track and field coaches encourage women to take on leadership roles in the team as captains or by joining the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. She added that she thinks this is key to many of their team’s accomplishments.

“One of my favorite personal accomplishments has been competing in nationals in 2019,” said Vance. “That year there were a total of eight of us going to nationals and four of us were women, so I think having that presence as young ladies is super important.”

Mutual woman empowerment is very important to women athletes. Allison Hung, senior middle in the women’s soccer team, said that she’s looking forward to staying in the sports industry after graduating. Hung currently works at TOCA Football where she has the opportunity to train girls and women ranging from ages 5 to 21.

Broncos celebrate during Women’s Soccer team game against CSULA in CCAA first round on Nov. 12, 2019. (Courtesy of the CPP Athletics Department)

“I can see the drive in their eyes, and that they need that success and that empowerment from someone else telling them they can do it, and that’s what I want to do. I want to give back to the community and grow the female athlete status,” said Hung.

Encouraging women from a young age is essential for their success in athletics. Sophomore defender in the women’s soccer team, Madyson Bennett, recalled having to push herself to ignore criticism at the age of 5.

“I vividly remember never being passed the ball because the boys thought, ‘Girls can’t do it’ or ‘Girls aren’t good enough’ and I think that was one of those things I had to push through and just shove it down,” said Bennett.

Building their confidence enough to ignore discouraging comments and keep chasing after their goals is a special skill that women athletes have been relying on for decades in all kinds of fields. For these athletes Women’s History Month is the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the contributions of women to the United States.

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