By EMILY SIBLEY
Twenty female athletes from both Redlands East Valley and Citrus Valley attended the 8th Annual Women in Sports Symposium at the Fox Theater in Riverside, where 4 key speakers covered a wide range of topics pertaining to sports: from learning about how to develop leadership skills that can be incorporated into their sports to inspirational experiences to inspire young women to make an impact in both their sports and their community.
Coaches from both REV and CV chose 10 female athletes, from freshman to juniors, who are upcoming influences in their sport.
Speakers included Dr. Judy White, University of Redlands’ Women’s Lacrosse coach, Suzette Sobodi, University of Riverside’s Softball coach, Nikki Palmer, and the first female City Manager of Moreno Valley, Michelle Dawson. After each session, students were free to ask questions to each speaker.
Dr. Judy White explained her personal struggles growing up in an abusive household, and how her drive and positive mental attitude led to her current success. Suzette Sobodi talked about her three B’s which were to Be Brave, Be Persistent, and Be Resilient, and also about how she values grit to be an important key to success. Girls were also able to learn about what college recruiters look for in an athlete and about the pros and cons of all types of colleges. Finally, Michelle Dawson used her personal story of getting better at running to explain her success and drive that have led her to be a trendsetter and trailblazer.
Students from both schools were inspired in their own ways by the conference. Erin Robles, a junior cross country/track runner from REV, said “I went home and felt very empowered by the ladies’ words and guidance, but also reassured in my sports and priorities. I appreciated the insight on college recruitment and how sports in college works alongside academics. Danielle Lilley, a sophomore volleyball player from CV, remarked “My favorite part was when Nikki was talking about the requirements for her team and what it takes to be an athlete at the collegiate level. Especially since I am an athlete interested in playing at the collegiate level.”