Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Goreville’s Sydnee Rushing to be honored at SIU-C

Southern Illinois’ Women’s Intersport Network to present WIN Awards March 2

WIN logoThe Women’s Intersport Network for Southern Illinois, a membership driven not-for-profit organization, was founded in February of 2012 with the mission to educate and empower girls and women in southern Illinois through sport and physical activity. One of the organization’s objectives is to recognize and support the talent that currently exists in our region and the WIN Awards are one of the ways in which we are able to do this. The WIN Awards are comprised of four awards which include the Outstanding Female High School Athlete, Pioneer, Mentor,  and  awards.

This year’s awards will be presented March 2 at SIU’s Student Center Ballroom D, during the Celebrate Women event, co-sponsored by the American Association of University Women, University Women’s Professional Advancement, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Women’s Intersport Network for Southern Illinois.

Award winners include Sydnee Rushing, Connie Stotlar, Tony Calabrese and Bobbie Waggoner.

GG47-Ladycats-Sydnee_RushingThis year’s Outstanding Female High School Athlete Award winner is Sydnee Rushing. This award is given to a Southern Illinois female high school athlete who excels in the classroom and on the sports’ field/court as well as demonstrates an outstanding spirit through involvement in her school/community and in her demonstration of sportswomanship. Sydney is a multi-sport athlete for Goreville High School for which she has competed in softball, golf, basketball, and track and field. Her impressive athletic accomplishments include inclusion in all-conference, all-regional, and all-state rankings. Sydney’s performance in the classroom is equally impressive as she has worked to achieve a 4.0 G.PA. while being actively involved in sports and other extracurricular and volunteer activities.

This year’s Pioneer Award winner is Connie Stotlar. The Pioneer Award is given to a Southern Illinois woman who has dedicated much of her life towards advancing opportunities for girls and women in sport and/or physical activity. Such contributions may have been paid or voluntary and could include such roles as coach, administrator, athlete, trainer, journalist, educator, official, or supporter of women’s sport and physical activity. Connie was in the very first wave of young girls in Southern Illinois to participate in any kind of organized youth sport activities outside of what might be found in the local school when she participated for AAU age group competitive swimming. A former physical education teacher with the Carbondale School District, with the passage of Title IX Connie stepped up to become the first girls coach for Lincoln Junior High’s softball, basketball, and track and field teams.

This year’s Mentor Award winner is Tony Calabrese. The Mentor Award is given to a member of the Southern Illinois community who has demonstrated a deep commitment to fostering a successful attitude/ability to girls/women in sport or physical activity through advising, teaching, encouraging, and supporting such efforts. Tony was a member of the National Championship men’s gymnastics team here at SIU. He has served as a role model and provided guidance for generations of future coaches and PE teachers through his many years as a physical education teacher, coach, and instructor for the Physical Education Teacher Education program at SIU. Those of you that know him, know that Tony epitomizes what it means to be a mentor. In addition to working as an instructor in the Department of Kinesiology, Tony is also currently coaching the Lick Creek Jr. High Girls Volleyball team.

The Courage Award is given to a Southern Illinois female athlete who exhibits extraordinary courage in her athletic performance, demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity, and serves as an inspiration and role model to those who face challenges, overcomes them and strives for success at all levels. This year’s Courage Award winner is Bobbie Waggoner. Bobbie has been a part of the SIH-SIUC Strong Survivors Exercise and Nutrition Program for Cancer Survivors and Caregivers program for a number of years and has done her best to participate actively despite numerous cancer-related setbacks. Dr. Phil Anton, who nominated Bobbie for this award notes, “she is relentlessly positive and serves as a great example to the other participants, and I believe that Bobbie deserves this award for her sheer will and determination.”

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