Shining a ‘spotlight’ on women’s sports

Players from Indiana Fever come to SHS to celebrate female athletes


Indiana Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell laugh during their question session in the SHS cafeteria on Feb. 1. Mitchell and her teammates gave advice to female athletes from SHS and Perry Meridian.

Members of the Indiana Fever, a team in the National Women’s Basketball Association, came to SHS for National Women in Sports Day on Feb. 1. Female athletes from both high schools in Perry Township were able to eat breakfast while a panel of three players talked about their experiences and answered questions.

Athletes and administrators alike thought that the event was a success, and they enjoyed learning about the players’s experiences.

“I think it was a great opportunity because it was fun hearing about their stories,” sophomore basketball player D Hamilton said.

And even though it was only basketball players on the panel, their words of advice still applied to athletes of all other sports.

“I thought it was cool to learn about their experiences and how they overcome stuff,” junior volleyball player Meagin Hurst said.

Athletic Director Brian Murphy first heard about this opportunity in an email from Rachel Gregory, the community engagement manager for the Fever, last week. The email explained that they were looking to get back into celebrating National Women in Sports Day post Covid-19 and wondered if any Indianapolis-area schools would be interested in hosting them. Murphy has three older sisters, who were all female athletes, and knowing how impactful this event could be, he said that SHS would love to have the Fever come.

“I thought that this was a way for us to put a spotlight on girls and women’s sports,” Murphy said.

Three players, forward NaLyssa Smith and guards Kelsey Mitchell and Lexie Hull, as well as several women in management positions for the Fever attended the breakfast.

The event included a breakfast, a short planned question session, a longer question session where athletes in attendance were allowed to ask their own questions and open time for picture taking, autograph signing and open conversations.

The questions touched many different topics, ranging from mental health, to balancing schedules, to the difference between men’s and women’s professional sports.

According to Murphy, part of what made the event so powerful was that the players were clearly engaged and passionate about the subject. They weren’t there simply because they had to be, they were there because they wanted to be.

“They were here. They were fun. They were engaged,” Murphy said. “They weren’t just going through the motions. I thought they were great.”

Altogether, Murphy hopes that SHS will be able to host the event again in the future and that next time, even more will be able to attend.

“The only thing I would try and do differently is make different efforts and probably more efforts to get a hold of more of our female athletes,” Murphy said.