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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST female athletes reflect on Women’s History Month

Meg Boles
Texas State graduate student guard Ja’Niah Henson (1) dribbles past her defender in the game against Southern Miss, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Strahan Arena.

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate women who’ve inspired and lifted others up by showing their dedication and hard work in every field. It’s a time to remember and commemorate achievements made by women for the betterment of their community.

In 1903, women’s history in sports at Texas State’s began with the first athletic group organized on campus being an intramural women’s basketball team called ‘The Gypsies.’

Following the development of a men’s basketball team in 1904, women’s basketball and tennis teams outnumbered their male counterparts for a decade. Today, Texas State has six men’s teams and eight women’s teams with a combined total of 421 student-athletes.

The world of sports today is filled with opportunities for women in the Texas State athletic community, such as graduate student tennis player Callie Creath, junior basketball player Jaylin Foster, graduate student basketball player Ja’Niah Henson and women’s basketball Head Coach Zenarae Antonine being an athlete is vital to their experience as women.

“These girls are my best friends and my family. I love them and our comradery, it’s so much fun,” Creath said.

According to Foster, she finds extra motivation for the sport that she loves from her fellow female teammates and coaches.

“My motivation comes from my teammates and my coaches. They never stop seeing more in me,” Foster said. “They never stop pushing me or yelling at me do to better, so kudos to them.”

Henson said sports allow women to learn more about themselves while also providing a space for women of color to inspire and motivate.

“As a Black woman, it’s a huge opportunity to be able to showcase to children and people around the world that there’s opportunity out there for everyone,” Henson said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to play, and as long as you want something you can achieve it.”

According to Antoine, sports have shown her that allyship and remaining honest with those around you is imperative.

“I always see myself first as a woman before a woman of color,” Antoine said. “Cause when you’re a woman, [there are] things you have to overcome that others do not understand and at times. I think that can supersede even within your own community.”

Each of these women, though coming from differing backgrounds, unanimously agree on one factor: there is still work to be done and lessons to be taught in the fight for gender equality.

For Foster, the biggest lesson she wants to motivate others with is that her impact on society spans both on and off the court she said.

“It’s always bigger than basketball,” Foster said. “I’m always playing for someone younger than me, someone who can’t play, or doesn’t have the ability. it’s an opportunity and I love that I can do that.”

Creath said though the implementation of Title IV and UIL regulations have allowed Texas State athletic programs to move forward and grow support of female athletes, it’s important to make sure improvements are happening on a personal scale.

“The most personal lesson I’ve taken from tennis is that it’s okay to be a beast,” Creath said. “Society tells women to look a certain way and as an athlete it’s inevitable, so it’s okay to go against the gradient.”

Foster said being a woman in sports has shaped how she plays her game and develops herself through the dreams she had for her future without taking no for an answer.

“The sky is the limit. Everything is changing and women are growing in sports every day and people are seeing that, so just don’t stop and keep pushing past what comes next,” Foster said.

According to Antoine, as Women’s History Month progresses the celebration of women in every field, not just sports, is needed to continue progression.

“The most important piece right now, for where we are, is that these young women utilize their platform in a positive way, continue to push the envelope, for legislation toward change and call it out when they see it,” Antoine said.

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