Chatham News

Local Pittsburgh female athletes celebrated at 18th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day

PITTSBURGH (February 11, 2013)… Female athletes from regional high schools and colleges were honored on Friday, February 8, at the 18th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) at Chatham University. Each year, Chatham celebrates the accomplishments of regional female high school and college student athletes who make positive contributions in the classroom, on the playing field, and in the community.

At the event, five high school and collegiate female athletes of distinction received the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award, named in honor of a former Chatham athletic director who dedicated 34 years to achieving greater awareness and recognition of women’s collegiate athletics. Andrew Stockey, WTAE-TV evening news anchor and sports director, served as Master of Ceremonies. Patty Paytas, senior vice president of community and public affairs for the Pittsburgh Pirates as well as the executive director of Pirates Charities, gave the keynote speech, which focused on challenges women face as professionals in the sports industry.

This year’s winners of the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award include Kirsten McMichael, a sophomore at Ringgold High School who runs cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field, Jordan Busshaus, a junior at Hampton High School who is on the basketball and dance teams; Julie Hartz, a senior swimmer at Penn-Trafford High School (tie); Angela Heintz, a senior at Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School who plays volleyball and basketball (tie); and Rachel Blonski, a senior softball player at Carlow University. All winners are selected by an honorary committee.

Jennifer McMichael, who is the mother of sophomore awardee Kirsten McMichael and is the head coach of cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field at Ringgold High School, received the Outstanding Coach Award. The award honors a coach who positively affects their school and their athletes’ experiences.

NGWSD began in 1987 in commemoration of Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women’s sports. Hyman died of Marfan Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, NGWSD has evolved into a day to acknowledge the past and recognize current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports.

About Chatham University
Chatham University, founded in 1869, is located in the vibrant Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa. Preparing students from around the world, Chatham’s enrollment throughout the past decade was the fastest growing in the Pittsburgh region. With enrollment of more than 2,300 students and consisting of an undergraduate women’s college and co-educational graduate and online programs, Chatham has consistently been ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Offering challenging academics and innovative programming in the fields of sustainability and the environment, health and lab sciences, creative and liberal arts, and business and entrepreneurship, a Chatham education is designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy, today.

For more information, call 412-365-1139 or visit

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