PITTSBURGH (February 8, 2013)… Today at Chatham University’s 18th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) celebration, Carlow University senior Rachel Blonski received the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award in the collegiate athlete category.
The Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award is named in honor of a former Chatham athletic director who dedicated 34 years to achieving greater awareness and recognition of women’s collegiate athletics. Each year, Chatham gives this award as a celebration of 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.
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.
Blonski, a 2009 graduate of Ambridge Area High School, is co-captain of Carlow University’s softball team. She was an outfielder on the 2012 softball team that won the American Mideast Conference Championship over local rival Point Park University – finishing the season at 34-12 and then advancing to the United States Collegiate Athletics Conference National Tournament. She started 36 games last year and batted .337 with a .434 slugging percentage.
Nominated by Carlow Athletic Director George Sliman, Blonski is biology major with a concentration in autopsy specialist training and a minor in psychology. She has a 3.63 GPA and is the president of the Student Government Association and Co-Chair of the Student Athlete Association. In these leadership positions, she oversees all of the student organizations’ service projects, arranges fellowship opportunities and leads time-management workshops for student-athletes, and plans various events throughout the year.
Blonski also recruited approximately 150 new voters for the 2012 Presidential Election – an accomplishment for which she recently received the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award.
She had the honor of being selected as the student representative for the search committee to select Carlow University’s new president.
Blonski also serves as Carlow’s Central Blood Bank Student Blood Drive Coordinator – as such, she plans and oversees two Central Blood Bank blood drives on campus per year. For her efforts, she was one of 14 students from throughout the country to be selected to serve on the Red Cross/National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Collegiate Leadership Council.
Mentoring is also one of her passions. At Carlow, she served as a First Year Mentor, aiding incoming students with their transition to college. She is also involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, where she mentored at-risk high school students and helps with fundraising efforts.
Blonski has been honored as a United States Collegiate Athletic Association and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Scholar Athlete – and was a nominee for the Newman Civic Fellowship Award and for the Celtic award at Carlow University in both the student-athlete and spirit categories.
Today’s other 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; and Angela Heintz, a senior at Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School who plays volleyball and basketball; and
Chatham also honored Jennifer McMichael, who coaches cross-country and indoor and outdoor track field at Ringgold High School, with the Outstanding Coach Award. Coach McMichael is the mother of today’s sophomore awardee – making this the first mother-daughter duo to be honored at the annual event. All winners are selected by an honorary committee.
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 www.chatham.edu.
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