Chatham News

Ringgold High School sophomore Kirsten McMichael receives the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award from Chatham University

PITTSBURGH (February 8, 2013)… Today at Chatham University’s 18th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) celebration, Ringgold High School sophomore Kirsten McMichael received the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award in the high school sophomore 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.

McMichael runs cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field while taking all advanced honors classes and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Nominated by her father, Ringgold Athletic director Ronald McMichael, she is ranked number one in her class. She also holds many championship titles and devotes much of her free time to the community – serving the Salvation Army. Humane Society, and running a two-week cross-country summer camp for middle school and high school students called “Champions are made when no one is watching.”

McMichael was the first sophomore in Ringgold’s history to make the Academic Team and was voted “most worthy adversary” in Mock Trial. She is also involved with the Science Olympiad and is a member of the National Thespian Society, Envirothon, Math League, and was just voted student of the month for January 2013.

As a freshman, she was nominated by her peers and coaches to be a team captain for all three of her sports – and she has lettered in every sport season. Last year, McMichael was the Washington County Champion, Mingo Classic Champion, a TRI-STATE medalist, a WPIAL medalist, and a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association – or P.I.A.A. –  State Qualifier in cross-country. In Indoor Track, she qualified for and medaled in the Tri-State Track & Field Coaches Association Championships in the mile and 3-thousand meter runs. And for Outdoor Track, McMichael became the overall champion at many races in the 16-hundred meter and 32-hundred meter runs, including the Big 8 Conference Championships, The Mid Mon Valley Classic, and the Washington County meet, and qualified for the WPIALS.

As a sophomore, she helped lead her team to victory at the Big South Conference Championships and was the Conference Individual Champion. Other recent titles McMichael has earned include Washington County Coaches Champion, WPIAL qualifier, Mingo Classic Medalist, and top 10 medalist at many more invitationals.

This past Cross-Country season, McMichael broke four course records, including a Ringgold record that was set 25 years prior by her mother, Jennifer Lejeune McMichael, who is now the Ringgold cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field coach. Coach Jennifer McMichael was also honored today with the Outstanding Coach Award – making this the first mother-daughter duo to be honored at Chatham’s annual event.

Today’s other winners of the Patience Blayden Spirit of Sport Award include 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; Angela Heintz, a senior at Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School who plays volleyball and basketball; and Rachel Blonski, a senior softball player at Carlow University. 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


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