Two years ago, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Section hosted its first Women in Sports Conference at the Tulare County Office of Education. Firebaugh High School’s athletic director Kacey Jones, along with four female athletes, attended that year and returned with wisdom to implement in their teams.

This year, Jones drove a school van with five female athletes from FHS to Tulare for the conference on the tenth of this month.

Listening to five speakers, the girls were able to take notes and build connections with other student athletes from other schools. One of two keynote speakers was Krystle Evans, an assistant basketball coach from University of California, Santa Barbara. Among the noteworthy things stated by Evans is her emphasis on the five essential members of any sports team: comforter, confronter, challenger, counselor, celebrator.

Another topic the FHS athletes found insightful was the idea of finding one’s purpose on a team. Te’szhia Walker, one of the speakers at the event, talked in detail about the importance of every individual on the team, including those who may not be the best in terms of performance. 

From Walker’s speech, Serenity Martinez (FHS junior athlete) took away that every person has a role in making the team not only good in performance but strong in commitment and relations as well.

Kelly Jones, coordinator of operations for the CIF Central Section, shares that due to space limitations there is a current capacity set for two hundred attendees.

“The Kern District does [a conference], so we might try to partner with them and have it somewhere bigger so that it can hold more people and be more of a conference. More or less the same format, but for both boys and girls” Jones said.

“Some of the biggest lessons I can take to my team include finding a true passion for the sport, having a good mindset, lifting others up, and showing good sportsmanship,” junior volleyball player Lauren Rodriguez said.

All of the Firebaugh attendees can attest to the great experience the conference created and are thankful for the lessons that can be brought home to further improve the sports teams at Firebaugh High School. 

Kasey Jones said, “I make it a priority to take girls on the trip because I want them to learn about the importance of sports from strong female leaders.” She remarks that CIF does an amazing job of promoting and empowering both women in general as well as future women in sports.

Samantha Rangel