April 20, 2024
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9 Inspiring Female Student-Athletes at Binghamton University

My experience as a female student-athlete has impacted me in a variety of positive ways. Sports have always been an important part of my life, from growing up to competing in collegiate-level track and field for Binghamton. As I reflect on what being a female athlete has taught me, I can confidently say that it has shaped who I am today. Sports have taught me to be powerful, stand up for myself and work hard. It’s important to share insight on female athletes to empower and inspire future generations of women to follow their passions and never let anyone doubt their abilities.

Binghamton University is home to nine women’s teams that compete at the NCAA Division I level. I have selected one female athlete from each team to share their experiences and insight on what it means to be a woman in sports, their favorite memories and any advice they have for younger female athletes.

What does being a female athlete mean to you?

Name: Jadyn Weltz

Year: Redshirt Sophomore

Sport: Basketball

Major: Business Administration

Jadyn Weltz, Basketball, Poses for a photo

“Being a female athlete, although it can be a constant challenge, is a special and remarkable type of authority. Throughout history, it feels as though there has always been a divide between the men’s and women’s worlds of sport; essentially, men are always viewed to be superior or more dominant than females. However, as a woman in sport and a member of the female athlete community, I am allowed to bridge this gap and to be a part of the uprising, along with other females who have come before me and who will follow after.”

Learn more about Jadyn.

Name: Shelby Carvalho

Year: Senior

Sport: Softball

Major: Psychology

Shelby Carvalho, poses for a photo

“To me, being a female athlete encompasses the courage and resilience to knock down stereotypes and historical societal normalities. Being a female athlete means breaking down barriers and setting the stage for future generations to explore what they love to do and who they want to become. To be a female athlete is to demonstrate that there are no limitations to empowerment; we are constantly faced with adversities that allow us to triumph and show off our commitment and passion for what we love to do. To be a woman in sports is to prove that gender does not limit one to compete at the highest level.”

Learn more about Shelby.

Name: Laila Gedeon

Year: Senior

Sport: Track and Field

Major: Psychology

Laila Gedeon, Senior, Poses for a photo

“As a female athlete, it is important to not only use my inner strength and resilience to achieve my best and overcome obstacles, but it is also important to recognize the external ability I have to invoke that force to my female peers. The women’s track team is dominated by successful and strong women, and creating a supportive and encouraging environment for other female athletes who may be struggling to overcome their obstacles or struggling to find their inner strength is crucial to what being a female athlete means to me. Empowerment as a female athlete extends beyond the individual to the broader community, encouraging other women to pursue their athletic passions without limitations.”

Learn more about Laila.

What is your favorite memory associated with your sport?

Name: Caterina Casadei

Year: Junior

Sport: Tennis

Major: Political Science

Caterina Casadei, Junior, Poses for a photo

“The people I have met through the game of tennis have been my favorite memories. I have formed bonds with people from all over the world, allowing me to visit and compete in so many different places. Although tennis is considered an individual sport, the relationships built within the community are anything but solitary. I am still in contact with past coaches, trainers and players, as they are the ones who helped forge me into the person I am today.”

Learn more about Caterina.

Name: Elizabeth Fritzen

Year: Senior

Sport: Cross Country

Major: Biochemistry

Elizabeth Fritzen, poses for a headshot

“My favorite memory of cross country has not only been being able to accomplish and celebrate with my teammates for winning our first-ever America East Championship this past season but, most importantly, the relationships I have made over the past four years with so many amazing teammates I now consider family.”

Learn more about Elizabeth.

Name: Tsvetelina Illieva

Year: Senior

Sport: Volleyball

Major: Business Administration

“I don’t have just one. With my sport, it’s so easy to have multiple favorite moments. At the top of my head, my two most favorite ones are when, in my senior year of high school, we qualified for nationals with a 5-set win. And it was amazing – gives me goosebumps every time I think about it. The other one is my junior year, my first year here in Binghamton, when we ended UMBC’s 23-game in-conference, winning by beating them in 5 in their gym. I don’t think I can ever forget how that felt.”

Learn more about Tsvetelina.

Do you have any advice for younger women beginning their athletic journeys?

Name: Olivia Musculino

Year: Junior

Sport: Lacrosse

Major: Neuroscience

Olivia Musculino, poses for a photo

“I would tell younger women to trust the process. Oftentimes, when girls start a new sport, they are worried about what others think about them or if they are good enough. People need to realize that it takes time and practice to get to the level they want to be at. Strive for big goals and work hard to achieve them, no matter what roadblock gets in the way. Most importantly, have fun along the way because it is such an amazing thing to be a part of a team and build long-lasting friendships.”

Learn more about Olivia.

Name: Isabella Martillo

Year: Senior

Sport: Soccer

Major: Economics

Isabella Martillo, poses for a headshot

“Sports create endless memories and present challenges. Your sport will challenge you, but something I have learned is to not let them consume you, but instead grow from them. I always tell younger athletes to appreciate every moment, even the less desirable ones. Don’t take late-night practices or early-morning games for granted, because your sport isn’t forever. Push yourself to reach your potential while enjoying the journey.”

Learn more about Isabella.

Name: Elizabeth Tirado

Year: Sophomore

Sport: Swim and Dive

Major: Psychology

Elizabeth Tirado, poses for a headshot

“First, I would like to tell young women athletes to not let the words of others steer them away from their goals, because there will be many people looking to bring you down. Believing in yourself and knowing what you can accomplish is the primary unit for a successful athletic career. By doing this, you become a role model for the next generation. Lastly, and probably most importantly, is to have fun and never forget why you started in the first place. It is extremely important to know that your success is not defined by what others think of you or your sport – what matters most is believing in yourself and knowing what your worth is.”

Learn more about Elizabeth.

Learn more about all Binghamton athletes and teams here.

Sara Puskar is a senior majoring in political science with a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies, and an intern for the Office of Media and Public Relations. She’s also a student-athlete for Binghamton women’s track and field team and is involved in content creation for the University’s TikTok account. She enjoys cosmetics, skiing, and golf.


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