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National Girls & Women in Sports Day: Pac-12 Networks recognizes outstanding leaders around the conference

Feb 4, 2019

On the 33rd anniversary of the National Girls & Women in Sports Day on Feb. 6, Pac-12 Networks takes a few moments to honor the achievements, dedication and mentorship of extraordinary young women around the conference.

One leader is Arizona State sophomore gymnast Cairo Leonard-Baker, who relives being a young fan idolizing collegiate gymnasts and what that means for her now that she’s on the other side of the table.

“Everything I do, I keep smiling, I keep dancing because I know that little girls like to watch you have fun,” she said. 

Leonard-Baker received regular season All-America second team honors in the all-around in her freshman year and was the first Gym Devil since 1996 to win the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year award. 

Further north, the Washington State women’s volleyball team serves as a pillar of the Pullman community through postgame meet-and-greets, camps for young athletes and mentorship work with other teammates. Head coach Jen Greeny sat down to share how her team engages with the local fan base as well as how the upperclassmen strive to lead their younger teammates to success. 

“It’s a time for the girls and women in our community to come and meet our players,” said Greeny on her team's dedication to staying on the court to sign autographs after each game. “Our players know that they are role models in our community.”

Another pair of talented leaders from the Oregon women's basketball team, Erin Boley and Sabrina Ionescu, describe the women they looked up to when they were young and how it feels to become inspirational women for the next generation of fans and athletes. 

Boley and Ionescu have been an unstoppable force for the Ducks this season, and are two of just 11 players in the Pac-12 to have finished with 30+ points in a conference game. 

"Being able to be a role model is very special," said Boley. "I think all of us take that to heart because we were once that little girl, so we want to set a good example for them."