NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

February 8, 2013

Four locals recognized at Girls and Women in Sports Day

By Jim Sullivan
Correspondent

---- — Four local female senior varsity athletes were recognized as part of the 27th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day last Friday. The girls, Pentucket’s Marissa Porter and Tori Spofford, and Newburyport’s Lea Tomasz and Casey Barlow were picked by their coaches and athletic directors as standout female athletes for their respective schools.

“I was really happy to be chosen,” said Porter, who co-captains the girls cross-country team for the Sachems, runs indoor track and plays lacrosse. “I was proud to be there. It was a really good experience to be with girls from all across the state who are athletes like you are. It was a good environment to be in.”

The event was held in Faneuil Hall and featured a pair of inspiring guest speakers. TD Garden president Amy Latimer was the keynote speaker, and former Rockford Peaches centerfielder and original member of the All-American Women’s Baseball League Mae Mordabito (who was played in the 1992 film, “A League of Their Own,” by Madonna) was a crowd favorite.

“We have so many more opportunities now,” said Spofford. “And they keep adding sports that girls can play. (Mordabito) only had baseball as an opportunity back then. And she’s still going. She’s amazing.”

Spofford, who co-captains the Pentucket field hockey, indoor track and lacrosse teams, says she was moved by the event and sees her opportunities as a female athlete in the 21st century as boundless, thanks to women like Mordabito.

“My friend, Sam Bomba, she’s the goalie on the hockey team,” said Spofford, who would love to try rugby some day. “And she’s starting varsity. I think that’s amazing too. I’d love to do something like that. I love the sports I play. I love the sports I chose. But I’d love to do everything.”

Latimer also stood out as a speaker.

“The keynote speaker was really good, she had an awesome story to tell,” Porter said of Latimer. “She talked about growing up playing sports and the opportunities she had then as opposed to all the opportunities we have now. She worked really hard to get where she is now. After listening to her, I felt really inspired.”

Tomasz, who plays field hockey, basketball and softball, represented the Clippers along with Barlow (cross-country, basketball, softball).

“There were a lot of different girls there,” said Tomasz. “There were over 200 girls from all over Massachusetts. It was cool to see all those other girls who play sports because usually sports are always based around boys. So it was interesting to see all the other girls there.”

Tomasz and Barlow were also joined in attendance by fellow Clipper female varsity athletes Kendra Dow (field hockey, hockey, softball) and Meri Adsit (cross-country, indoor track, lacrosse.)

“She talked about all the sports that go on (at the TD Garden),” Tomasz said of Latimer. “She went to the University of Rhode Island to play basketball, and she realized just how much she liked to be around sports, and how her sport has grown to be as vital as it is today.”

“It’s always nice to be chosen for something like that,” said Spofford, who hopes to play field hockey at Babson College next year. “It’s such an honor.”