Celebrating women athletes in South Carolina

A'ja Wilson speaking during the unveiling of her statue in Columbia, SC | Photo by @camera_language

Let’s talk about some serious girl power in South Carolina. We have rounded up some of the state’s notable women athletes (past and present) and their achievements in the sports world

 

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🏀 A’ja Wilson | Basketball Player 

○ This Hopkins, SC native is a basketball legend. This year she was honored with a statue outside of Colonial Life Arena in Columbia for her outstanding college basketball career that led the University of South Carolina Gamecocks to win its first NCAA women’s basketball national championship in 2017. Some of her basketball accolades include being a three-time All-American at UofSC + consensus National Player of the Year in 2018. Wilson was the first National Player of the Year and No. 1 WNBA Draft pick in 2018. She currently plays in the WNBA for the Las Vegas Aces.

🏈📣 Armani Latimer | NFL Cheerleader

Recently, Latimer, an Anderson native + University of South Carolina graduate, joined the Dallas Cowboys cheer team, which is known to be the NFL’s most famous + highly coveted cheer squad (there’s even a reality show about it). In college, she was a member of the Carolina Dance Team. For the Dallas Cowboys cheer squad, she was selected as a rookie from 1,500 applicants who submitted audition tapes, in a highly competitive and selective process

👟 Paris A., Peyton H., Madison R. + Olivia T. | Track and Field

Excellence can be accomplished at any age. In 2020, Paris Asmond, Peyton Hightower, Madison Ross, and Olivia Taylor of Richland School District Two become the youngest girls in the state to win a national track and field title. The group of sixth + seventh graders who are members of the Team Blaze Track Club of Columbia competed in Florida and placed third in the 4×100 meter and first in the 4×400 meter relay, which earned them the title of All-American + National Champions

Natalie Srinivasan | Golfer

○ This gifted golfer from Spartanburg is now considered a recent sports legend from Furman University in Greenville. Last year, Srinivasan graduated and her accomplishments included leading all of Division I with three victories in a season + being honored with the Annika Award, which is awarded to the top Division I women’s golfer voted on by players, coaches, and the media. Amongst many accolades, some of her awards include being named the 2020 PING Women’s Golf Coaches Association National Player of the Year and winner of the inaugural Juli Inkster Senior Award

🥎 Jordan Trgovac | Softball Player

○ This former College of Charleston softball player, who played as an outfielder, has a Super Bowl ring, which she earned as being part of the front office staff for the Kansas City Chiefs. What seems almost unbelievable but definitely worth celebrating, is that her father also won a Super Bowl ring as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers in 2011. Talk about a father-daughter Super Bowl ring duo. 

🎾 Shelby Rogers | Tennis Player

○ This tennis player from Mount Pleasant won the Girls National Championship at the age of 17. In the 2016 French Open + the 2020 US Open she made it to the quarterfinals. Rogers has won six singles titles + two doubles titles on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Circuit.

Jayne Pardus | Golfer 

In 2020, this Mount Pleasant golfer earned the Carolinas Golf Association + Women’s South Carolina Golf Association Senior Player of the Year awards. Some (but not all) of her accolades include top senior amateur in the S.C. Women’s Open, Women’s South Carolina Golf Association (WSCGA) Senior Championship winner (two consecutive years), and WSCGA State Amateur State Division winner.  

🏀 Dawn Staley | Basketball Player + Coach

○ As one of the most decorated players in American women’s basketball history, Dawn Staley is currently the head coach for the women’s basketball team at the University of South Carolina. She has led the team to four consecutive SEC Tournament titles + coached 2018’s No. 1 WNBA Draft pick A’ja Wilson. Staley was inducted into the The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2013

🏅 Sandi Morris | Pole Vault Record Holder 

Raised in Greenville, Sandi Morris has become an American pole vault record holder. She attended Greenville Senior High school and became one of America’s most highly recruited female pole vaulters. She has won the silver medal in the pole vault event at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the silver at the pole vault event at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics + in 2018 she won gold at the World Indoor Championships.

Beth Daniel | Golfer 

Born + raised in Charleston, Beth Daniel is one of only three of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) players to win “Rookie of the Year” and then “Player of the Year” back-to-back. Daniel won one major championship + 32 additional LPGA tour wins. She was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978 and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000. 

🏀 Katrina McClain Johnson | Basketball Player 

○ Born in Charleston, Katrina McClain is another highly decorated professional basketball player in American history. The now retired player is a two-time Olympic gold medalist + assisted the University of Georgia to a 116-15 record from 1984-1987. McClain was selected as USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year in both 1988 and 1992. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2006

🎾 Althea Gibson | Tennis Player + Golfer

Born in rural Clarendon County, Althea Gibson was one of the first Black athletes to cross the color line of international tennis. Despite facing racial discrimination, Gibson was the first person of color to win a Grand Slam title in tennis in 1956. Throughout her career she was a  repeated winner at Wimbledon in singles and doubles, as well as at the U.S. Nationals in singles. Gibson also took an interest in playing golf and became the first African-American to compete on the women’s professional golf tour in 1960. In 1994, she became the first Black person to earn a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) card. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 1971.