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The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Caitlin Clark: Shining on and off the court to inspire the next generation of female athletes

WCHS varsity basketball player Mena Hemphill blocks a shot from the opposing team. She sites Caitlin Clark as a big influence on and off the court. Screenshot
Photo by Mena Hemphill
WCHS varsity basketball player Mena Hemphill blocks a shot from the opposing team. She sites Caitlin Clark as a big influence on and off the court. Screenshot

Interest in women’s sports has exploded in the last couple of years. Only a few years ago, women basketball legends such as Candice Parker and Sue Bird were only known to a very small fan base. Today, however, the name “Caitlin Clark” is found everywhere. Despite her team’s loss to North Carolina State in the finals, Caitlin Clark became the center of this year’s March Madness and an indisputable star of the athletic world.

As a guard for the Iowa Hawkeyes, Clark’s rise has been well documented through all media outlets, making Clark a household name in sports and synonymous with athletic excellence. Her popularity has been fueled by extensive coverage of her record-breaking year in social media, ESPN, TV commercials and even coverage on national news. She is breaking gender barriers in a traditionally male-dominated sport, with the Women’s Final Four now rivaling the Men’s in popularity.

“Lately, I’ve been seeing Caitlin Clark everywhere. I see stuff about her on TV, Instagram and TikTok,” WCHS sophomore Catherine Ward said. “I think it’s really empowering because it shows that women can also excel in sports and strive for greatness.”

Clark was one of the most sought-after collegiate athletes and was the first overall pick in the WNBA draft, where she was drafted by the Indiana Fever. During March Madness, Clark’s basketball games were major can’t-miss events with celebrities sitting courtside and “Clark” jerseys sprinkled throughout the arena, especially among young girls who idolize their favorite player. Most importantly, Caitlin Clark’s success has made a huge impact on female high school athletes; her achievements serve as a source of motivation and encourage student-athletes to work hard and excel in their respective sports. 

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“I’m such a big fan of Caitlin Clark and she is so good on the court,” Ward said. “You can tell she works hard and practices a lot. Also, I love that her and her teammates are so close and I strive to have that bond with my teammates as well.” 

Caitlin Clark’s game is admired by basketball fans of all ages. Although known for her scoring, Clark’s game is more well-rounded and focused around winning. Clark gets her teammates involved early and often through assists to make sure they feel part of the team, however, if the team needs her to score she shoots without hesitation. With her confidence, impressive skills and hard work, she has the characteristics of a basketball superstar and ambassador of the game.

“Part of the reason why Caitlin Clark is so successful is that she works so hard to get her skills perfected and the way she changes her game every game to match the team that they are playing is amazing,” WCHS Girls Varsity Basketball player Mena Hemphill said. “Also, I really admire her Logo 3’s and the way that she can pull 3-pointers and be ready to shoot. She just throws it, and the ball swishes. Lastly, the way that she handles so many assists is also amazing, which is how her team gets many of their points.”

Furthermore, her impact goes beyond the court. Through the Caitlin Clark Foundation, she strives to improve and uplift the lives of children and teenagers through education, nutrition and sport. As part of her charitable work, Clark supported her community by raising over $100,000 for the Coralville Community Food Pantry in Iowa. Additionally, through her Gear Up Campaign, the Caitlin Clark Foundation donated $35,000 worth of sports equipment to a youth development organization in Des Moines, Iowa. Clark’s passion to help others has encouraged students at WCHS to do the same and give back to their community.  

“I really like that Clark is also raising awareness and doing things to help the community off the court – her dedication to helping young girls is inspiring,” Ward said. “Not only is she making a difference herself, but she’s also showing us that we can make a difference too.”

In the world of sports, men have historically gotten most of the attention. However, it is important to shine a light on female athletes too because they’re changing the game in their own way; Caitlin Clark is a prime example of this. With Clark’s presence on the court, she has contributed significantly to women’s basketball, showcasing its unique characteristics and broadening its appeal. Her achievements serve as a reminder of the talent within women’s sports, and through her undeniable skill, Clark continues to pave the way for a future where gender barriers in sports are a thing of the past. 

“Basketball and most sports are very male-dominated,” Hemphill said. “You hear everyone talking about Lebron James, but there also should be an emphasis on female players because they pave the way for young women in sports and the style of play is so different than the male way of playing. Clark helped do this and it gives the audience a whole different perspective on the game and it gives a boost to the depth of the sport and how it can be played.”

As Caitlin Clark continues to break records and raise the bar in her basketball career, she has become a beacon of inspiration to thousands of girls around the country. Through her inspiring achievements and passion for basketball and her teammates, she has proven that women are strong and can accomplish big things, capturing the hearts of millions worldwide.

“Caitlin Clark shows all the young girls that they can truly accomplish anything,” Hemphill said. “The records she breaks, which were previously set by men, are all Clark.  It is incredible and so inspirational for basketball. It shows if you really want to get something done, it can be accomplished through hard work and dedication.”

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About the Contributor
Bella Donato
Bella Donato, Internal Communications Manager
Bella Donato is a sophomore and is an Internal Communications Manager. This is her second year of taking journalism and she is looking forward to meeting new people and continue writing. In her free time, she enjoys dance and is on the Churchill Poms team.

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