Photo Courtesy of Millikin University
Since women in sports used to be something so far-fetched. Now women in sports have proven to handle the pressure of being both a full-time student and athlete, as according to the Feminist Majority Foundation, female athletes are statistically less likely to drop out of school and more likely to get better grades and learn skills that will help them all of their lives than females who don’t. The female athletes on Millikin’s campus prove these quality stats true, including track and field member Akilah Ware.
Akilah, who came from Indiana, is a junior Criminal Justice major who has made a point to be involved on campus since her arrival. Along with participating in various track and field events including the 400-meter dash, the 4×4 relay, and the 200-meter dash, she is also the secretary of the Social Action Club, and the secretary of the emerging mentoring program called Shoes to Fill. She has established a place for herself on campus and credits her coach and advisor for drawing her to Millikin in the first place.
She credits her coach Nicole Wetstein, saying, “The potential she saw in me made it so much easier to choose…She made the very decision easy, she was supporting me before I even decided to come to Millikin, she made me feel part of a family…me and her have made a close bond when I was still in high school before I can to Millikin.
Besides just her love for the sport and the support from her team, the Criminal Justice major also made her decision to continue her education at Millikin that much easier.
“The criminal justice program here is amazing, I have had so much support from my advisor Keyroa Rodgers who has given me many opportunities..having Keyria and Coach Nicki by my side made the decision-making process so much easier.”
Through her three years here on the team, she credits the team dynamic as one of her most rewarding moments.
”The most rewarding part of a team is making memories… I have made so many memories and so many friends that I will cherish forever.. We are really family. Ten years from now the team can be together and say ‘You remember when…’
Through her continuous involvement around campus, time management continues to be one of the challenges she faces.
“Track is something I have done for 8 years…You have to put your all into school and you have to put your all into your race…You have to be there for not only yourself but for your teammates.”
With this, she adds how the pandemic cut their previous winning season short, as something that could be turned into a positive. One of the lessons she was able to take aware, is the concept of self-awareness.
“[COVID-19 taught me] it’s okay to take a step back and focus on yourself for a while. I saw a lot of things in myself. I want to change and improve on. It was so sad to end the season when we were doing so well. I have run track all my life and this was the first time it was taken away from me.”
Akilah’s continuous greatness on campus was embraced early by two women on Millikin’s campus, and as we proceed through to Women’s History Month we should all commend all these women for their contribution to sports, academics, and the campus as a whole.