by: Leah Kaylor
GSHS girls flag football practice. Photo submitted by: Jordin Wespi
Head Coach Ms. Jess Melodía, who previously played for the Pittsburgh Passion football team, coaches the new GS girls’ flag football team and in addition to that, the team was given the opportunity to play under the lights of Acrisure Stadium.
Melodía’s goal is to pass her love and understanding of the sport to girls who are interested in playing.
“This was something new and when I heard about it, I was interested to try it for sure,” Carr said.
Carr is looking to play better under pressure so she can give her all in her performance.
“I had a lot of fun when I played in the powderpuff game,” senior Lilly Gatons said. “I enjoy playing with everyone on my team and we have a lot of fun.”
Gatons is hoping for her and her teammates to learn more about the plays, so they can have the upper hand.
“I’m excited to give the girls an opportunity to play football,” Athletic Director Frank Sundry said. “It’s the first time we’ve done this as a school, and currently we are the only school in Westmoreland County that offers this.”
GS Girls’ flag football currently has a partnership with the Pittsburgh Steelers which provides an opportunity for the girls. NFL cities are hosting leagues in their area, and the Steelers reached out to everyone in the WPIAL to see if they were interested. The Steelers provide the funding for the program and the jerseys. The Cameron Heyward Foundation provides the flags and footballs, which all gives the girls a real experience to get “riled up” for the game.
“I am pumped that our school finally has a girls’ football team,” sophomore Lauryn Swierczynski said. “I’ve always liked football, but it’s a male dominated sport, so it’s been such a great opportunity for me to play.”
The team has practice once a week and a game every Sunday, which takes place at the Acrisure Stadium where the Pittsburgh Steelers play.
“I played football for the Pittsburgh Passion and wanted to use that experience for the girls to play in high school,” Melodía said. “I hope they develop a love for the game and truly just have fun playing it.”