Pack Appreciates Women’s Sports


A new club has been introduced at West Morris Central as of the 2022-2023 school year. Pack Appreciates Women’s Sports (P.A.W.S) is a student-led club that strives to support each and every one of the women’s sports teams at WMC, as well as individual female athletes. The members of this club will highlight women’s sports on the morning announcements by announcing games, especially rival, county, and state games, as well as attending the games in order to “back the pack.” Along with supporting female athletics as a whole, P.A.W.S. also wants to create an environment where female athletes can feel confident and supported by their school mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

The creation of  P.A.W.S. stems from the need for equal support amongst female athletes at WMC. Senior girls volleyball player, Ava Novello, and senior girls lacrosse player, Tara Reilly provided information about the formation of the club and how they hope to see it grow in the future.“Some of our friends used to come watch us play, and we would be on the sideline thinking ‘You know what would be awesome? If we had a big group of people coming,” said Tara Reilly. The girls discussed how amazing it was to see all of the support the girls volleyball team received from the student body as they won the state sectional championship last year. They expressed how they wanted to see that same energy at more female sporting events in the future, not just championship games or matches.

 The female sports teams at West Morris Central have achieved incredible things and have truly astonishing reputations throughout the school community, town, county, and even the state of New Jersey. P.A.W.S believes that female athletic accomplishments deserve the utmost praise and interest shown to them, not to be brushed aside by the support of male sports taking a higher priority.“It sucks when no one comes to your games until the last couple of the season,” said Ava Novello. “We have had a lot of successful programs here and we think equal representation and support throughout the school is necessary.”

When Ava Novello and Tara Reilly were asked why they believed the club was necessary to the school, Tara responded with, “There wasn’t enough support from the administration at West Morris or the student body. We have very successful female athletes at West Morris, as we all know, and we thought they needed more representation within the school community and deserved more support from us as a community, and that’s what we wanted to provide.” 

Varsity field hockey coach and Spanish teacher at WMC, Señora Barnett, and varsity women’s basketball and softball coach and teacher in the English department, Ms. Patella are very eager to have the opportunity to advise such a powerful group of female athletes this year. “We saw a disconnect for the female athletes, and there are only a handful of female coaches in the building,” says Coach Barnett. “This kind of had us talking about it even before the club was starting.”  They too, agree that the female athletes of WMC should be made more of a priority by the student body, and deserve recognition for their dedication and hard work that they put into their athletics. “When a couple of female athletes brought it to our attention that they were realizing that the girl’s sports were not as popular or supported from the top down, we knew that we wanted to be a part of that,” says Coach Barnett.

The club’s advisors also would like to see the support for female athletes expand out of the athletic realm as well. “I think we also recognized what is going on in our culture and our society with mental health, and the stigmas around different things,” explains Coach Patella. “We wanted females to feel as though they were being supported in all aspects, and not just being pushed on the field or on the court only to be successful in that sport. We want them to feel like they can be successful in every aspect of their life.” 

In addition to WMC’s female athletes and coaches, the administration feels that there is a need for this type of club as well. The principal of West Morris Central, Mr. Rymer feels strongly about using his leadership position to promote this club and the effects that he believes P.A.W.S. will have on the WMC athletic environment. “I think that the most important thing for me to do is show my own support of what’s happening here,” says Rymer. “It is important for me to show that I support what this club stands for.” Mr. Rymer not only believes that P.A.W.S. will help further support the school’s female athletes, but also make the athletic environment amongst all sports more cohesive. 

“P.R.I.D.E. in the Pack” was an idea introduced here at West Morris Central by Mr. Rymer. It stands for Passion, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Empathy. It serves as a code that all students at WMC should strive to abide by. Mr. Rymer went into detail as to how the club, P.A.W.S, reflects the idea of “P.R.I.D.E. in the Pack.” The principal went through letter by letter to demonstrate how each of the words in the acronym related to this club. “I looked out at that first meeting and I know the bulk of the attendees were not only athletes in our building who were passionate about athletics but also passionate about drumming up more support for what they do in the building and more support for everybody,” said Mr. Rymer. “This demonstrated the P for Passion, in “P.R.I.D.E. in the Pack.” P.A.W.S. is evidently a positive inclusion to the West Morris Central School community. 

The incorporation of the Pack Appreciates Women’s Sports club to West Morris Central is certainly bound to create a more encouraging environment for the school’s female athletes on and off the field. With great interest forming from only the first meeting, and the excitement of the club’s leaders, advisors, and the administration at WMC, P.A.W.S. seems to have a promising future ahead of them.