Signing a college Letter of Intent is always a special day for any high school athlete, but now there’s a new college sport that is allowing women to compete on the gridiron.
With women’s flag football becoming a scholarship sport at the college level in 2020, many National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics schools need talent.
There’s no better place to find that talent than South Florida.
On Sunday, surrounded by their club flag football team from West Express, not one but two Dillard lady panthers inked Letters of Intent to play at Midland University in Nebraska.
“I can definitely say I’m nervous but I’m excited because I’ve built a family here, not with just my coaches but my sisters behind me, so just imagine what we can do in Nebraska,” said Dillard flag football player Desenia Barcenas.
“To be a part of history and I get to go with my friend, it’s a great feeling,” said Dillard flag football player Ashanti Griffin. “It’s not something that happens every day or often. This is just starting so to be a part of it from the beginning, it’s a nice feeling.”
Barcenas and Griffin’s parents couldn’t be more proud.
“Ashanti has always been a very athletic young lady and always knew what she wanted to do so she set a goal and she conquered it,” said her mother, Angela Griffin.
“She’s now here making history, got a scholarship, gonna go and get a free education and come back as Doctor D,” said Barcenas’ mother, Shantil Promise-Tobias.
The two ladies combined for a dozen touchdowns this season and with their academic success in the classroom, both Barcenas and Griffin fit the bill as the perfect student-athletes.
“I can’t wait to get them on campus,” said Midland head coach Jaison Jones. “They’re going to bring a lot to the table: speed, athleticism, high football IQ, hard work, coachable.”
“Both of these young ladies have a 3.0 so they’re getting academically phenomenal people,” said flag football head coach Antwon Chaney.
For these pioneers, it’s just the beginning as both girls are honored to defy the odds.
“We’re just doing things that other people are scared to do,” said Barcenas. “It’s just a great feeling to know that we can do this together, especially that we’re girls. We’re no different from the men. We can do this just as much as they can.”