NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — Women's sports have definitely changed over the past 50 years and have made even bigger strides in the last 20 years.
Girls, right here in the Southwest Florida community, are finding their grit and strength to be trailblazing women in the sports world. Fox 4's Yvette Sanchez highlights one team, who is getting stronger physically and mentally.
Strength is definitely something in the women's weightlifting team at North Fort Myers doesn't lack. We were able to learn what led these girls to want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and how they empower each other.
"I like a good challenge, so I like sports that really push me and stand out to me," says Mallory Alcorn from North Fort Myers Wrestling and Weightlifting. Because of Mallory's spirit, she's the one on the mat for North Fort Myers Women's Wrestling Team, despite her doubts. "I was kind of worried that there would be a lot of people that were a lot stronger than me but, it kind of just motivated me to get better."
Her strong and focused demeanor is motivation to others on the team.
Addison Slaybaugh is a sophomore and is part of the North Fort Myers Weightlifting team, cheerleading and is an equestrian. "I'm a farm kid — so I'm pretty strong. And when Coach came and found me and was like, 'hey, come join the team', I tried it and I liked it!"
Addison is a fierce leader, focused on her personal goals as well as her team's goals. She also provides laughs with her 'go-getter' spirit. Addison also cheers and is an equestrian, saying that weightlifting provides her with something else she didn't know she needed. "I'm stronger mentally. I'm able to focus on one thing and let other things go. The first thing I would tell myself if starting over again would be to focus on myself and not compare to others."
The women's weightlifting team at North Fort Myers has been around since 2020. Women's weightlifting was first seen on the global stage in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which was a monumental year for 85 female athletes from 48 countries.
Now the North Fort Myers team is looking to foster a culture of inclusivity, hard work, and dedication no matter the outcome. "I noticed the more work I put in, the better the outcome I was given, and the more I ask my coaches for help, I noticed my lifts getting a lot better and I started to make more friends. It just helped me a lot", adds Mallory.
Characteristics and friendships are what these girls will take with them beyond their high school years. "Just keep pushing and you can do it. I can do it! I'll get up and tomorrow is another day! I've definitely been reaching my goals over time and setting new ones. It just helps me progress more and more and keeps me going." Mallory says her goal for this year is to clean more than she weighs, and she's close.
As for Addison, she says she's looking to get those numbers lifted as high as possible. And let me tell you, she said it with such confidence that we here at Fox 4 have no doubt they both will reach any goal they set for themselves.