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  • Writer's pictureWomen's Sports Exchange

Countdown to 2023

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

10. UNC Field Hockey 10 Championships

The University of North Carolina women’s field hockey team won their tenth NCAA championship in 2022. This is their fourth title in five years! Led by seniors Erin Matson and Meredith Sholder, the 2022 team carried on the legacy of excellence the Tar Heels have earned. This season they also won the ACC Championship for the 25th time, more than any other school. Many of this season’s Tar Heels also play for the United States Women’s National Field Hockey team, such as Matson, Sholder, and senior Paityn Wirth. The future is bright for UNC with such stellar talent as Ryleigh Heck, who made the NFHCA second All-America team as a freshman.

9. Title XI

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

The words that started a movement. After Title XI’s passage in 1972, the doors opened wide for women’s sports athletes to participate in the games they love. Even though there is still so much to fight for, we’ve come a long way since then. From TV viewership to playing in stadiums typically reserved for men, all sports have seen significant leaps and bounds despite the need to fight for more.

8. USA Gymnastics 8 World Championship Gold Medals

The U.S. Women’s National Gymnastics team has won eight total gold medals as a team in the World Championships. Their success in this competition has accelerated in the past decade, as they have won five out of these eight golds since 2014. While the team has competed at the World Championships since 1962, their first gold medal didn’t come until 2003. They earned their most recent team gold at the 2022 World Championships which occurred Oct. 29 through Nov. 6. Team member Jade Carey also won individual gold at this event on the vault. The U.S. is the third-most decorated team in this competition and American gymnast Simone Biles is the most decorated individual, with 25 medals, 19 of which are gold.

7. Allyson Felix 7 Olympic Gold Medals

Allyson Felix is the most decorated track and field athlete in United States history. She surpassed Carl Lewis during her final Olympics in 2020 after winning her seventh Olympic gold in the 4x400 with Sydney McLaughlin, Athing Mu, and Dalilah Muhammad. Along with her seven gold medals, Felix has four other Olympic medals, making her total 11. Felix has been running for the United States since the 2004 Athens Olympics. She is also a ten-time U.S. national champion winning in 2004, 2005, 2007-12, 2015, and 2016. Felix has done more than just win; she has openly advocated for more financial protection for pregnant runners after a large controversy with Nike during her pregnancy when they wanted to cut 70% of her pay.

6. Serena won US Open Singles Title 6 times

The greatest tennis player of all time, Serena Williams has won the U.S. Open women’s singles title a total of six times. The only other woman to accomplish this feat is former world No. 1 tennis player, Chris Evert. Williams’ first win in this competition came in 1999 when she defeated Martina Hingis. Not only was this the first Open Era record for the U.S. Open, but also the first Open Era record of 23 major singles titles, making Williams the first Black woman in the Open Era to win a singles major. In 2014, Williams won her last U.S. Open title in an incredible performance where she did not lose a single set. Williams retired in Sept. 2022 after an astonishing 27-year career in professional tennis.

5. Dana Rettke first 5-time First Team all-American in NCAA volleyball

Known for her monster blocks, killer swings, and never-ending energy, Dana Rettke cemented herself as one of if not the best players in college volleyball history last year. Rettke was a fifth-year senior in 2021 after being given the opportunity for a fifth season since her senior season was during 2020 when teams had a shortened spring season. Rettke and the Badgers had fallen short in 2020, after being ranked the number 1 team in the nation all year and Rettke came back in 2021 to try and win the elusive title of national champion. And that she did. Plus she became the first player to receive first-team All-American honors five times. That means since her freshman year, Rettke was one of the top players in the country, something that is no easy feat. Rettke is currently playing professionally with Vero Volley Monza in Italy and the United States Women’s Volleyball National Team.

4. USWNT 4 World Cups

The U.S. Women’s National Team has won four World Cups: 1991, 1999, 2015, and 2019. They are the most successful international women’s soccer team in history. In addition to capturing four titles, they also reached the 2011 World Cup final before winning back-to-back trophies in 2015 and 2019. Their success has kept them ranked No. 1 in the world for almost the entire past decade.

3. Boston pride won the Isobel cup 3 times

The Boston Pride won the 2022 Isobel Cup for the Premier Hockey Federation, becoming the first team to win it three times. The Pride won the inaugural Isobel Cup in 2016 after being one of the founding four teams. In 2015 Hillary Knight scored the first goal in franchise history which helped lead them to their first championship. Brianna Decker also scored the first hat trick in the league's history making Boston a history-making team. On March 28, 2022, the Pride repeated as PHF champions beating the Whale 3–2. Taylor Wenczkowski scored the Isobel Cup-winning goal for the second year in a row and was named MVP of the Isobel Cup playoffs. Boston is currently second in the standings with nine games played, another playoff spot is likely in their future.

2. A’ja 2 time MVP

Not only did A’ja Wilson help lead her team to their first franchise WNBA championship win in 2022, but she also beat out every other player in the league to win the Most Valuable Player award for the second time in her career. Winning the award in 2020 and again in 2022 makes her the seventh player in WNBA history to win MVP more than once. Wilson was also named Defensive Player of the Year in 2022, the first to do so since 2007.

1. #1’s (Iga Świątek, Alexia Putellas, Rebeca Andrade, Mikaela Shiffrin and Kaori Sakamoto)

Iga Świątek’s 2022 season can only be characterized as remarkable, from a 37-match win streak to winning 8 titles, including 2 Grand Slams. Not only this, but she became the first Polish player to become WTA World No. 1 in April 2022 at only 20 years old, the 10th youngest to ever achieve this feat.

Alexia Putellas tore her ACL in July prior to the 2022 Women’s Euros but that didn’t stop her from continuing to win awards. Despite missing a large portion of 2022, she still won the UEFA Player of the Year award and the Ballon d’Or Feminin for the second consecutive year.

One year after her incredible Olympics, Rebeca Andrade made history, becoming the first Brazilian woman to win the women's individual all-around World Title. Andrade has torn her ACL on three different occasions, most recently in 2019, all of which kept her out of the World Champions making it all the more special.

Mikaela Shiffrin is currently on top of the world, recording her 80th World Cup victory on December 29, 2022. That victory made her the first ski racer to reach 50 wins in a single discipline, whereas no other racer has won an event more than 46 times. Shiffrin is on a roll right now, having won six races this season, and is ranked number 1 at the World Cup despite the rocky Olympics she had in February.

At just 22, Kaori Sakamoto has had a huge year from winning bronze at the 2022 Olympics to winning the 2022 world championship. Sakamoto also won the 2022 Skate America championship and was a 3-time Japanese national champion. She is a true world number one


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