This June America’s top female athletes will compete in a multi-sport festival at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. The ESPN RISE Girls Showcase will include national championships and elite-level events in basketball, gymnastics, softball, taekwondo and volleyball. This is the inaugural year for the three-week event and is expected to draw nearly 15,000 nationally-ranked and recreational female athletes to Walt Disney World.
“ESPN RISE is proud to expand its commitment to high school girls through the inaugural ESPN RISE Girls Showcase,” said Laura Gentile, vice president, espnW and ESPN RISE digital and publishing. “The educational and leadership opportunities are just as important to the student-athletes as the competition.”
Among the events taking place will be national championships such as the AAU Jr. National Girls Volleyball Championships, USA Gymnastics Open Championships, U.S. Rhythmic Classic, Junior Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Optional Championships and Invitational, and the USA Taekwondo Women’s Invitational Cup. Other elite-level events will include the AAU Elite Eight 9th Grade Basketball Showcase, the USA Softball National Qualifier, the USA Taekwondo Women’s National Tournament Qualifier, and the USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team Trials, in addition to several recreation-level competitions.
The showcase will also include leadership and education components involving current female athletes as well as marquee former athletes and coaches such as former UCLA softball head coach Sue Enquist, whose teams have won 11 national titles.
“To bring together this many female athletes at an event featuring the nation’s best in a variety of sports will be a unique and inspiring experience for these young girls,” said Gail Brown, senior sports event manager for Disney Sports. “Disney and ESPN RISE value and support female athletes at every level and this event will give these talented young athletes a great opportunity to showcase their skills on a national stage.”
Portions of the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase will be shown online at ESPN3.com, including the AAU Jr. National Girls Volleyball Championship, the AAU Elite Eight 9th Grade Basketball Showcase Championship, the USA Gymnastics Open Championships, the USA Basketball U19 National Team game against Brazil and the USA Taekwondo Women’s National Qualifier.
The creation of the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase comes on the heels of the instantly successful ESPN RISE Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The annual ESPN RISE Games made its debut in 2009 and features some of the leading high school athletes and teams in the nation competing in baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse and softball in a two-week-long sports festival style event. This year’s event, July 13-27, is expected to draw more than 13,000 athletes from around the country.
The ESPN RISE Girls Showcase adds to the growing list of elite-level national youth sports events taking place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which is widely recognized as the leading multi-sports venue in the nation. This event further cements the sports complex as the preeminent sports destination for female youth athletes, who make up a little more than half of the nearly 300,000 athletes who compete and train annually at the sports complex.
Event details below the jump:
Had a great time at the opening ceremonies of the ESPN RISE Games on Saturday. The crowd and the student athletes were really pumped up for the official launch of the two week event. I think this rendition of Thriller, led by DJ Steve Dunlap, was a great way to get everyone into the spirit.
More on the opening ceremonies later, but I wanted to get out the schedule of events as they’ll be shown on ESPN3.com and ESPNU.
I attended last year’s inaugural ESPN RISE Games at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. It was a rain drenched opening ceremony but all the student athletes were really into it and a lot of fun was had by all. Since then the park has finished its rebranding and is now ESPN Wide World of Sports with a new look, more for athletes to do, and a great tie-in to the ESPN brand and technology.
This year over 13,000 Student Athletes are expected to attend ESPN RISE and events will even air on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. Even if your student’s team isn’t competing, ESPN RISE games is a great place to see some elite level competition across a range of sports. I’m looking forward to seeing as much of it as I can.
Note, the opening ceremony is July 17th, but some competition begins on July 14th.
For more details see the full press release below the jump: