The Addition of Girls’ Sports to the Bruce Mahoney Trophy

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Mr. Chu

The principals and presidents of Sacred Heart Cathedral and Saint Ignatius meet to announce the addition of girls’ sports to the Bruce Mahoney.

Throughout its century-long history, the Bruce Mahoney trophy has included only boys’ football, basketball, and baseball, omitting girls’ sports. Even when Sacred Heart merged with Cathedral and the school became co-ed in 1987, the Bruce Mahoney did not. However, on September 1, 2021, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Saint Ignatius both announced that, for the first time, women’s sports would be added to the historic rivalry.

For years, students and faculty at Sacred Heart Cathedral and Saint Ignatius have discussed the addition of girls’ sports into the Bruce Mahoney trophy. However, the debate over the past 20 years hasn’t centered around if girls should be included, but how. The Emerald website’s longest-running poll that has remained up for four years asks viewers if they think that girls’ sports should be included in the competition for the existing Bruce trophy, in a separate all-girls trophy, or not at all. Fifty-one percent of the 317 respondents answered that they would want girls’ sports to be included in a separate trophy only for girls’ sports, while thirty percent wanted to include girls’ sports in the existing Bruce Mahoney trophy. Despite the support of only one-fifth of the poll’s respondents, women’s sports have remained excluded for over three decades.

Responses to Do you feel that girls sports teams at SHC should contribute to the Bruce Mahoney Trophy? via Emerald website

Ms. Beima, co-Athletic Director and Coach of Girls’ Volleyball, explained she thinks that creating “a copycat trophy would leave girls sports secondary” to the boys’ Bruce Mahoney. She believes that “incorporating women into the tradition instead of starting something separate is more meaningful.” For this reason, many students and faculty advocated for the incorporation of girls’ sports directly into the trophy.

The Emerald talked to SHC students and faculty to hear their thoughts about this change. Here’s what they had to say:

“The addition of women’s volleyball and women’s basketball in the Bruce Mahoney series is not only a massive advancement for women’s sports, but a progressive step for the SHC community in gender equity as a whole. I look forward to building and sustaining this new tradition over years to come.” -Sydney Scott, ‘22 (Student Body President)

“Despite how long it took for it to be added, I’m really glad girls are allowed to participate along with boys in the Bruce Mahoney events this year.” -Ryan Hernandez, ‘24

“Honestly, adding girls volleyball should’ve been a no-brainer and it’s disappointing the two schools didn’t do it sooner. But, still, I’m glad that not just girls but also volleyball players can finally be included in the Bruce Mahoney.” – Conor Hansbury, ‘24

“I’m really happy that we have finally included girls sports into the Bruce Mahoney because it is such an important tradition at our school!” – Emma Major, ‘24

“I think that it’s great that they’ve finally included girl’s teams in the Bruce Mahoney. I am glad that they are finally getting the recognition they deserve.” – Angeline De Castro, ‘24

“I think it’s great that the girls are joining the Bruce Mahoney! We will have a much better chance of winning; the girls are going to win it for us.” -Sofia Nastari-Case, ‘23

“I feel extremely lucky and excited to be participating in the first-ever girl’s volleyball Bruce Mahoney game. I am also very happy that girls’ sports are finally being recognized and given the attention they deserve by being included in the Bruce. However, along with all these positive feelings, I am also feeling very nervous and stressed about playing in the Bruce. This is mainly because of how important Bruce games are, how competitive it is between both schools to win and receive the trophy, and how much pressure is placed upon the teams to win. Regardless of these mixed emotions, I know for certain that I feel incredibly honored and excited to play in the Bruce this year and be a part of the first girl’s volleyball team to do so.” -Arianna Rinaldi, ‘22 (Varsity Volleyball)

As a graduate at SI and a current SHC admin, I am thrilled we are finally including women. These schools are not just male schools. We need women’s sports elevating the contribution of women.”

— Ms. Nastari

“As a graduate at SI and a current SHC admin, I am thrilled we are finally including women. These schools are not just male schools. We need women’s sports elevating the contribution of women.” -Ms. Nastari

“As an alum, I’m super happy that the ladies are finally going to have the chance to be a part of this trophy, and that it’s finally a true school trophy.” -Ms. Villa, ‘03

“I think it’s a great change; it’s great that they’re promoting equity through the addition of Girls’ Sports.” -Nico Dreier, ‘22 (Varsity Football)

“I think it’s awesome and it’s about time that the girls get to be part of the tradition that’s been going on for years and it will bring more attention to the girl’s sports and include them in the tradition” -Jay Murphy ‘23 (Varsity Football)

“I’m super excited to play in the Bruce but also nervous because I haven’t been or played before, but it seems fun and I can’t wait.” -Reza Po, ‘24 (Varsity Volleyball)

“It’s about time!” -Ms. Rogers, ‘16 (Girls’ Tennis Coach)

“This is a long overdue change that makes the rivalry between the two schools more inclusive and meaningful.” -Mr. Standley 

“This is an exceptional opportunity for more people to honor the memory of Jerry Mahoney, the premise of the entire rivalry.” -Danny Panina, ‘22 (Varsity Football)

“As a female athlete in the SHC volleyball program, I’m excited to see how the female athletes of this school will contribute to the Bruce Mahoney. We’ve taken a big step in giving talented female athletes the recognition that they deserve. I’m really glad that we get show off our athletic abilities in such a big event.” -Ruby Hernandez, ‘25

“I think the addition of girls’ sports to the Bruce Mahoney is long overdue. This kind of representation featured at the school is super exciting and I can’t wait to be a part of it.” -Audrey Bonafacio, ‘22 (Varsity Volleyball)

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for our young ladies to be a part of a great tradition. It’s been a long time coming.” -Mr. Sazo

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Not only is this addition exciting as it gives girls the opportunity to participate in a storied SHC tradition, but it also is symbolic of greater recognition of girls’ sports in the SHC and SI communities. Typically, women’s sports at SHC and beyond garner less attention than boys’ sports. While at SHC, the lack of recognition manifests in desolate stands at girls’ matches, the same devaluation translates to a pay gap between professional female athletes and their male counterparts. Although this may seem like a small change to many, the addition of girls’ sports reverses an outdated norm, welcoming girls’ sports into an arena from which they have typically been excluded.