RACVB Hosts Annual "Sports Stories"

ROCKFORD - The Stateline is home to several people who have made it big in the world of sports. For the second straight year, the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau highlighted some of those individuals with its "Sport Stories" at the Aldeen Golf Club.

"Just like when you come together representing the United States in all fields and areas - it's just beautiful," 1988 Olympic Boxing Bronze medalist, Kenny Gould said.

Gould was one of three panelists invited to discuss their own sports stories, made up of athletes and sports professionals from the Rockford area.

Sharing her own story as well was Roscoe native and ESPN's own, Nicole Briscoe. From getting her start in Rockford at the age of 19, Briscoe always knew she wanted to hit a bigger stage.

"You can be from anywhere," Briscoe said. "You can be from the smallest town in the smallest state and you can still accomplish everything if you work hard enough and put your mind to it."

Briscoe wasn't the only female being represented in the world of sports either. Accepting the program's first Sports Tourism Champion Award was the Rockford Raptors' President Jennifer Mateus.

"We've always been a program that has pushed both male and female athletes to the highest level possible and so for us to be able to get this is a very exciting time for us," Mateus said.

At 93 years old, Rockford Speedway owner, Jody Deery knows just how important the representation is for the next generation of younger girls.

"Big step, because {...} I always said, ya' know, I walked into a man's world," Deery said.

For little girls aspiring to break into the world of sports, Briscoe hopes to continue breaking down barriers.

"The better I do, the stronger I am, and the thicker the skin that I carry with me, it's going to make it easier for the next person that comes along the line," Briscoe said. "Someday, this conversation won't be happening anymore."

Also in attendance for the panel was Darin Monroe, Rock Valley College's head softball coach; he's lead his ladies to five straight NJCAA Division III national championships.

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