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Girls flag football is off an running in New York

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As the high school spring sports season starts to wind down, it marks the successful first season of girls high school flag football across New York state.

For players like Caroline Menon of Syracuse West, it’s an opportunity to embrace a girls high school sport that is more physical than others.

“It’s really nice to play like a physical sport as girls because we play a lot of sports where the refs are really like light and they make it a lot easier and less contact,” Menon said. “This sport has been like so new when we’ve actually got to play really hard and really tough.”

Menon is one of hundreds across New York participating in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s newest sport for girls.

“I’m a huge Bills fan, so once I saw that football was offered, I had to just to play like the Bills,” Menon said with a smile.

Caroline enjoying success on the field. A leader, her coach Stephen Brice says many of her teammates look up to

“She does everything right at practice,” Brice said. “She’s the first one out there. She’s the first one around her friends. She’s the first one in the huddle. You know, she’s coming to me when she messes up. She comes to me when she needs some help, even if it goes right, she’s just willing to learn at all times. And that’s a really good trait to have your quarterback have.”

But more importantly, she’s a leader in the classroom. She is Corcoran High School’s valedictorian for the class of 2024, showing her peers, success comes in all shapes and forms.

“You can do both,” Menon said of athletics and academics. “And I think that being an athlete, a competitive athlete, has made me even better in the classroom. I mean, I’m a very competitive person. I hate to lose and I love to win and I like to work hard. And it’s just shown like working hard in the classroom has helped me work hard in the field and vice versa.”

She’s a pioneer of sorts for other girls to follow.

“I’m really happy that we’re setting this precedent for the younger girls,” Menon said. “I know a bunch of young girls who want to play. I know I wanted to play when I was younger and it’s really awesome to be the first group of people and to be playing at a high level and setting the standard of being competitive and serious at practice and serious at games and composing ourselves on the field.”

A sport that came together so quickly and will continue to grow even after Caroline and her teammates play their last high school snap.

“There’s girls that are ready to leave track,” Brice said. “There’s girls in the hallways at Corcoran High School that are like, ‘maybe I should have played,’ and you know, we’re going to train in the summer and hopefully get them to make the switch or just join us on this unique opportunity.”

“I think that once we keep going, we start building up our JV teams, it’s going to be a huge sport and probably a big college sport in a little while,” Menon said.

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