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Women in sports take over the world

Joel Molina
Lilliana Valdespino, obtained her bachelor of science degree in mathematical sciences in 2019. She is now a graduate student of leadership studies as well as a graduate assistant for Strategic Communications at UTEP.

Strategic communications graduate assistant, Lilliana Valdespino, was a student athlete at UTEP before working with UTEP athletics. Valdespino was on both the cross country and track and field teams at UTEP where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and is set to graduate with her master’s degree in leadership studies in May 2023.  

Valdespino was a walk-on for the cross-country team. She said that her mom received an email about there being open tryouts, so she encouraged her to try out. Valdespino mentioned that she was the only person to show up for tryouts, so the coach gave her a two-week trial to practice and train with the team. 

At the end of that season, Valdespino won the Thomas Howard Athletic and Academic Achievement Walk-On award.  

“After the first week, he just handed me some papers ‘sign here, you’re on the team,’” Valdespino said. “It was a really fun opportunity, I wasn’t the best, but it was really fun just being a D1 athlete.”  

Valdespino has been working in sports for two years getting her start through an internship at the Sun Bowl Association during her last semester as an undergraduate. Valdespino said that she was not always looking into working in sports, but working at the Sun Bowl was an exciting experience for her. Being able to do behind the scenes work and updating record books is something she enjoys doing.   

“When they told me about this opportunity, I thought it was great,” Valdespino said. “I mean, I graduated from UTEP, I was a student athlete so it was a nice little homecoming type of path to get on. I’m really excited to continue as a full-time employee here after graduation.”  

Valdespino currently oversees beach and indoor volleyball, softball and rifle. Working with student athletes and ensuring their voices are heard is one of her favorite parts of working as a Sports Information Director at UTEP. Valdespino said that all sports are different when it comes to what is required for each one. She has been able to learn more about each sport while working at UTEP. One sport Valdespino says is very interesting to her and one of her favorites, is rifle. She says this sport is where she has learned the most. 

“I really like hearing all of their stories, especially all the ones that are international or even just transfers from within the states,” Valdespino said. “It’s just really cool just trying to bond with them because if they ever need anything or if I need something from them, it’s just an easy text away or I can just go up to them and I don’t have to feel like I’m intruding on them. People don’t ever really know that UTEP has a rifle team, which I love trying to explain that to them and how they got started and just how it works.”  

Being a woman in sports has meant so much to Valdespino. She loves that was a student-athlete at UTEP and can vouch for other student athletes and all four of her women’s teams. 

In the future, Valdespino says she can see women in sports taking over. She says that most schools already have more women’s sports thanks to Title IX with some schools having all-women teams in departments such as communications and media relations.  

“Jalen Hurts, his management team is all females, and you know that just shows women can do anything that men can do,” Valdespino said. “We had to start somewhere and we’re going to continue to just branch out in every aspect of sports, not just competing, but you know ownership and being an agent, communications, even just being a photographer.”  

Valdespino encourages women who want to work in sports to just go out and do it.  

“Sports can definitely use a women’s touch,” Valdespino says. “We’re seen as a lot more detail oriented and we get a lot more tasks done. I think that having more women in any kind of aspect in sports is really going to be beneficial for whatever the program or organization is that you’re working for. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t make it in sports because you most definitely can, and you will.” 

Katrina Villarreal is the multimedia editor and may be reached at [email protected] 



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About the Contributors
Katrina Villarreal
Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor
Katrina Villarreal is senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in theatre at UTEP. She is going into her second year at The Prospector and is currently the Multimedia Editor. Once she graduates, she plans on becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL or ESPN.  
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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Women in sports take over the world