FOOTBALL: Boston Militia RB Whitney Zelee becomes first Woman in history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season
WHITNEY ZELEE RUNS FOR 2,016 YARDS, 34 Td’s IN 7 GAMES RECORD SEASON
This past weekend, a young woman by the name of WHITNEY ZELEE set a rushing record for the Boston Militia and the Women’s Football Alliance by rushing for 236 yards in a game against the Central Maryland Seahawks. With the results of this game, Zelee has established a new benchmark in football by rushing for 2,016 yards in only 7 games and 123 carries for an average of 16.4 yards per carry.
The world of full contact football for women has been around since 1926. Modern women’s football seems to date back to 1965 when it got reorganized in Cleveland, Ohio. With the introduction of Title IX in 1992, the sports world received a boost in the number of women whose participation in sports grew from 300,000 to over three million today. With this surge, women’s participation in semi and professional full contact football has rocketed to new heights.
Zelee has joined an elite list of football players who have achieved the 2,000 yard rushing mark. The NFL has only 7 players who have reached this milestone and it took them 16 games to accomplish it. NFL has guys by the name of Dickerson, Peterson, Lewis, Sanders, Davis, Johnson and Simpson that lead the list.
The NCAA has cracked that mark in 1988 with Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State gaining 2,628 yards in 11 games and in 2003 when Jamaal Branch, Colgate, gained 2,326 yards in 16 games.
Now the world of women’s football has WHITNEY ZELEE leading the way and with still one more regular season game and the playoffs in front of her and the Militia. One can only wonder what the final numbers will be at the conclusion of the season.
Zelee’s march started on April 13, 2013 against the New York Sharks as she rushed 15 times for 193 yards and had touchdown runs of 59, 5, 3, 7 and 54 yards. Since that time she has continued her march and has rushed for over 300 yards in 4 games this season. No player has gained 300 yards in 4 games in any season of football. Zelee has scored 34 touchdowns in 7 games and that too is a season record.
Against the DC Divas on May 18, 2013, Zelee rushed for 344 yards and scored 7 touchdowns, caught a pass and ran for 44 yards and her eighth TD of the night in an unusual 81-54 victory for the Boston Militia. The 8 touchdowns in one game is another major milestone in the record books. And the 135 points set a new WFA scoring record.
Zelee’s stands 5’7” and weighs a rock solid 165pounds. She is a running back that has accomplished this feat with a strong work ethic and personal drive for perfection of an athlete with a championship goal. Whitney has worked throughout the offseason to get herself into the top physical condition to prepare for a season of full contact Women’s football in the Women’s Football Alliance.
Being a football fan was always fun for Zelee. When she found out that there was a league for women to play the game of football, she told herself that she should look into it. So she attended a Boston Militia practice and playoff game to see what this game was all about and how competitive it was. As a result, Zelee became obsessed with the thought of playing the game of football. So in 2011, Whitney Zelee joined the Boston Militia and turned her dream into a reality.
Whitney’s parents are from Liberia, a small country in Africa. When she told them that she was playing football, they assumed she meant soccer. When they found out that she meant American football, they thought that their daughter was mistaken and that she would get hurt. Needless to say, they are a lot more supportive of Whitey now that they have seen what she has accomplished.
Zelee says that she “starts every season with two goals in mind. The first goal is to get better and the second is to win a championship. It’s really that simple for me. If I ever lose my hunger to achieve those goals, I would lose my desire to play. I came across a quote once that read ‘Everybody loves to win. Champion’s love to prepare’. In an effort to get better this year, I started working with our quarterback, Allison Cahill, in the off season.
She is a personal trainer and she had me lifting 4 days a week. Zelee says that she learned to love the work because she knew it would make me that much better on the field”. When asked about practice, Zelee’s reply was “showing up to practice isn’t enough. You have to show up and get better. The hunger you have at practice is a good indication of what you are going to bring to a game. I strongly believe in practicing how you want to play, so for me, there is no difference between practice and a game. Both are opportunities to get better”.
Head Coach, Derrick Beasley feels that Zelee “is the best running back that has ever put on a Boston Militia uniform” and “is one of the best running backs in women’s football throughout the country”.
Zelee attended Winsor High School and participated in soccer, swimming and rowing. She is a graduated from Holy Cross College in 2010 and majored in Psychology.
With the individual rushing goal accomplished, Zelee has definitely improved her performance on the field and has met one goal, ‘getting better’ on the football field. Now the second goal is the major challenge before her, her teammates and coaches. That goal is Women’s Football Alliance Championship in San Diego on August 3.
Story From Press Release prepared by: Frank Ferrelli, Boston Militia General Manager.
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