Shantell Bingham ’11 Offers Words of Inspiration at Annual Seminary Hill Cup Dinner
On October 18, Centennial Gym echoed with the resounding spirit of unity and empowerment as the Seminary Hill Cup Dinner kicked off the 15th Seminary Hill Cup (SHC). Episcopal welcomed Shantell Bingham ’11, proud alumna and new mother, to reminisce about her participation in the inaugural Seminary Hill Cup in 2007. As Bingham’s infant son and husband cheered her on in the audience, the former track star encouraged current EHS athletes to appreciate how remarkable an event like Seminary Hill Cup was for The High School in the early 2000s — and how remarkable it remains today.
Reflecting on her time at Episcopal, Bingham shared how celebrating women’s competitive spirit in sports was unheard of during her freshman year. “It simply did not exist,” she said. “Although we were allowed to play sports, the explicit celebration of women athletes at The High School occupied a passive space.” The turning point came during her sophomore year when then Director of Girls’ Athletics Jen Fitzpatrick began to envision an annual girls’ only competition between EHS and cross-town rivals St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes.
“I was a pretty intense track athlete, but my seasons were winter and spring, so I was on the yearbook staff during the fall,” Bingham explained. “An event like the Seminary Hill Cup spiced up my fall yearbook season.” To her, the Seminary Hill Cup endorsed the School’s pride in its female athletes, no matter which sport they played.
“Every time a girl wore her maroon and black jersey to compete, we were rewriting history. Every time a girl slid on her tennis shoes, knee pads, or shin guards, we defied century-old expectations,” Bingham said, reminding the audience that SHC is also a tribute to the trailblazing women who came before them. “Every time a girl picked up her racket or field hockey stick, we built a new culture and tradition. Every time we huddled together drenched in sweat, we were being nothing less than revolutionary.”
She concluded the speech with a powerful message: “As you head out to the fields, courts, and distance courses, know this: Win or lose, you are extraordinary. Rain or shine, your sisters have your back.”