Win for KC Women’s Sports Awards honors six local women

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Each year,  Win for KC  honors six local residents at the annual women’s sports awards celebration luncheon. The awards focus on each woman’s contribution and achievements in sports and fitness. Each week leading up to the luncheon, FOX 4 will feature a new recipient.

The 2016 Lockton Resiliency Award goes to ninth-grader Alana Vawter. Two years ago Alana played volleyball, ran cross-country, swam and was a star on her softball team. Then one November night, everything changed within a few hours. Alana says she started having trouble breathing and her skin started getting really red. She was then diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, which is described as the body burning from the inside out as the disease causes extreme blistering of the skin and mucous membranes.

“The sports itself inspired me because it was like that's what I love to do and so that motivation helped me to recover faster because you have to return to your sports,” Alana said.

After a month-long recovery process, Alana led her volleyball team to win a national qualifier. Her club softball team to win the ASA Hall-of-Fame tournament, and was back in the pool by mid-January.

This fall, Alana was the only starting freshman on the Staley High School state champion softball team.​

The 2016 Kissick Construction Teamwork Award goes to Katie Sowers.

Katie is the Kansas City Parks and Recreation athletic director, and she is a key advocate for girls and women's sports in the metro. Katie is also the quarterback and general manager for the Kansas City Titans.​

She started a girls and women in sports committee to discuss ways to improve the "playing field.”

“When I first started my job, it was clear to me that a lot of girls don't have the opportunity to play sports," Katie said. "Whether that be subconscious, there was always missing so I decided to start this committee where there were members from all over parks and rec. We began the discussion of starting more opportunities.”

Katie has also been instrumental in creating opportunities for girls to participate in traditional male-dominated sports.

Watch the video above to hear more from her.

The 2016 Children's Mercy Youth Sports Girl Award goes to Claire Tietgen.

Claire is a strong, confident 13-year-old who has won 11 gold medals in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has joined her school`s wrestling team.

But just a few years ago, Claire was contemplating taking her own life after enduring years of intense bullying. Claire says she was constantly depressed.

Her dad enrolled her in a boxing class where she learned to change her attitude and eventually help others.

"I learned that I was very energetic and powerful and stronger than I thought I was because I'm a girl and girls are strong," Claire said. "Then I learned respect for myself."

Watch the video above to learn more about Claire.

The 2016 BKD Wow Award goes to FC Kansas City Blues.

The National Women's Soccer League has only been in existence for three years, and in that time, the Kansas City team has won two of the three national championships.

“It wasn't that long ago that KC youth players would play in youth clubs, high school, college level and after that their careers were over,” FCKC general manager and director of operation Huw Williams said. “Now there's more opportunities for soccer players. On our team we have four local players.”

Over the summer, four FCKC players made headlines after making the national women's team and went on to become World Cup champs.

Huw says the publicity at the national level is there for girls, but the equality in women's sports still has some work to do.

Watch the video above to hear from more from Huw.

The 2016 Hallmark Cards Leadership Award does to Kelly Siebert.

Siebert's son plays lacrosse, but when her daughter wanted to play in the northland there were no existing programs for girls. So, Siebert decided to start her own league, but that didn't happen overnight.

"Lots and lots of time, probably 20-30 hours a week for several months of the year for several years," Siebert said. "Then once it caught on, there was a core group of parents and have helped funnel the program today and we are the fastest growing sport in the country and our club is the leader in the city as far as growth. "

Watch the video above to hear more from Siebert and her diligent effort.

The 2016 UMB Senior Sportswoman award goes to Marilyn Deister.

At the age of 90, Marilyn still coaches four synchronized swim practices a week.

She fell in love with sports before 'Title Nine.'

After graduating from Mezzo in 1951 with a degree in health and physical education, Marilyn returned to Kansas City and started creating opportunities for female athletes.

"In the 50s women weren’t include in college sports, in fact they weren't included in high school sports and one thing that I’m really proud of is I started a basketball team in Kansas City," Marilyn said.  "We got to go to the national AAU championships that they pushed until they got basketball for girls in the Kansas City school district," Marilyn said.

One of Marilyn’s biggest career honors came during the Athens Olympics. She was the United States synchronized team's honorary coach.

Watch the video above to hear more of her inspiring story.