Ashley Whisonant- Firefighter and Football Diva

PersonalityProfileAlthough the Washington D.C. area has been let down by its’ underachieving

Washington Redskins over the last few decades, there is another burgundy and gold

football team that is running away with their division…the D.C. Divas. In 2000 the D.C.

Divas, a women’s tackle football team, was born. Today, the Divas are one of the most

well-known and successful teams in women’s tackle football. The Divas rank in the top

five in women’s football history in victories, seasons played, games played, playoff

appearances, and division championships. The Divas have a 98-35 record in 14 seasons

of play and have played in two national championship games, claiming the NWFA

national championship after an undefeated season in 2006.

In 2015 the Divas completed another undefeated season by defeating the Chicago

Force on July 25 and claiming the National Conference Championship again. On August

8th the Divas will travel to Los Angeles, CA to play the Dallas Elite for the WFA National

Championship Game, which is their “Super Bowl”.

PersonalityProfile2Helping the Divas to this undefeated record is wide receiver Ashley Whisonant,

who is also an Alexandria firefighter at the Cameron Street Firehouse. Although Ashley

only stands five foot five, she appears to be a taller person. As she talks with me in a soft

voice and studies me through brown- rimmed glasses, I cannot help but notice the

muscled arms and smooth movements of an athlete.

Ashley, who now lives in Laurel, Maryland, grew up in Bowie, Maryland. She

graduated from St. John’s High School in the District excelling in basketball. After high

school Ashley attended the University of Arizona where she earned her bachelor’s degree

in psychology and became the starting guard on the basketball team. She had a standout

basketball career at Arizona starting for the team her last three years. In her senior year

she was named team MVP and defensive MVP.

Ashley returned to her native Maryland and continued her studies at George

Washington University here she earned her master’s degree in special education. She put

the degree to good use and taught Special Ed for three years in Fairfax County. Though

she decided to take another career path (see firefighting below) she continues to

substitute teach when the opportunity presents itself. She said that she loves working with

the kids but needs something a bit more physically challenging.

Looking for a more competitive life style, Ashley became a firefighter in 2012.

When I asked what her fellow firefighters thought of her gridiron activities she said,

“They are very supportive, in fact eleven from my station came out to a recent game.”

Here was an extremely intelligent person who teaches kids, plays full contact football and

likes to put out fires. Talk about having all your bases covered! I had never thought of

women as firefighters, so when the question was posed as to how many there were…I

was surprised. “In my recruitment class of 22 persons, 6 were women, and there are

currently five women stationed at the Cameron Street Firehouse,” she tells me. This

came as a surprise to me, but after meeting Ashley Whisonant, my mind is at ease.

PersonalityProfile3After playing full-contact football for five years Ashley is hungry for a National

Championship. She will travel with her team to Los Angeles for the final game of the

season on August eighth. “I really don’t know what to expect,” she says with a big smile,

“but if we win I do know that we get a ring.” I am sure Ashley will give it her all. As a

wide receiver, no one has caught her from behind yet. But she also understands the

dangers of the game. “My career is firefighting, so there will come a time when I will

have to walk away from football,” she says, “I don’t want to risk tearing up a knee.”

“But for now I just love the competition and I want to win.”

With the intelligence and physical gifts this woman has, I think that she will

always be a winner. The Alexandria Fire Department certainly is!

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