Ashley Whisonant- Firefighter and Football Diva
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”.
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.
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!