"I asked her 'Do you want to start boxing?' " Dawn LeBeau said. "She said 'Yeah, that sounds like a good idea'."
Dawn went through the "ridiculously easy" process of reserving ROC Boxing for an hour twice a week. Her daughter Jen recruited classmates who were quickly hooked.
Just like that, what is likely the nation's only all-girls high school boxing team was born. Three years later, there are 14 girls who workout with Dawn and three other Mercy staffers.
The team is coached by Dana Stubb, who's a Spencerport grad and an ex-amateur boxer.
There is still skepticism. "We definitely get the sense from some people that boxing is not a women's sport," Dawn LeBeau said. When asked if she lets that criticism stop her team, Dawn says "Heck no!"
Amateur boxing is less about violence and knockouts and more about technique and conditioning. For this team, it's also about family and sisterhood. Boxing is also about learning how to take a shot, and not just the shots they take in the ring.
"I love that they feel competent," Dawn LeBeau said. "I want to have young women that feel strong and competent. Women that are not afraid."
"I didn't feel that I had a place to belong," said senior Cathryn Cavanaugh. "I didn't feel that great about myself. When I joined boxing, everything changed. I gained confidence in myself. I gained more friends. I had a place to be. It's done so much for me."
The program reached its pinnacle March 1st when Mercy was invited to participate at the Aquinas Mission Bouts.
"They really looked great," said Aquinas boxing coach Dom Arioli. "I got more compliments about how the female bouts were."
"Competing with the Aquinas girls is what conviced our school to actually that boxing was a sport at Mercy," said senior Jen LeBeau.
To keep boxing in college, most of these girls will have to start their own team. That's exactly what they plan to do.