For centuries, women were discriminated against when it came to rights like voting, owning property and serving in the military and even athletics, but the passing of a bill called Title IX in 1972, allowed women to participate in school sports.
Women from each of North Central College’s 11 sports teams joined alumni, coaches, directors and sports educators for a luncheon, celebrating the 27th Annual celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day to recognize the importance of participation and equality for women’s sports.
Mary Kate Rohn is a junior at North Central College who plays on the College’s Golf team. “It’s a good sense of community. Everyone is here because they’re passionate about athletics, passionate and happy to be a female athlete and ready to show that we can accomplish just as much as anyone else can,” she said.
“It’s incredible. Going from, you’re told you can’t do that because you are a girl to see what these young ladies have before them, the opportunities, it’s amazing, and incredible, and awesome I just love it,” said Karen Hill, former North Central College Women’s Athletics coach. “I love the fact that it’s grown, and if I had any part in the growth of that here at North Central I am so pleased that history has finally realized we have something to offer and it isn’t just being women.”
North Central Graduate students host the luncheon each year, and since 2006 The Cleo Tanner Award for Outstanding Contributions to North Central College Women’s Athletics has been given out to individuals who have made a positive influence on women’s sports at the college.
Cleo Tanner came to North Central College in 1928 as the first physical education director for women. Her career spanned more than 40 years. As the first head coach of women’s tennis she lead the squad to ten consecutive tournament victories.
Co-Chair, Holly Roadruck helped plan the event. “She’s made a mark on North Central College women’s athletics and her presence is here with us today,” she said.
This year’s recipient was Karen Hill. A woman who served as the former head coach of women’s volleyball, basketball, softball, and track while employed as an admissions counselor at the college. Hill spoke to the theme of year’s event, “Girls in Sports, an Investment or the Future.”
“The bottom line is, what is your dream and what do you want to do about it? Just dig in, and do it. And don’t let anybody tell you, you’re just a girl you can’t do that,” said Hill. “Apparently you guys didn’t get that memo. Which is a good thing.”
North Central College’s Women’s sports were also recognized at the men’s basketball game over the weekend. Each team was called out to center court at halftime.
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