KSHSAA Title IX
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50 Weeks, 50 Stories - Starting June 23rd the KSHSAA will celebrate the 50th year of Title IX, when Congress proclaimed that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Kansas has benefited many times over from the inclusion of women and girls in high school activities. The stories to come will highlight the legends and trail blazers that we are so fortunate to have in Kansas. We are grateful to partner with WIN for KC, an organization with the mission to empower the lives of girls and women by advocating and promoting the lifetime value of sports through opportunities for participation and leadership development. WIN for KC and the KSHSAA believe involvement in activities and sports lay the ground work for supporting well-rounded citizens in our communities and beyond. For more on WIN for KC visit: https://www.sportkc.org/win-for-kc

Featured Article of the Week

Silver Lake Softball

Silver Lake Softball

Silver Lake softball has enjoyed amazing success under a variety of coaching combinations for the past 30 years. Thirteen state softball championships and four runner-up trophies later, Silver Lake ranks second behind Bishop Carroll's 14 state titles for the softball capital of Kansas.

Softball enjoys the highest winning percentage of any Silver Lake sport. Silver Lake graduate Lexi Cobb currently plays softball at North Texas University and power-hitting Daryn Lamprech stars at Northern Iowa. The Eagles' softball tradition started in 1989 under legendary Silver Lake football coach C.J. Hamilton. [Read]

Alysun Deckert - Salina South

Alysun Deckert - Salina South

Running wasn't always easy for Alysun Deckert. She only made it look that way. A standout runner from Salina South, Deckert dominated Class 5A girls distance events in Kansas over a three-year span from 1981 through 1984. So much so that nearly 40 years later, current athletes are still chasing some of her school and state meet records.

Deckert won nine state titles over her final three years at South, including three individual state cross country titles. She also swept the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs at the 5A state track meet each of her final three seasons. While doing so, she overcame bouts with injuries and anemia - setbacks that only seemed to make her stronger. [Read]

Catherine Fox

Catherine Fox - Bishop Miege

The majority of college athletes would probably be content with winning one national championship or collecting one All-America honor during their collegiate career.

Catherine Fox won national titles in five individual events and several relays as a member of the Stanford University women's swim team in the 1990s. And she was an All-American in every single event in which she competed. That's seven All-America honors each season – 28 total in her four-year career as a Cardinal swimmer.

Fox also earned Student Athlete of the Year honors three times at Stanford, set two American swimming records, and was voted into Stanford's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010. [Read]

Trisa Nickoley

Trisa Nickoley - Shawnee Heights

Since her record-setting Shawnee Heights track and cross country career ended in 2004, Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Famer Trisa Nickoley never completely got away from sports.

Nickoley went on to a standout career at Missouri and her profession is helping to promote corporate wellness, but lately the 17-time Kansas state champion has started feeling like it may be time to get more involved with the sport she loves.

Nickoley, who has a 17-month-old son, Armani, recently moved back to her old Topeka stomping grounds and has relatives who are getting involved in sports, which has served to rekindle Nickoley's memories of her career. [Read]

Amy Oberhelman - Manhattan

Amy Oberhelman - Manhattan

Being a doctor is hard work. But Dr. Amy Oberhelman is no stranger to hard work.

Once she discovered her passion for swimming as a 10-year-old, the Manhattan native dove in with abandon, putting in two workouts a day, six days a week. That had work paid off with eight Kansas high school gold medals, six state records, and recognition as an All-American. It continued to pay off with a scholarship to Stanford. And it led her to medical school and a career as a radiologist.

"Swimming takes a lot of time, and there are a lot of sacrifices you have to make along the way," Oberhelman said. "I think that developed my work ethic and my ability to dedicate myself to something. It helped my focus.[Read]

Janell (Smith) Carson

Janell (Smith) Carson - Fredonia HS

The late Janell (Smith) Carson of Fredonia, who passed away in 2020 after a battle with cancer, was one of the greatest girls track and field athletes in Kansas history despite never getting the opportunity to run a single high school race.

But Carson, who passed away at the age of 73, was one of many outstanding female athletes in the pre-Title IX era who accentuated the need for the legislation that has changed the lives of countless athletes over the last 50 years. [Read]

Sandra Myers

Sandra Myers

When Sandra Myers-Brown grew up on a farmstead north of Windom, the two-time Olympian never dreamed of participating in the Olympic Games.

Myers, a graduate of Little River High School, rightfully earned her reputation as one of the greatest female track and field stars in Kansas high school history. She won 13 individual gold medals at the State Outdoor championships, one relay gold and sparked Little River to three team titles. Myers was a four-time state champion in the 100 and 200 meters, a three-time long jump champion and two-time 400-meter champ. [Read]

Lynette Woodard

Lynette Woodard - Wichita North

The trophy has seen better days, the head of the player mounted on the base broken off long ago. But it remains one of Lynette Woodard's most prized possessions. For it was the beginning."I cherish the little trophy I got at home with the head broke off now," Woodard said of the hardware earned during the earliest stages of playing basketball. "That was the seed that kept me going."

From that seed sprouted one of the most prolific and legendary basketball careers anyone has ever enjoyed, male or female. Woodard went on to star at every level - in high school at Wichita North, collegiately at the University of Kansas, professionally in the WNBA and globally with the United States Olympic team (twice) and the Harlem Globetrotters. [Read]

Jackie Stiles

Jackie Stiles - Claflin HS

It seems like everyone has a story about Claflin's Jackie Stiles, and it's to the point that they've become folklore. Maybe you've heard about how she decided as a second grader that she'd not only play in the pros but be Rookie of the Year? Or how she resolved, after one poor performance, to make 1,000 shots a day?

Or how about when she broke her right wrist - on her shooting hand - as a sophomore and then averaged 20 points a game while playing left-handed? Maybe you were even in one of those post-game autograph lines that stretched endlessly because you had to meet Stiles? [Read]

Emily Ryan

Emily Ryan - Central Plains HS

Emily Ryan's high-school basketball career at Central Plains High School is legendary. Ryan owns girls state basketball records for career steals (599), career free throw percentage (90.5 percent), career field goal percentage (.738); season field goal percentage (.796) and best single game free throw percentage (14-14, 100 percent).

In her final high school game against Ingalls, Ryan surpassed the 3,000-point barrier, finishing with 3,007 points to place third all-time behind Claflin's Jackie Stiles (3,603) and Moundridge's Laurie Koehn. [Read]

Emily Ryan

Emily Ryan - Central Plains HS

Emily Ryan's high-school basketball career at Central Plains High School is legendary. Ryan owns girls state basketball records for career steals (599), career free throw percentage (90.5 percent), career field goal percentage (.738); season field goal percentage (.796) and best single game free throw percentage (14-14, 100 percent).

In her final high school game against Ingalls, Ryan surpassed the 3,000-point barrier, finishing with 3,007 points to place third all-time behind Claflin's Jackie Stiles (3,603) and Moundridge's Laurie Koehn. [Read]

Marylynn Smith

Marilynn Smith - Golf Pioneer

Title IX of the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights enforces and protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs for schools of all levels. In 2022, women's athletics celebrate a half-century of equal rights to participate in sports. The Kansas State High School Activities Association embarked on a year-long celebration of people in Kansas who have influenced the growth of sports for female student-athletes.

Marilynn Smith, legendary golfer and native Kansan, was and would still be proud of the advancement of women's athletics since Title IX became law in 1972. [Read]

The First Girls State Wrestling Tournament

The First Girls State Wrestling Tournament

The inaugural Kansas Girls State Wrestling Tournament meant different things for different people.For some, the event in February 2020 was the culmination of years of hard work. For others, it provided an opportunity to show what was possible for a group of determined female athletes when given the chance.

Sports such as track and field, basketball and volleyball have all held annual girls state championships in Kansas for nearly 50 years. [Read]

Mya Kretzer - McPherson HS

Mya Kretzer - McPherson HS

The passage of Title IX in the early 1970s opened up numerous opportunities for female athletes to participate in sports previously dominated by their male counterparts.

More than 40 years later, McPherson's Doug and Mya Kretzer realized there were still opportunities unfulfilled. Together they helped lead an effort to give high school girls in Kansas a chance to make wrestling a sport of their own. [Read]

Brenda (Bruggeman) Cox

Brenda (Bruggeman) Cox

Brenda (Bruggeman) Cox couldn't even imagine what a college basketball career would look like when she started playing competitively in the seventh grade. So having four daughters, who would excel in college sports, win national championships and go on to play professionally was the farthest thing from her mind.

But here she is, 40 years later, shaking her head while thinking about where it all began - on the hardwood floor of Felten Middle School in Hays. [Read]

Central Plains Basketball

Central Plains Basketball

By the time Emily Ryan played her first basketball game as a Central Plains freshman during the 2016-17 season, she had already seen so much winning by the Oilers. Her older sister, Janae, had been part of three state titles, along with their dad, Jim, an assistant coach.

"When I was in fifth, sixth grade when my sister was on the team, I thought they were the greatest," said Emily Ryan, who now plays at Iowa State. "They started the streak and had an incredible team…. I walked into a situation that was so good. The culture, it's something I'll never forget." [Read]

Shalee lehning

Shalee Lehning

Ask Shalee Lehning about playing driveway basketball with her older brother, Matt, and his friends when she was a precocious young girl and she will tell you that it all seemed natural. Ask the former Sublette High School all-around standout athlete about playing pick-up games with the guys when she was in middle and high school, and she will tell you that it all was just the way of life in a small southwest Kansas community. When Lehning started playing organized sports and the girls and boys were separated into their own competitions, that too seemed natural. She said she just never really thought about what those opportunities were and how they came to be at such a young age. [Read]

Terry English

Terry English

Administrators at Bishop Miege High School in the Kansas City suburb of Roeland Park didn't have far to look when they started a girls' basketball program in the mid-1970s. They asked the local guy who was helping his daughter coach the St. Agnes Catholic School seventh- and eighth-grade teams across the street from Bishop Miege. That gym rat, Terry English, grew up just a few blocks from St. Agnes. He had starred in basketball at Bishop Miege in the 1960s and went on to play at Rockhurst College – also just a few miles from home. Of course, English said "yes" to the offer from Miege and also accepted a job as the school's physical education teacher. [Read]

Koehn, Ohlde, Wecker

Koehn, Ohlde, Wecker

It's an awfully big job to put into perspective the impact Moundridge's Laurie Koehn, Clay Center's Nicole Ohlde and Marysville's Kendra Wecker had on girls basketball in Kansas. Where do you start?

* Koehn played in four state title games with Moundridge, winning three. Koehn and Wecker were three-time All-State players. Koehn scored 1,700 career points at Kansas State and set an NCAA record for threes made in a career that stood until 2015. She played for the Washington Mystics and the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA and played in Poland, Turkey and Australia. [Read]

Allison Meads - Olathe East

Allison Meads - Olathe East

She is the greatest high school gymnast in Kansas history, and very few people in her life know it. The 2013 graduate of Olathe East so dominated the state during her career, she earned 12 of 15 possible first-place medals at the state competition. But Meads made decisions along the way to be a well-rounded individual. She put gymnastics behind her after high school, focusing on other interests. Now a Spanish teacher at Combs High School (located southeast of Phoenix), Meads coaches high school pole vaulters on the side. She is married and dedicated to being a great teacher. [Read]

St. Thomas Aquinas Soccer

St. Thomas Aquinas Soccer

Few American cities are more known for soccer than Kansas City. The city is bidding to be a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Kansas City was one of 10 founding members of Major League Soccer in 1996, and today, Sporting Kansas City is one of the league's model franchises. Professional women's soccer returned this year, and the NWSL's Kansas City Current is in the early stages of building a stadium in downtown Kansas City, Mo. There are soccer complexes scattered throughout the metropolitan area, in Overland Park, in Kansas City on both sides of the state line, Olathe and Lee's Summit, Mo. [Read]

Sarah Noriega

Sarah Noriega - Ulysses HS

When one drives into the southwest Kansas community of Ulysses, there is a green sign indicating that it's the hometown of Sarah Noriega - USA Women's Olympic volleyball player in 2000.It's not often one high school student-athlete from this area of Kansas could draw so much notice for the accomplishments she made after high school graduation in 1994. [Read]

Susan True

Susan True - Title IX Pioneer

Topeka native Susan (Schober) True was a pioneer for Title IX from a work career she started in Kansas.

True sung the praises of Title IX from the time she was hired as Washburn University's gymnastics coach in 1972. "I began my heavy involvement in promoting Title IX and athletic competition for girls while at Washburn," she said. "Title IX passed and I became a real advocate for Title IX. [Read]

Joan Wells

Joan Wells - Lawrence HS

Building a high school sports dynasty in Kansas doesn't come without hard work and sacrifice by coaches and players alike. Building a dynasty from the ground up, as Joan Wells did at Lawrence High School, can be even more of a daunting task.

Wells spent 27 years as the volleyball coach at Lawrence High and during that Hall of Fame career, led the Lions to the state volleyball tournament every year but one — 1971, her first year at Lawrence and the first year for state volleyball tournaments sponsored by the Kansas High School Activities Association. [Read]

The Tennals

The Tennals

Like virtually everyone involved with female athletics, hall of fame coaches Kimbrook and Kim Tennal, the winningest husband and wife coaching duo in Kansas history, are thankful for Title IX, which opened doors for females across the United States 50 years ago. The Tennals, who grew up in the 1960s and '70s, only regret that it didn't happen sooner. "It's come a long, long ways, it was just slow,'' said Kimbrook Tennal, best known for dominating coaching runs at Nemaha Valley (now Nemaha Central) and Centralia. "I always felt like it was such a rip-off that the girls in my class and the ones before that didn't get to do any sports at all. [Read]

Jill Simpson

Jill Simpson - Columbus HS

Anyone who knew Jill (Simpson) Miller as a youngster expected big things of her on the golf course when she reached high school. After all, she came from a golfing family. She said she practically lived at the small country club while growing up in Columbus, a town of about 3,000 in southeast Kansas. And after receiving her first set of clubs at age 10, she began competing - and excelling - in tournaments all across the state and beyond. [Read]

Bishop Miege VB

Gwen Pike - Miege Volleyball

Headed to her senior year at Bishop Miege in the fall of 1994, Laura Gorr (Bokenkroger), was about to get some unexpected news. A defensive specialist for the reigning Class 5A state champion volleyball team, Gorr knew the Stags graduated a talented senior class, but she didn't really anticipate her role changing much.Her coach, Gwenn Pike, had other ideas. [Read]

Wichita Collegiate Tennis

Wichita Collegiate Tennis

Any player who tries out for Wichita Collegiate's girls tennis program makes the team. It doesn't matter how many players there are, coach Dave Hawley finds tournaments for them to play during the course of the season. [Read]

St. Thomas Aquinas Golf Dynasty

St. Thomas Aquinas Golf Dynasty

St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park has won more than 100 state championships in its history. But there had to be a first. The Aquinas girls golf team claimed a championship in 1992 and has continued to set the pace at the school. [Read]

Dodie Martin

Dodie Martin - Stanton County HS

By the time Dodie Martin reached her freshman year of high school in the fall of 1995, Title IX had been in place for more than two decades. The Johnson-Stanton County teenager was certainly well aware of high school girls' athletics, but admittedly hadn't looked at the historic nature of the Education Amendment of 1972 that produced opportunities for female student-athletes to compete. [Read]

Cailie Logue

Cailie Logue - Girard HS

Throughout her high school career, Cailie Logue was blessed not only with strong parental support, but with dedicated coaches who always had the talented athlete's best interests at heart. It didn't hurt that Logue, now a standout distance runner at Iowa State, had both parents as her track and cross country coaches while in high school. [Read]

Dani McHenry

Dani McHenry - Shawnee Hts.

Former Shawnee Heights multi-sport star and Washburn University Hall of Famer Dani (McHenry) Schmidt was never shy about trying any sport and will be forever grateful she had that opportunity. Title IX, which is marking its 50th anniversary during the 2021-22 school year, opened doors for female athletes across the United States and Schmidt took full advantage, participating in soccer, softball, volleyball and basketball growing up. [Read]

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith - Wichita SE

In the spring of 1999, Jessica Smith hopped on a bus and headed west. Then a freshman soccer player at Wichita Southeast, Smith was something of a myth around Kansas high school soccer. [Read]

Brittany Dietz

Brittany Dietz (Carvalhido)

Richard and Marsha Dietz taught their daughter Brittany Dietz (Carvalhido) to dream big at Osborne High School. More than 20 years after Carvalhido completed a 149-0 tennis career, she is the epitome of Title IX equality. She works as a men's basketball administrative assistant for coach Will Wade at Louisiana State University, one of the nation's premier athletic programs.[Read]

Jacque Struckhoff

Jacque Struckhoff

The mid- to late-1970s were a prime time for young female athletes who had yearned for years to participate competitively for their high schools. Girls were starting to benefit greatly from Title IX - a federal law that provided equal athletic opportunities for boys and girls - and it was a great time to be a Grinnell Warrior.[Read]

Amy Mortimer

Amy Mortimer-Riley County

Growing up on a small farm between Riley and Manhattan, Amy (Mortimer) Garman tried a variety of sports - and struggled. But when she was 10 years old and running the mile for P.E. class for the Presidential Physical Fitness test, Mortimer found her calling. She ran a 7:35 mile, beating all but one male in her class. [Read]

Baldwin Cross Country

Baldwin Cross Country

In the 50 years since the enactment of Title IX, there have been a handful of dynasties in Kansas girls sports. The Baldwin High School girls cross country program certainly qualifies. Obviously that doesn't happen without a lot of talented athletes to work with. But that run of success is due as much to the culture as it is to the talent. [Read]

Adrianna Franch

Adrianna Franch - Salina South HS

Adrianna Franch, a Salina native and Salina South graduate, has been among the top goalkeepers in this country over the last five years. She has represented the United States in both the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2019 and is now on her first Olympic roster as a member of the U.S. team playing in Japan this summer. [Read]

KAY Logo

'Once a KAY, Always a Kay'

Cheryl Gleason has been a part of the Kansas Association for Youth (KAY) for a half-century as a student camper, camp staffer and, for the last three-plus decades, the state director. Gleason's passion and enthusiasm for the KAY program has never wavered. Her commitment is as strong as ever as she enters her final few weeks working for the Kansas State High School Activities Association. [Read]

Women In Officiating

Women in Officiating

It was 1990, and Fran Martin was coaching the El Dorado High School girls basketball team during the midseason Lady Wildcat Classic. As Martin's team took the floor, she noticed something unique about the referee crew - it was all female. [Read]

Patty Dick

Guest Essay - Patty Dick

Patty Dick was a fixture on the Washburn Lady Blues' sideline for 23 years before retiring following the 1999-2000 season. She was inducted into the Washburn Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001-02. She was an athlete, teacher and coach at Washburn Rural HS. Patty wrote about her story in athletics... [Read]

Leading the Way

Administrators, Leading the Way

If high school sports were effectively a boys club prior to 1972, they would be no longer, thanks to the enactment of Title IX. That meant opportunities for girls in all activities, and it also mean opportunities for women in the administration of those activities. Women like Cheryl Gleason and Charlotte Davis, who saw their athletic opportunities limited while in high school prior to Title IX, were some of the earliest administrators in Kansas high school sports once that door opened. [Read]

KAY Logo

KSHSAA To Honor the 50th Year of Title IX

The late Janell Smith-Carson of Fredonia was arguably the greatest high school female track and field athlete Kansas has ever produced. But, Smith never won a medal at the Kansas State High School Activities Association's state track and field meet in Wichita. In fact, she never competed in the state meet at all despite still owning the all-time state record of 52.3 seconds in the 400-meter dash and one of the best marks ever - nearly 20 feet - in the girls' long jump. [Read]