• Let the Girls Play

    To today’s female student athletes, athletic opportunities have always been available. They work out in the weight room of Walker Fieldhouse alongside the men, and they compete fiercely in the ten intercollegiate sports now offered for women.

    This has not always been the case, though women have played sports and competed on teams almost as early as the men. Class of 1889 alumnus Ray Kaighn, whofield_hockey organized the world’s first inter-collegiate basketball game (played at Hamline University on February 9, 1895), also organized a women’s basketball team at Hamline that same year. Pat Garletz Paterson ’30, became a one-woman force in ensuring that there were recreational opportunities for Hamline women. During her forty-plus-year tenure, she advocated the importance of life-long fitness and used badminton, basketball, field hockey, volleyball, and other sports to instill that value in thousands of Hamline women.

    As late as the 1960’s the only women’s group in the sports section of the Liner was the Aquatic League, but Paterson helped to lay the ground work for the years to come. After title IX was enacted in 1972, Hamline joined other area colleges and universities in taking the first steps to create a women’s athletic program. Competition in volleyball and basketball began and the swimming and diving programs were a bright light among them. The teams won the conference title in its first five seasons and three consecutive AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) national titles.

    aquatic_leagueRecent years have brought more shining moments. The gymnastics team has long attracted strong athletes, and in March 2000 won the NCGA team championship, as well as having several individual title winners. There are have been track and field standouts and the softball team has completed it’s best records ever in the past two years.