Title IX at 50: 50 women who made a difference in Indiana sports

·15 min read

Title IX was passed in 1972, opening greater opportunities for girls and women in sports.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association soon started offering girls championships, and now it administers state tournaments in 10 sports, with the possibility of more.

Certainly there are many more pioneers, but here are 50 Indiana women who have made a difference on the field, court, track, course, sideline, boardroom, bicycle, in the pool or on the beam over the past 50 years.

Claire Adams

Claire Adams of Carmel, swimming.
Claire Adams of Carmel, swimming.

Adams holds a record with 16 championships at the state meet, eight in individual events and eight in relays. She won the 100 backstroke four times from 2013-16 and was part of the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays that were national records at the time Carmel set them in 2015. She was a 19-time All-American at the University of Texas.

Emily Ayers

She won 14 individual/relay state titles as a Carmel swimmer from 1992-95, a record that stood for more than 20 years. She won the 50 freestyle and 200 free relay four times each, as well as two medley relay, 100 butterfly and 400 free relay gold medals. Ayers swam for USC, which won the 1997 NCAA national title.

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Mildred Ball

Mildred Ball, an IHSAA executive
Mildred Ball, an IHSAA executive

Ball, a Gary Roosevelt graduate and former East Chicago Washington teacher, was hired by the IHSAA in 1977 to administer the training and licensing of game officials. She went on to administer state tournaments in several sports before she retired in 1997. Ball was the first woman inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Lindsay Benko

Hoosier native Lindsay Benko competing at Conseco Fieldhouse in 2004.
Hoosier native Lindsay Benko competing at Conseco Fieldhouse in 2004.

She won 11 individual/relay state titles as an Elkhart Central swimmer from 1990-94, including four each in the 100 and 200 freestyle races. Elkhart Central won three 400 free relays. Benko won five NCAA championships at USC. She's a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 800 free relay (2000 and '04), and a silver medalist in 400 free relay.

Amy Bilquist

Amy Bilquist in U.S. Olympic Trials action
Amy Bilquist in U.S. Olympic Trials action

She was part of Carmel's 400-yard freestyle relay team that set a national high school record in 2015 of 3:15.38. She also held state records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, as well as two other relays, during her time with the Greyhounds. She competed for the University of California from 2015-19, winning Pac-12 and NCAA championships.

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Tyra Buss

Buss was the face of a resurgent Indiana University women's basketball program from 2014-18. She scored a program record 2,364 points and also tops the Hoosiers record book with 574 assists and 293 steals. IU made the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and won the WNIT in 2018. She is now in coaching.

Tamika Catchings

The Indiana Fever's all-time best player is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member. Her 7,380 career points ranked third, and her 3,316 rebounds fourth in WNBA history heading into the 2022 season. Her 1,074 steals are by far the most in league history, and she was league defensive player of the year five times. Catchings was the 2002 WNBA Rookie of the Year, the 2011 Most Valuable Player, and she led the Fever to the 2012 league championship.

Donna Cheatham

Donna Cheatham won a state title with the program in 1989 and won another title in 2002 with Southwestern.
Donna Cheatham won a state title with the program in 1989 and won another title in 2002 with Southwestern.

Cheatham is the first Indiana high school girls basketball coach to earn 500 victories. She led Scottsburg and Southwestern (Hanover) to state championships. She earned several state and national coach of the year honors.

Lauren Cheney

She scored 112 goals at Ben Davis High School in earning national player of the year honors. She went on to play at UCLA, where she was a two-time finalist for the national player of the year and scored 71 career goals. She scored 24 goals in international competition, was named a World Cup all-star in 2011 and won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and '12.

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Cheryl Cook

1981 Miss Basketball Cheryl Cook wins the chase for the loose ball against Kentucky's Gina Brown.
1981 Miss Basketball Cheryl Cook wins the chase for the loose ball against Kentucky's Gina Brown.

The 1981 Miss Basketball from Indianapolis Washington after scoring 1,428 career points. She averaged 29.7 points and 8.1 assists per game as a senior. She went on to score 2,367 points at the University of Cincinnati, where she was a three-time conference player of the year. Cook also excelled playing professionally in Europe.

Skylar Diggins

Skylar Diggins-Smith, competing for the United States.
Skylar Diggins-Smith, competing for the United States.

The South Bend Washington star earned Miss Basketball honors in 2009 after scoring 2,790 points and leading the Panthers to the 2007 Class 4A state championships and three 4A state runner-up finishes. Diggins was a three-time consensus All-American while scoring 2,357 points and leading Notre Dame to two national championship games. She is in her ninth WNBA season, and she has been an All-Star five times.

Katie Douglas

Indiana Fever guard-forward Katie Douglas
Indiana Fever guard-forward Katie Douglas

Douglas was a 1997 Indiana All-Star out of Perry Meridian. She scored 1,965 career points, and was on the 1999 national championship team and the 2001 Final Four squad. She spent six of her 14 WNBA seasons with the Indiana Fever, twice earning All-Star honors (five overall). Douglas was on the 2012 Fever team that won the league title.

Annie Drews

Drews led Penn High School to the 2010 Class 4A state volleyball championship and she was a consensus All-American as a senior in '11. At Purdue, she was an All-American as a senior and twice All-Big Ten. She helped the United States win the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Chloe Dygert

Chloe Dygert of Brownsburg competing in women's road cycling individual time trials.
Chloe Dygert of Brownsburg competing in women's road cycling individual time trials.

The 2015 Brownsburg High School alum took up competitive cycling at Marian University and has become a world champion and Olympian. Dygert won eight World Championship gold medals between 2016-20 and an Olympic silver in team pursuit in 2016. She suffered a serious racing injury in 2020 but returned and won a bronze in team pursuit at Tokyo.

Shyra Ely

Shyra Ely, competing for Tennessee. She is an Indiana Miss Basketball winner.
Shyra Ely, competing for Tennessee. She is an Indiana Miss Basketball winner.

Ely scored 2,004 points at Ben Davis from 1997-2001, leading the Giants to Class 4A state championship her junior and senior seasons. She was named Miss Basketball in 2001 before playing for the University of Tennessee, where she compiled 1,673 points and 940 rebounds as the Lady Vols made four Final Fours (2002-05). She also played in the WNBA, including for the Indiana Fever.

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Katie Gearlds

Gearlds scored 2,521 points for Beech Grove from 1999-2003, capping her Hornets career with 33 points in a Class 3A state championship game victory on the way to being voted Miss Basketball. She scored 1,974 career points for Purdue, earning All-American honors as a senior, before playing professionally. She coached Marian University for eight years before rejoining the Boilers as coach in 2021.

Vicki Hall

The 1988 Miss Basketball from Brebeuf Jesuit scored 1,750 career points, averaging 20.2 points and 10.6 rebounds for the Braves. She also earned several national player of the year honors before heading to the University of Texas, where she scored 1,831 points. Hall played professionally, including the early days of the Indiana Fever. She was Indiana State's head coach for three seasons and is currently a Fever assistant coach.

Heidi Hendricks

She was the first girls swimmer to earn eight individual state championships while at Logansport from 1984-87. She won the 100-meter breaststroke three times and set then-state records along the way. She was a conference champion at Arizona State.

Leigh Anne Hardin

Leigh Anne Hardin won state medalist three times for Martinsville High School.
Leigh Anne Hardin won state medalist three times for Martinsville High School.

Hardin was a three-time individual medalist at the state golf meet from 1997-99, and she won the U.S. Girls Junior championship in '98. She was also an All-American at Duke.

Sarah Hildebrandt

Wrestler Sarah Hildebrandt, competing in the Olympics in 2021.
Wrestler Sarah Hildebrandt, competing in the Olympics in 2021.

There weren't many opportunities for girls to wrestle, so Hildebrandt practiced with the Penn High School boys team through 2011. She entered international competition soon after, culminating with a bronze medal in the 50-kilogram weight class at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Holli Hyche

Hyche won three sprint championships for Perry Meridian between 1986-90 before heading to Indiana State, where she won four NCAA sprint championships in 1993 (55, 200 indoor; 100, 200 outdoor). She also won the 100 in '94.

Lynna Irby

Lynna Irby is a record-setter for Pike High School and an Olympian.
Lynna Irby is a record-setter for Pike High School and an Olympian.
  • Irby won state-record 12 individual sprinting championships, four each in the 100, 200 and 400 meters between 2014-17. She competed at the University of Georgia, winning the NCAA title in the 400 in 2018. She was part of the gold medal-winning 1,600-meter relay squad in the Tokyo Games, also earning bronze in the 1,600 mixed relay.

Jean Kesterson

She was Cathedral's volleyball coach for 27 years, leading the Irish to eight state championships. Cathedral's 2015 team was considered the nation's best. She coached four state Gatorade players of the year and 17 All-Americans.

Lee Kiefer

Lee Kiefer of the United States celebrates winning the women's individual Foil final competition against Inna Deriglazova of the Russian Olympic Committee at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Chiba, Japan.
Lee Kiefer of the United States celebrates winning the women's individual Foil final competition against Inna Deriglazova of the Russian Olympic Committee at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Chiba, Japan.

The Notre Dame alum is a three-time Olympian, winning gold in foil at the Tokyo Games. She has competed in the World Championships 10 times.

Lilly King

Lilly King exceled at Evansville Reitz High School, IU and in the Olympics.
Lilly King exceled at Evansville Reitz High School, IU and in the Olympics.

King is the brash Olympic and world champion swimmer from Evansville Reitz High School and Indiana University. She won gold medals in the 2016 Olympics in the 100-meter backstroke and 400-meter medley relay. King earned a silver and a bronze at Tokyo. In the 2017 World Championships, she set two individual world records and was part of two world record relays. King earned four straight NCAA 100 breaststroke championships.

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Sandy Knapp

When Indianapolis started its effort to be a sports attraction, it went to Knapp. In 1980, She was named the first executive director of Indiana Sports Corp, which drew the 1982 National Sports Festival, 1987 Pan American Games and many U.S. Olympic Trials to the city.

Kelly Krauskopf

Longtime Indiana Fever and Indiana Pacers executive Kelly Krauskopf.
Longtime Indiana Fever and Indiana Pacers executive Kelly Krauskopf.

The Indiana Pacers assistant general manager was previously the Indiana Fever's team president from their inception in 2000 through 2017.

Lori Lindsey

Lori Lindsey
Lori Lindsey

The four-time All-State player was the state's career leading scorer when she graduated Pike High School in 1998. She was an All-American at the University of Virginia and played professionally for many years. She played for the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2011 World Cup and was on the USWNT roster in 2012, when it won an Olympic gold medal.

Maicel Malone

Malone was the winningest sprinter in Indiana girls track and field history for 30 years. She earned 11 state titles with North Central from 1984-87, four each in the 100 and 200 meters, and three in the 200. Her times from the 200 (23.12 seconds) and 400 (52.42) in 1986 remain state records. She became an NCAA champion at Arizona State and won a gold medal in the 1,600-meter relay at the 1996 Olympics.

Muffet McGraw

Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw won two national championships.
Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw won two national championships.

The National Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee coached Notre Dame from 1987-2020, leading the Fighting Irish to national championships in 2001 and '18. The Fighting Irish made the Final Four 9 times under McGraw. McGraw's teams at ND went 848-252 and she has 936 victories in 38 years of coaching.

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Candyce McGrone

McGrone won eight state titles with Warren Central, three of them in the 200 meters, between 2006-08. She won the 100 meters in the 2011 NCAA national meet for Florida State, and placed fourth in the 200 in the 2015 World Championships in a personal best 22.01 seconds. Her best in the 100 is 11.00.

DeDee Nathan

Nathan was a five-time hurdles champ and part of two state-winning relays at Fort Wayne South from 1983-86. The Indiana University heptathlete and pentathlete won six Big Ten championships and was the NCAA runner-up in the 1990 pentathlon. She competed in the 2000 Olympics in the heptathlon after narrowly missing the U.S. team in 1992 and '96.

Samantha Peszek

UCLA gymnast Samantha Peszek
UCLA gymnast Samantha Peszek

The McCordsville native was on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team that earned a silver medal in Beijing. Peszek earned multiple national and international titles, and starred at UCLA, earning three NCAA titles and 17 All-American honors.

Jaycie Phelps

Jaycie Phelps of Greenfield, Indiana
Jaycie Phelps of Greenfield, Indiana

The Greenfield native was part of the 1996 U.S. Olympic squad — nicknamed the "Magnificent Seven" — that broke a long Soviet streak of gold medals in Atlanta. A type of vault is named for her and she runs a gymnastics academy in Greenfield.

LaTaunya Pollard

Pollard is first Hoosier woman inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. She won Miss Basketball honors in 1979 after scoring 1,706 points for East Chicago Roosevelt. She was a three-time college All-American, 3,000-point scorer at Long Beach State and a member of the 1980 U.S. team that boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Pollard once scored a record 99 points in an Italian pro league game.

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Molly Seidel

Molly Seidel earned an Olympic bronze medal in her third marathon.
Molly Seidel earned an Olympic bronze medal in her third marathon.

The Notre Dame alum earned a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, about 19 months after earning a spot on the team in Olympic Trials (the Olympic Games were delayed a year by the COVID-19 pandemic). She won indoor and outdoor NCAA championships for the Fighting Irish in 2015 and '16.

Lanae Renschler

Renschler is the first four-time state high school singles tennis champion, going 100-0 for Castle from 1983-86. She played collegiately at Texas.

Ruth Riley

Notre Dame's Ruth Riley (00)
Notre Dame's Ruth Riley (00)

She had 1,372 points and 1,011 rebounds for North Miami High School before heading to Notre Dame, where she made two free throws in the closing seconds to lift the Fighting Irish to their first national championship in 2001 over Purdue. She finished with more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for Notre Dame and earned national player of the year honors in '01. Riley also won two WNBA championships and an Olympic gold medal.

Keagan Rothrock

Keagan Rothrock of Roncalli is considered the nation's best high school softball player for 2022.
Keagan Rothrock of Roncalli is considered the nation's best high school softball player for 2022.

The Roncalli junior is the 2022 Gatorade National Player of the Year after leading the Royals to their second straight Class 4A state championship, this time with an undefeated record. She went 28-0 this year, striking out 382 batters and hitting .333. She has committed to the University of Florida.

Patricia Roy

Roy advocated for girls sports and physical education as a teacher in Gary before she was the IHSAA's first director of girls sports in 1972. She was with the organization for more than 27 years.

Tonya Sedwick

She won four state long jump championships (1984-87) for Jeffersonville, and her effort of 20 feet, 4 inches in 1986 remains a state meet record. Sedwick also competed in the heptathlon and hurdles at UCLA and internationally into the mid 1990s.

Bridget Sloan

The Pittsboro native was the 2009 gymnastics all-around world champion and a 2008 Olympic silver medalist. She then attended the University of Florida, where she won two NCAA all-around championships and earned many other All-American honors.

Ashley Spencer

Hurdler Ashley Spencer from Lawrence North High School owns an Olympic medal from 2016.
Hurdler Ashley Spencer from Lawrence North High School owns an Olympic medal from 2016.

She won six state championships at Lawrence North — the 100-meter hurdles in 2010 and five relays between 2008-11. Spencer competed at the University of Texas and was part of a gold-medal winning relay in the 2013 World Championships. In 2016, she won a 400-meter hurdles bronze medal in the Rio Olympics.

Sharon Versyp

Versyp averaged 23.8 points per game as a senior at Mishawaka on her way to Miss Basketball honors. She compiled 1,565 points, 418 assists and 194 steals as a four-year starter with the Boilermakers between 1984-88. Versyp coached five years at Maine and one at Indiana before rejoining Purdue in 2006, where she coached through 2021, compiling 301 wins. She's in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Judi Warren

Warsaw's Judi Warren cuts down her portion of the net after the Tigers won their first girls basketball state championship on Feb. 28, 1976, at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Warsaw's Judi Warren cuts down her portion of the net after the Tigers won their first girls basketball state championship on Feb. 28, 1976, at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Warren was the first Miss Basketball in 1976 after leading Warsaw to the first girls state championship. She attended Franklin College and coached several high school teams around the state.

Kara Winger

The Purdue alum has competed in four Olympics. She twice won the Big Ten javelin title and was also an All-American in 2008.

Stephanie White

Stephanie White led Purdue to a national championship in 1999.
Stephanie White led Purdue to a national championship in 1999.

White set the state girls basketball scoring record with 2,869 points — still fourth-most in state history — for Seeger from 1991-95, and earned Miss Basketball and several national player of the year honors. She led Purdue to the 1999 NCAA championship and scored 2,182 career points. White played five seasons in the WNBA, four for the Indiana Fever. She also coached the Fever for two years, as well as at Vanderbilt.

Barbara Wynne

Wynne was a collegiate tennis player in the 1950s, but as more opportunities opened up for girls, she has taught generations of kids. She established the Indianapolis chapter of the National Junior Tennis League and North Central's tennis complex was named for her upon its 2003 opening.

Jackie Young

Jackie Young celebrates in April, 2018 after helping the University of Notre Dame to a national title.
Jackie Young celebrates in April, 2018 after helping the University of Notre Dame to a national title.

She scored a state-record 3,268 points for Princeton High School from 2012-16, earning Miss Basketball honors and leading the Tigers to a Class 3A state championship in 2015. Young scored 1,106 points in three seasons at Notre Dame, which won a national championship in 2018. She was selected No. 1 overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft and is among the league's leading scorers in 2022 for the Las Vegas Aces.

Shanna Zolman

2002 IndyStar Miss Basketball Shanna Zolman of Wawasee High School.
2002 IndyStar Miss Basketball Shanna Zolman of Wawasee High School.

The 2002 Miss Basketball from Wawasee scored 3,085 career points, the first Indiana girl to reach 3,000. Zolman was a co-MVP in the first girls McDonald's All-American Game with a 21-point, 5-assist performance. She played four years (2002-06) at the University of Tennessee for legendary coach Pat Summitt, then for four seasons in the WNBA.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Title IX at 50: 50 women who made a difference in Indiana sports