Girls sports through the decades:

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

Girl’s right to participate in athletics alongside boys has been fought for over the past fifty years at Manhattan High, as they have been across the nation. As we approach the 50th anniversary of Title IX and enter women’s month, The Mentor traces MHS’s girls’ athletic programs achievements through the ages. 


First-wave feminism: 1848-1920


1925: The Girls Athletics Association was formed at MHS in 1927, but sports were organized intramurally — boys sports were the only Varsity-level athletics. At some point in the 1940s they begin referring to themselves as the M-ettes, the girls version of the boys letter club, the M’s. By 1950, girls athletics associated with MHS had disappeared with the new, more rigid gender roles taking hold in the post-war era. 


Second-wave feminism: 1963-1980s


1970: KSHSAA hold first girls State athletics competition (tennis)

1972: Girls track is established at the first Varsity girls sports team at MHS

1973: Tennis established as second girls sports team

1974: Sandy Nolder, first MHS girl to run Cross Country, ran with the boys in 1974

1974: Four new girls sports added (volleyball, gymnastics, swim, basketball) in wake of Title IX

1975: Girls cross country team established and gymnastics

1977: Girls cross country becomes first girls team to win an MHS State championship

1978: Deb Richards wins first individual girls golf state championship for MHS

1978: Janel LeVally runs 5:09.5 mile and sets State record for girls track team

1979: USD 383 launches informal investigation of district high school and middle school athletics after finding boys athletic programs funded more than double than girls sports.



1985: Girls golf wins first MHS State championship

1986: Volleyball team wins first State championship

1989: Sally Geis wins girls first cross country individual State championship for MHS

1989: Softball team established


Third-wave feminism: 1991-2010


1994: Girls soccer program established after co-ed team created in 1989

1997: Mercury runs full-page story about increased presence of women in MHS coaching



2000: Maria Rosenberg wins first MHS women’s tennis singles State Championship

2004: Dance team started in as “In Motion” 



2017: Girls basketball wins first State title


Fourth-wave feminism 2016-present


2021: Girls wrestling program begins at MHS

2022: Sage Rosario wins first State Championship for MHS girls wrestling