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Women of the Gridiron

September 9, 2015

With college football season heating up once again, let’s take a look at two women that made history on the field.

Katie Hnida

Katie HnidaKatie Hnida enjoyed a successful stint on her Colorado high school’s team and was dubbed one of America’s “20 Most Influential Teens” by Teen People before she became a placekicker at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She didn’t receive playing time but she was on the roster for the team’s appearance at the 1999 Insight.com Bowl, making her the first female athlete to participate in a college bowl game. She eventually transferred to the University of New Mexico for the 2002 season. She played during their appearance at that year’s Las Vegas Bowl, but her lone extra point attempt was blocked. However, on August 30th, 2003, she became the first woman to score in an NCAA Division I-A game with two extra points in a win over Texas State.

Liz Heaston

In addition to the being the oldest college in the western United States, Willamette University in Oregon featured the first female player to ever score points in a regular season college game. During their 1997 season, coach Dan Hawkins was forced to find a replacement kicker for the team after his starter got injured. His options were limited and he eventually asked star soccer player Liz Heaston if she could fill in. In a game on October 18, 1997 vs. cross-state rivals Linfield, Willamette led 13-0 when Heaston kicked an extra point with 57 seconds left in the first half. She managed to score another extra point in the fourth quarter and the Bearcats went home with a 27-0 victory. Heaston’s historical accomplishment earned her a segment on The Today Show and a phone call from David Letterman. She played in one more game before she hung up her football cleats. Heaston’s jersey is now on display at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

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