LARAMIE — The Albany County School Board unanimously voted to sanction high school softball at their August meeting yesterday. That makes Laramie High School the eighth program in the state to receive support for a softball team from their school district.
The Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) requires participation from eight schools for a sport be officially sanctioned. Rock Springs and Green River received district support for softball teams last fall.
The Equality State is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Wyoming Women’s Suffrage this year. With that in mind, it seems fitting that female athletes in the state have cleared a major hurdle in bringing equality back to Wyoming high school sports.
Wyoming has been out of compliance with Title IX since gymnastics was cut by WHSAA back in 2009-10. Since then, there have been more sports available to boys than girls. The addition of softball in high schools would correct that imbalance and bring school districts back into compliance with Title IX.
To learn all about the push for high school softball in Sweetwater county, check out last weeks episode of Brayden Flack’s Beyond the Game Podcast. For that episode, Brayden sat down with Heather Anderson and Annette Ice from Rock Springs Girls Softball (RSGS).
Leaving a Legacy
Heather and Annette, along with players and supporters from RSGS, have been working to make softball a high school sport “off and on for twenty-years,” Anderson said. Asked about the decision by the Albany School Board Anderson said, “It’s awesome. We’re so excited.”
Athletic directors in the state have their budgets for the upcoming school year set. That means softball won’t hit the field until at least Spring 2021. Many of the athletes who’ve worked to make high school softball in Wyoming happen will never suit up for their schools. But these athletes haven’t just been fighting for individual opportunities. “They’re doing this for their friends, sisters, possibly their grandkids. It’s not just self serving.” Anderson said.
High school softball will mean big things for future young athletes in the state. “A sectioned sport is going to be recognized by college recruiters. So, the girls will have opportunities that they currently do not have. It’s just an extra layer of reliability and exposure,” Anderson said.
Without a high school team, many girls never get a chance to compete in the sport at any level. Club sports are too much of a time and cost commitment for many families. As Ice said on the podcast, “Making it a high school sport definitely makes more girls eligible to play.”