eremony recognizes women athletes

The Lynx honored 15 people for their contribution to womens athletics, including three University coaches.
[bold on]Lisa Hilton[bold off][fm][bold on][bold off][bold on][bold off]For The Daily[fm]
In 1923, Margaret Morrill was one of the first to earn a letter at the University in what was then the newly emerging womens sport of field hockey. Two generations later, her athleticism made her a role model for her granddaughter, Margaret Chutich, one of the first females to earn an athletics scholarship at the University.
Through her college sports career, Chutich found the discipline for later in her life, she said.
I found there were tremendous benefits to me, personally, from playing sports, said Chutich, an attorney who works in the state attorney generals office.
Chutich and Morrill, along with three University coaches and two alumnae, were honored at the second annual Honoring Our Legacy ceremony Wednesday night at the Minnesota Lynx season opener. The Lynx honored 15 people for their contribution to womens athletics, including University womens swimming and diving coach Jean Freeman and strength and conditioning head coaches Amy Scott and Sara Wiley. The ceremony focused on people who were in the award-winning video, Throw Like a Girl: A Revolution in Womens Sports, which was produced by KARE-11 television in partnership with the Universitys Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports.
Last year the ceremony acknowledged some of the big stars in the state, the usual suspects. This year what were doing is honoring the unsung heroes, said Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center. These are the people who work their butts off behind the scenes for girls and womens sports but never get acknowledged, Kane said.
The ceremony was preceded by a showing of the video and a panel discussion with Lynx player Andrea Lloyd-Curry, Olympic hockey gold-medalist Karyn Bye, and Lea B. Olsen, an announcer for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx as well as a former University basketball player.
During the panel discussion, children in the audience asked the athletes about their experience with sports – everything from their pre-game rituals to what an Olympic medal looked like. Audience members received a copy of the Throw Like a Girl video.
Two of those honored were sisters who played sports at the University. Diane Achterkirch was a scholarship winner for swimming in the 1980s. Her sister, Denise Falls, attended the University before scholarships were available to women.
All three of the University coaches honored said they had women coaches in their college career. For Scott, having a female strength trainer helped her decide what she wanted to do.
By the time I was a senior, this woman started helping out in the weight room and it was like this light shining on (me), Scott said. She said if she had been around a female trainer earlier, she would have known sooner that she wanted to be a trainer.
Each of the coaches said they enjoy their job. Freeman, who has coached womens swimming at the University for 27 years, said she loves working around college students because they are so full of energy and enthusiasm for life.
Though optimistic, the coaches said there is still inequality between mens and womens sports.
Right now the University is about 50 percent men and (50 percent) women. Id love to be able to say that the athletics programs and the athletic funding is 50 percent for men and (50 percent for) women as well, Freeman said.
By honoring the recipients, the ceremony drew attention to the often overshadowed world of womens sports. According to the NCAAs Web site, women represented 39 percent of all NCAA athletes in 1998, totaling over 128,000 women. Yet in 1997, Division I-A schools were spending about $3 on mens sports for every $1 spent on womens.
The coaches dont concentrate on numbers, however. To them, each athlete they help is a story of success.
One of the biggest hopes for this department is to not just to turn out women athletes, but to turn out really strong women. Wiley said.
And I think we are part of that.