IWLCA Honors Women’s Lacrosse Trailblazers at USL
The Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) honored 11 women as “Trailblazers” this past weekend at US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md. A group plaque, and individual plaques for each Trailblazer, were formally dedicated in a ceremony on Saturday, October 21. The plaques were placed along the walking path that winds around the south end of Bill Tierney Field, which was formally dedicated as “Chris Sailer Trail” on Saturday.
IWLCA President and head coach at Le Moyne College, Kathy Taylor, spoke about the Trailblazers during the dedication ceremony, calling them “forces that literally changed the face of women’s collegiate athletics.” Taylor continued, explaining that, “young men and women will walk the Chris Sailer Trail and be reminded – one by one – of the challenges our Trailblazers faced and the enormity of their impact on our sport. This trail allows us to ensure their legacy and the history of the women’s game. Every Trailblazer stands individually and collectively responsible for advancing the sport of women’s lacrosse and coaching as a profession.”
Nine of the 11 former collegiate women’s lacrosse coaches recognized as Trailblazers were on hand for a reception on Friday evening, and the formal dedication ceremony on Saturday. Pat Genovese, Tina Sloan Green, Caroline Hausserman, Kathy Heinze, Sue Stahl, Sue Tyler, Lanetta Ware, Marge Watson, and Judy Wolstenholme made the trip to USL for the weekend’s events. Carole Kleinfelder and Gillian Rattray were unable to attend, but representatives accepted the honor in their place. These women all began coaching women’s collegiate lacrosse in the 1960s or 1970s and laid the foundation for the modern game. The IWLCA’s Board of Directors worked with US Lacrosse to create this honor to preserve these women’s legacy and ensure that future generations will not forget their contributions to women’s lacrosse.
Princeton head coach Chris Sailer said her honor was "made even more special knowing that eleven of our game’s trailblazers will be recognized along the trail. These women, including my own college coach Carole Kleinfelder, were instrumental in championing opportunities for women in collegiate athletics, and in coaching, officiating and developing the game we all know and love today. They are true legends, and I’m thrilled that future generations of lacrosse players and fans will learn of their unique contributions as they walk along the Chris Sailer Trail at US Lacrosse."
Saturday’s dedication ceremonies were held during the Princeton Invitational, a four-team tournament that included Fairfield and Villanova, coached by two of Sailer’s former players, Laura Field and Julie (Shaner) Young. The stands were filled not only with Princeton alumnae, but the former players of many of the Trailblazers were there to see their mentors recognized. Mary Ann Meltzer, who played for Tyler at Maryland and now is the head coach at Lawrence Technical University, said “It was really great to see all of the Trailblazers honored this weekend. They have made such an impact on our sport as well as on their student-athletes, so I’m proud that the IWLCA and US Lacrosse have been able to give this recognition to them to preserve their legacies.”
Photo by John Strohsacker
Pictured left to right: Kathy Heinze, Tina Sloan Green, Pat Genovese, Sue Tyler, Marge Watson, Lanetta Ware, Judy Wolstenholme, Sue Stahl, and Caroline Haussermann. Not in attendance: Carole Kleinfelder and Gillian Rattray.