Most of today's high school athletes are probably unaware of how limited girls' sports were over 30 years ago. Only a few girls' sports were offered, and many of the squads or teams couldn't play a full schedule since most of the neighboring schools didn't offer a full complement of sports, either.
Andrew Warde High School, however, was a pioneer for girls' sports in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference by being among the first to offer programs in field hockey, cross country, gymnastics, and volleyball.
According to the 1976 Flame yearbook, "Two years ago, the girls at Warde had but one athletic alternative in the Autumn --- field hockey. Today, in an effort to provide a more diversified sports program for girls, the school also offers volleyball and cross country in the Fall."
For example, Andrew Warde High School was one of only two FCIAC schools to offer girls' cross country by the Fall of 1975. The team, pictured below, was coached by Mrs. Barbara Thorne and posted a 2-1 record against cross-town rival Roger Ludlowe High School, the only other FCIAC school with a girls' cross-country team. Crimson Eagles' Sophia Grasso, Elaine Falkenberg, and co-captains Julie Francis and Alice Kennedy advanced to the state championship meet in Avon.
According to the Flame, "Next season, with several more schools fielding teams in the FCIAC circuit, our squad looks forward to an expanded schedule. Without a doubt, the experience gained last Fall will give our girls an advantage over the expansion teams in the coming season."
That same year, Warde had a girls' gymnastics team, shown below, competing on the varsity level in the FCIAC for the first time. Twenty girls were on the squad, most of whom were freshman. Captains Kiki Zeldes and Katie O'Connor led the team to four victories.
Some of the more experienced girls advanced to the FCIAC championships at Darien High School. Co-captains Zeldes and O'Connor and team members Ellen Fairfield, Kathy Michaels, and Mary Tortora competed with the best girls in the county.
"Although they did not take any places, the girls gained experience for the years when they will be the winners," according to the Flame. "Since the team will not be losing any gymnasts next year, Coach Pat Kelly can expect a fine season."
In addition, the volleyball team was well on its way to establishing an excellent program by the mid 70s. Overall, Warde was highly-regarded as one of the first schools in Fairfield County to offer girls a wider variety of sports from which to choose.
Please sign the AWHS Guest Book.
Visit the Andrew Warde High School Gift Shop.
Watch the AWHS 1976 vintage "film".