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Syracuse to honor 50 years of women’s athletics

The Orange celebrate a half-century of women’s sports at SU, starting Thursday.

Syracuse v Washington Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tonight begins the Kickoff Weekend of Syracuse Athletics celebration of 50 years of women’s athletics. Throughout the year, former Syracuse Orange alums will be honored and recognized for their contributions. We know that Syracuse will honor Felisha Legette-Jack, Anna Goodale and Katie Rowan with jersey retirements in the Carrier Dome during the year but this weekend will start the celebration events.

The first event is tonight when the Orange ice hockey team hosts Clarkson at 6 pm and continues tomorrow for field hockey’s game against Wake Forest. The other women’s home games are Sunday when women’s soccer hosts Virginia and field hockey plays against Colgate. In addition to athletic contests Syracuse will host a Title IX panel discussion on Saturday morning before the football game against Wake Forest.

Basketball, field hockey and volleyball were the first women’s sports programs established at Syracuse. In 1975 Doris Soladay was named Women’s Athletic Director and under her guidance the Orange integrated women’s sports into the main Athletic Department. Soladay was instrumental in working with University administration and boosters to support and grow opportunities for women’s athletics at Syracuse. An award being her name is awarded annually to Syracuse athletes who demonstrate excellence in academics, athletics and leadership.

Kathy Switzer Roughed Up By Jock Semple In Boston Marathon Paul Connell/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Although she was never a Syracuse University athlete, Kathrine Switzer made history by becoming the first woman to officially enter and finish the Boston Marathon. Since she accomplished this feat while enrolled at Syracuse, we hope that the administration will recognize her during this year.

So far only field hockey has been able to capture a NCAA title but the first 50 years have let to plenty of All-Americans and conference championships. We’ve seen Syracuse women win Olympic medals (including three this summer in Tokyo) and the next 50 years will certainly lead to more Orange success.