MONMOUTH, Oregon – You hear the stories of athletes from two sports, but usually it happens in high school or college. Current Western Oregon University Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach Katie girten recently had the chance to show off her skills on the grill and her abilities helped her win All-American honors and a chance to play in the All-American game in Canton, Ohio.
What started as an email from a colleague at WOU to Maria Bonifacio-Sample, Director of Student Conduct and Residential Education, looking for participants then turned into an unforgettable experience.
âBonifacio-Sample is a member of the Capital Pioneers and sent an email to the sports director of WOU Randi Lydum to see if we could have any female coaches who would be interested in participating in the next football season, âsaid Girten. âThe email immediately caught my interest. Basketball will always be my first love, but I also grew up watching football a lot, but I didn’t have any real opportunities to do so. So I thought, this is my chance to give it a shot! “
The Capital Pioneers, based in Salem, Oregon, are part of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) and are part of the oldest and most competitive women’s football league in the world. The team started the season in early May and recently ended the seven-game season on June 26. The Pioneers faced teams from Sioux Falls, Portland, Seattle and Arizona.
âWhat’s remarkable about the Capital Pioneers and other women’s football teams is that the main focus is to try to develop the game and make the game visible to young girls,â said Girten. “Visibility can be so powerful and I think for young girls to see women playing soccer it can give hope that if they want to play soccer someday they can.”
Girten played both offense and defense for the Pioneers, aligning himself with wide receiver and safety. She helped lead the team to a 6-0 regular season as they advanced to the first round of the playoffs. Girten caught 16 passes for 263 yards and eight touchdowns, while in defense she recorded four interceptions. All of these stats helped her win All-America First Team accolades.
âI am extremely humbled and honored (to be selected as an All-American). I am very grateful to have played with such wonderful and selfless teammates,â said Girten. âI couldn’t have made the All-American team as a wide receiver without an incredible quarterback, great offensive line protection and the support and effort of the rest of the team and the coaches. I have learned a lot from my teammates and coaches in such a short time, so being selected for the first team in my first year of women’s football is something I will cherish forever! “
By winning All-American honors, Girten was then able to participate in the All-American game which took place at the NFL Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
“What a great experience! We were treated like first class with nice uniforms, a great locker room and the works. We got to play in the Hall of Fame Stadium where some of the great NFL players also played,” said Girten. . “There were so many talented soccer players on this pitch and most of the game I was just in awe of their talent! I met a lot of people from all over the country and the support you could feel for each other! the others was amazing. An experience I will never forget. “