NIU Women’s Hall of Fame welcomes badminton team

By Kari Brackett

NIU women athletes had their chance for recognition Sunday afternoon at the Ninth Annual Women’s Athletic Awards Banquet, which was held at the Duke Ellington Ballroom.

During the ceremonies, the 1987 inductees of the Women’s Athletic Hall of Fame were also honored. NIU’s national champion 1982 badminton team and its coach Paul DeLoca were inducted, as well as Gayle Luehr, who was a field hockey and basketball standout from 1973-77.

“The banquet turned out exceptionally well,” women’s Athletic Director Susie Pembroke-Jones said. “We had a turnout of over 300 people.”

The awards ceremony began with the presentation of the Coors/NI Club Scholar Athlete Award. The athlete who receives the award must be either a junior or a senior with at least a 3.0 grade point average. Sue Kause, a member of the softball team, was this year’s recipient. Kause was also a first-team Academic All-America selection last season.

Senior swimmer Linda Rodie was named Woman Athlete of the Year by her peers. Rodie, from Montreal, Canada, said she was surprised to get the honor.

“It was a very big moment for me,” Rodie said. “This year has been really great because Coach (Jim) Burt improved the program a lot, and he encouraged us to be a close team.”

odie also won the Presidential Award along with golfer Lori Wetzel. This honor is awarded to two athletes who have given a great deal of dedication and determination to the NIU women’s athletic program.

The Sportwoman Award was given to five athletes this year. To receive this award, a woman athlete must maintain a 2.6 GPA and participate on a team for a minimum of two years. The winners were Val Leitzen of the basketball team, Tracey Felger from field hockey, golfer Lori Wetzel, Mary Ellis of the tennis team and Rodie. Felger, Wetzel, Ellis and Rodie also were named most valuable players in their respective sports.

Also receiving MVP awards were Jill Justin in softball, Gina Graf in volleyball, Martha Unger in gymnastics and Lisa Foss in basketball.

Pembroke-Jones said she is pleased with the way women’s athletics have progressed over the last ten years. She believes the movement is at a lull right now because of President Reagan’s attitude toward Title IX.

“Reagan’s whole policy is made clear that he does not support Title IX,” Pembroke-Jones said. “It not only affects women, but it also affects the disabled and the handicapped.”

Pembroke-Jones said NIU has a positive attitude toward women’s sports. She said NIU had a Title IX committee which strived to go beyond the ratios.

“It would be a big mistake to say everything is perfect,” Pembroke-Jones said. “We have a long way to go.”

She said it is important for women to compete in athletics because it is one mechanism for women to show their talents to other women and for others to see what they can do.

“In all other fields, competition is between both the sexes, and sometimes women get caught in the shuffle,” Pembroke-Jones said.