—from the December 26, 1973 issue of the Story City Herald
Quickie question: What do three social science and one physical education major at Waldorf College in Forest City have in common?
Answer: They all played for the Roland-Story girls’ state championship basketball team in 1972.
Sharon Nelson, Janice Braathun and Sue Hennessy are sophomores at Waldorf and Cathy Kammin, a freshman, joined them this year.
They all remember the thrill of winning the Iowa State girls’ title in 1972, of course. However, they have some serious thoughts about the college rules, which have changed their style from half-court to full-court play, something the girls have not been used to since childhood.
Miss Braathun said that the girls on the team in 1972 did not really expect to win it all. "That is, no one thought we’d win except Sue’s dad."
Sue’s dad is Bill Hennessy, head girls coach at Roland and Roland-Story for 18 years. "He’s respected not only by our school but also by all the coaches in the state," said Braathun.
The girls recall the 91-90 semifinal win over West Central of Maynard as a far tougher game than the title triumph of 68-64 over Guthrie Center.
"It was tougher and more exciting," said Miss Nelson.
Braathun had other thoughts. "The girl I was guarding scored 70 points. It was just awful."
Miss Hennessy also thinks back to the tourney with vivid tones. "I remember how nervous we all were - all the time."
Miss Kammin, a junior on the senior-laden team, was the high scorer with an average of 40 points per game.
Cathy’s first game at Waldorf showed she had not lost her smooth shot as she poured in 30 points. But the grinding full-court style made a difference in the second game when she was limited to 10 points.
Sharon and Cathy started at forward on the state championship team, along with Janet Gregg, now going to school in Boone. The guards were Janice, Karen Ritland and Deb Sampson. Ritland is working at a bank in Story City and Sampson is a lab technician in Des Moines.
Only the Waldorf quartet is still playing basketball.
"There have been difficult times for the girls coming from high school ball to college," says Waldorf Coach Denny Jerome. "I had to start with fundamentals."
All of the girls like the high school game better.
In other states like Tennessee and Texas, girls’ basketball is switching to full court. "I think that’s wrong," says Hennessy. "People like to see us work our special plays and run up a large score."
Conditioning has been an adjustment too. "We don’t have time to catch our breath now," says Braathun.
The girls have never had a problem with publicity. They aren’t "women’s-libbers" either.
"Roland-Story is not known for boys’ athletics," says Sue. "I wouldn’t blame the boys if they felt they weren’t getting enough play in the papers."
All four girls have been together since the fourth grade, starting by playing at halftime of the high school games. "When you are real close," says Janice, "it makes you relax on the floor."
Miss Braathun had one final note, and it is a feeling sweeping the country: "We believe in athletics for women because it has brought us together." And Waldorf is glad they’re still together too.