In honor of International Women’s Day, The Badger Herald Sports Section would like to pay tribute to the many incredible female athletes over the years that have made our university a better place and paved the way for women yet to come.

According to a “UW Women’s Sports History,” which University of Wisconsin Athletics published in 2004, the university approved an athletics program for women in 1974 — two years after Title IX made discrimination based on sex illegal in public schools.

The Badger women didn’t take long to begin their now customary winning ways. In 1975 the Women’s Rowing Team took home the first ever national title for female athletes at the university.

In 1976, Gilda Hudson-Winfield won the Big Ten 100-yard race, becoming the first African American Big Ten Champion, as well as scholarship athlete at the university.

Softball: Badgers prepare for USF Tournament, look to improve on early season challengesLast year, the University of Wisconsin women’s softball team ended their season with a record of 35-17 — a winning season Read…

In 1981, the Badgers recorded one of the most remarkable games in Wisconsin sports history. The newly formed women’s soccer team found their first varsity win in a match-up against Beloit College. Certainly monumental, but what stood out about this particular milestone? The first win in team history came in an 18-0 smackdown. Still the most goals Badgers scored in history and the largest margin of victory. Not a bad way to get the program off and running.

In 2008, the university bid goodbye to a true legend. Jolene Anderson left the university after four years of prolific scoring. After winning Big Ten Player of the Year in her senior season and graduating, Anderson had set the school record for scoring in men’s and women’s basketball.

Rower Carie Graves became Wisconsin’s first Olympic Gold Medal winner in 1984. This would be the start of a proud tradition of Wisconsin Women competing on the world’s stage. In this year’s Winter Olympics, former Badgers Meghan Duggan, Hillary Knight, Brianna Decker and Alex Rigsby were members of the Team USA Women’s Ice Hockey Team that won an exciting gold medal match against Canada.

Arguably one of the most consistently dominant of any Wisconsin sport, Women’s Ice Hockey has had an incredible run over the last 15 years. It is rarer to find a week in which the team was ranked outside the top five in a poll since they won the NCAA championship in the 2006 season. The Badgers were also National Champions in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

Women’s Hockey: Roque, Campbell named WCHA Players of the YearThe No. 1 University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team’s (29-3-2-0, WCHA 20-2-2-0) spectacular season has yielded two end-of-season Western Conference Read…

Another dominant sport on campus is Women’s Volleyball. Badgers have had the good fortune to pack into the Field House and be treated to a top 15 nationally ranked program for each of the last five years, though they are still searching for that first National Championship.

The university has plenty of history as the home to top-notch female athletes and today that is no different. Ice Hockey Goalie Kristen Campbell is finishing up one of the greatest seasons in Wisconsin History. Volleyball superstar Dana Rettke was just named the AVCA Freshman of the Year, First Team All-American and a member of the All-Big Ten Team in 2017. Track and Field heptathlon and pentathlon senior Georgia Ellenwood is a six-time All-American and the 2017 Big Ten Champion in pentathlon.

Thanks to Badger women of past and present, from volleyball to hockey and rowing, for competing at the highest level and inspiring generations of Badgers to come.