SI Vault
 
This Girl Gets Her Kicks
Rick Reilly
October 19, 1998
Q: How come nobody said a word last week after the Chatfield (Colo.) High homecoming queen accepted a single white rose at halftime of the football game, locked arms with the king and then ripped off her satin sash and sprinted into the players' locker room?
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October 19, 1998

This Girl Gets Her Kicks

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Other than that, Katie "gets to be who she wants to be," says her mother, Anne, who never had that chance in high school. "I kept stats for the boys' basketball team," she says. Katie, meanwhile, has a 3.2 grade point average, writes and edits for the school newspaper, plays soccer in the spring, doesn't drink, won't smoke, can take a lick and kicks like a mule.

"Wearing a little skirt and jumping around after touchdowns isn't quite the same," she says. "I want the competition. I want to be part of the team. Girls ask me all the time, 'What's it like to be around all these gorgeous guys all the time?' They have no idea. I've seen these guys break down and cry in the huddle, and I've seen them so incredibly happy after a big win. I wouldn't trade anything for what I've had, being part of this team."

Yeah, she'd even trade the sash. "Ten years from now, nobody's going to be impressed that I was homecoming queen," she says, "but they might think it was cool I could kick a 40-yard field goal."

Katie, who has already booted a 35-yarder, has this crazy dream that would make things even cooler. She wants to become the only Division I woman football player next season. Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel already has asked her to walk on. Me, I'd bet my last pair of hose on her.

One thing, no guy's ever going to have to give Katie his letter jacket. She's got her own, thanks. "I guess what I want to show is that it's O.K. to be athletic and feminine."

Hey, tell it to Carl Lewis.

If nothing else, Katie Hnida gave us a rare moment, in which the homecoming queen walked off the field after the game and had little girls come up to her, saying, "Chin strap?"

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