Hannah Runyon is breaking the gender barrier at Logan High School.
Runyon is playing football for the Wildcats this fall and has made the team.
She’s believed to be the first ever girl to suit up for a varsity football team in Logan history.
Logan coach Gary Mullins said Runyon, who wears No. 84, is fitting in just fine with the team. Runyon participated in 7-on-7 summer drills back in June in Logan’s three-week practice period and has been practicing with the team since the beginning of the month.
“I’ve not had a girl on the team since I’ve been here,” Coach Mullins said. “She showed up in the three-week practice period over the summer and she started out just wanting to kick but now she’s playing at both the offensive and defensive line too. It doesn’t really change anything for us. We have a place where she can get dressed away from the male students but other than that it’s not any different.”
Mullins said Runyon is treated the same as any of his other 50-plus players on the team.
“We don’t treat her any different and the great thing about her is that she doesn’t want us to treat her any different,” Mullins said. “She wants to compete and play. She’s done a good job. She comes to practice every day and she’s not missed a single day. She does everything that we ask of her and that’s all that we can ask of any of our players.”
Mullins said his male players have accepted Runyon and have no problems with her being on the team.
“We don’t have any problems like that,” Mullins said. “If somebody is willing to go out there and do the work and put in the time we’ll let them play as much as we can get them out there. This is different, though, because I’ve never had a female football player.”
Having females on high school football teams is nothing new across the country. However, many of those female football players are soccer athletes who have been converted to football for their place-kicking skills.
The days when fans considered a girl kicking extra points in a high school football game are long gone. Females are becoming more and more a part of high school football teams across the country.
In Runyon’s case, however, it still is rare to have a female on the team who is not primarily a kicker.
Probably the best female kicker was Heidi Garrett of Riverside King (Calif.) High School, who holds the all-time female record for longest field goal with a 48-yarder in a 24-14 win over Paloma Valley (Calif.) High School in 2004. She booted a 42-yarder as well as four others 30 yards or longer and was 26-for-27 in extra point attempts her senior season. At one point, she kicked 58 straight PATs.
Garrett went on to play women’s soccer at the collegiate and professional levels.
You might be surprised to learn that there’s seven professional or semi-pro football leagues across the United States.
The Independent Women’s Football League boasts 36 teams across the US and Canada. The reigning league champion is the Pittsburgh Passion.
The 1983 made-for-TV movie Quarterback Princess, staring Helen Hunt, is a fact-based film about Tami Maida, a Canadian-born student at Philomath High School in Philomath, Ore., who went on to play quarterback for her high school football team and also was voted by her peers as the school’s the homecoming queen.
Logan is scheduled to open the 2015 season on Aug. 28 at county rival Man.
The Wildcats are set to have a preseason tri-scrimmage this Saturday at Paintsville, Ky., as Logan is set to face the Paintsville Tigers and the Tug Valley Panthers.
Logan has its final preseason test on Aug. 21 at Wayne.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).