Katie Hnida : biography
Katharine Anne "Katie" Hnida (born May 17, 1981) is an American football player who became the first woman to score in an NCAA Division I-A game, college football’s highest level. She accomplished this as placekicker for the University of New Mexico Lobos on August 30, 2003.
Hnida is the third woman to have scored in a college football game, after Liz Heaston, who played for NAIA Willamette University in 1997, and Ashley Martin, who played for NCAA Division I-AA Jacksonville State University in 2001. While at University of Colorado at Boulder in 1999 she became the second woman to dress for a Division I-A game, and the first to do so for a bowl game.
Hnida (pronounced without the H) grew up in Littleton, Colorado. She attended Chatfield Senior High School near Littleton, where she was a member of the football team. She went 3 for 3 in field goal attempts, and 27 for 28 in extra point attempts in her senior year. She was a member of the varsity team and named one of America’s "20 most influential teens" by Teen People magazine. Rick Reilly wrote a "Life of Reilly" column about her.Reilly, Rick (October 18, 1998). "Life of Reilly". Sports Illustrated.
Hnida travels around the country to share her athletic story and her journey as a survivor of sexual assault. She commonly speaks at colleges and universities to educate and raise awareness about assault., BHPioneer.com, 24 September 2008. Katie has worked with many organizations that help victims of assault, including The Joyful Heart Foundation and the Voices and Faces Project. She has resided in New York City where she managed her speaking engagements and book tour. Her father, Dave Hnida is the medical reporter for the CBS affiliate. He is also the author of "Paradise General: Riding the Surge at a Combat Hospital in Iraq"
In 2006, Hnida wrote a book about her experiences, titled Still Kicking: My Journey as the First Woman to Play Division One College Football. It details abuse and sexual assault she experienced while at Colorado, as well as her experiences afterward at the University of New Mexico.
In 2010, Hnida became the kicker for the Fort Wayne FireHawks in the Continental Indoor Football League. The league’s first female player, and only the second female professional football player in history (after placeholder Patricia Palinkas), Hnida played in the first three games of the team’s season but was released later that year after developing a blood clot in her kicking leg. She continues to play semi-pro football, kicking for the Colorado Cobras in the Colorado Football Conference, and the KC Mustangs in the Interstate Football League. As of 2011, Hnida resides in New York City.
After high school, Hnida enrolled at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Due to her success in high school football, she was invited to join the Colorado Buffaloes football team as a walk-on freshman placekicker by then coach Rick Neuheisel. Neuheisel left Colorado in 1998, but his replacement Gary Barnett kept the walk-on offer open. Hnida never saw playing time at Colorado, though she did suit up for games, becoming the second woman to do so in Division I football, and the first to do so in a bowl game, when Colorado went to the 1999 Insight.com Bowl. In 2000, after falling ill with mononucleosis and tonsillitis, Hnida was unable to compete for a roster spot.
Hnida left Colorado in 2001 and eventually transferred to the University of New Mexico the following year. There she made the New Mexico Lobos football team as a walk-on placekicker. On August 30, 2003 she became the first woman to score in a Division I-A game when she kicked two extra points against Texas State University in the fourth quarter of a 72-8 New Mexico win.http://www.golobos.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hnida_katie00.html (2-2 PATs, New Mexico vs. Texas State, 8/30/03) While at New Mexico she played in the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA, when her extra point attempt was blocked. She graduated in December 2004.
Hnida made more news in mid-February 2004 when she told Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly that she had been sexually molested and abused by some of her Colorado teammates, and raped by one of them. Later that week, her former Colorado coach Gary Barnett stated "[w]e have not done anything wrong, there isn’t a shred of evidence to this date to back up any allegations that have been made, and there won’t be." At the same time, he commented on her decision to leave the team by saying, "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out and play, they’ll respect you. Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There’s no other way to say it. She couldn’t kick the ball through the uprights." For these comments and other actions surrounding the program, Barnett was suspended.