This annual day of observance acknowledges female athletes' accomplishments and honors the progress and continuing struggle for equality for women in sports. Every year the celebration inspires girls and women across the nation to play and be active and realize their full power.
Bossier Parish has seen its fair share of outstanding female athletes. Most recently is Sarah Robertson, who made history by becoming the first female football player at Haughton High School in 2018. She was the Junior Varsity football kicker for the Buccaneers and kicked her first game field goal on Sep. 17th scoring the extra point for the Buccaneers after their touchdown against Byrd High.
She played for the Iowa Hawkeyes in college, increasing her per-game average by 12 points between her sophomore and junior seasons, ranked as the second-best improvement among the nation's collegiate players. As a junior, she scored in double figures in 30 of 33 games and was named to the Women's National Invitation Tournament all-tournament team. As a senior, she was named the Hawkeyes' most valuable player and a consensus All-Big 10 selection after leading in her team with an average of 17.2 points per game. Scoring double figures in 27 of 29 games in her last season, she ended her career No. 14 on the school's career scoring list.
Scoring was not Smith’s only strength; she was recognized for her defensive play as well. She was a consensus selection to the league's all-defense team and was the only Iowa player to earn the team's defensive award for three straight seasons. While attending the University of Iowa, she held or shared six school records, including most points in a single game earning 46 points against Louisiana Tech. In 2006, after college, she was drafted to play for the Women's National Basketball Association team, the Phoenix Mercury. That year her team became the highest-scoring WNBA team ever.
Over the years, Conner has earned numerous medals in the Northwest Louisiana Senior Olympic Games. In 2019, she took home a silver medal in table games; a bronze medal in the women's pistol marksmanship; a gold medal in the women's 85+ age category in washer pitching; a gold medal in the women's 85+ age category in shuffleboard, and a gold medal in the shuffleboard doubles with partner Shelly Quarles in the 55-59 age group. She's not only a competitor, but she is also an instructor conducting workshops and classes to teach the skills used in shuffleboard and other games to newcomers in the competitions for those age 50 and over.
When it comes to the Olympic games, we must not forget about Dolores "Dee" Beckmann. A member of the first U.S. women's track and field team to participate in the Olympics—chosen as the all-around sportswoman in 1936 by New York sports columnist for being the first female coach of the United States track and field team in Berlin. After her girls won both the 100-meter, breaking the world record, and the 400-meter relays, she was hailed by sports columnist as one of the best coaches, male or female.
|Source: The Shreveport Journal, 28 March 1975|
In 1940, she was the U.S. chairman of the 1940 Olympic women's track and field committee and was involved in the Olympics in some form or fashion for the rest of her life. Her contributions to girls and women in sports and her accomplishments are too numerous to include in this writing. Though Beckmann was not a native of Bossier City, she was from St. Louis, Missouri, but she did move here in 1973 to be close to family and lived here until 1978. During that time, she was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1978 she was inducted into the Missouri Hall of Fame and the Missouri Track and Cross-Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
By: Amy Robertson