Female Football Player Makes History

ByABC News via logo
December 26, 2002, 7:58 PM

Dec. 28 -- Her kick may have been blocked, but Katie Hnida scored a touchdown in college football history.

Hnida, a junior at University of New Mexico, became the first woman to play Division 1A football when she attempted an extra point kick on Wednesday. The kick was blocked, but her play came during her team's 27-3 loss to UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.

"I definitely was not thinking about the historical aspect of it," Hnida said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.

"I was just hoping to get out there and nail the ball straight through," she said.

Hnida's coach, Rocky Long, said he gave Hnida a shot to kick the first extra point in Wednesday's game because she earned it.

"Well, we used it as a reward for our players and in a lot of cases, we've put several guys in there that hadn't played much during the season and we used the Bowl game in that way and Katie deserved a chance," Long said.

One Moment in Time

Hnida says she keeps replaying the play over and over in her head, and she hopes to get another chance on the field to prove herself.

Meanwhile, she says she'll enjoy being part of the team that has embraced her presence. The 5-foot-9, 150-pound female football player says her male teammates have never made her feel uncomfortable.

"A lot of people asked me, 'Gosh, what is it like in the locker room?'" Hnida said.

Hnida, who changes in the women's locker room at home games and wherever she can find privacy during away games, says she knows she won't have a future career in football, but she loves being involved in the game anyway.

"I really fell in love with the sport and this is what I love to do and this is what I want to do," Hnida said.

Hnida joined New Mexico's team this year. She is the team's third-string kicker, and gets suited up for every home game, wearing her blond hair up in a ponytail.

Big Break

Now 21, she played varsity football at her Littleton, Colo., high school for three years and made four of five field goals and 83 of 87 extra points. She was also her school's homecoming queen.