Margaret Kane earned a new title recently.
The longtime Barrington resident discovered earlier this fall that she was an All-American in track and field. It was welcome, and quite unexpected news for Ms. Kane, who graduated from Florida State University more than four decades ago.
Florida State University held a special ceremony for Ms. Kane and her teammates, Lee Anne Wojtkowski and Avis Latham Vaught, officially recognizing them as All-Americans in track and field for their scoring performances at the 1969 Division of Girls and Women's Sports National Intercollegiate Track & Field Championships. This was the first official national championship meet contested for women in the United States. (Ms. Kane, Ms. Wojtkowski, and Ms. Vaught led the Seminoles to an 11th place team finish at the championships.)
"What I'm proudest of is that we were the pioneers," said Ms. Kane, during a recent interview.
Ms. Kane grew up in Bradenton, Fla., and was a member of her high school tennis and track teams.
"My father taught me to throw the shot," she said.
She attended Florida State University and joined the Seminoles' track and field team. Ms. Kane can clearly remember when she and her eight track and field teammates, and their coach, Dr. Frankie Hall, made the trip from Tallahassee, Fla. to San Marcos, Texas for the nationals.
"We drove in two station wagons," said Ms. Kane. "It took us two days."
Ms. Kane said her time on the collegiate athletic fields came prior to the adoption of the Title IX rule, which ensures equity among male and female student-athletes. In fact, there were no awards presented at the 1969 event.
"There was no future in it for women," said Ms. Kane.
The lack of acknowledgment did little to spoil the fond memories and relationships Ms. Kane forged during her days on the Florida State women's track and field team. The Barrington resident added that she was quite happy when she learned of the school's plans to recognize her and the others. Ms. Kane said it was wonderful having the opportunity to reconnect with her former teammates and her coach, Dr. Frankie Hall.
Officials — using the All-American criteria established by preceding organizations (AIAW and NCAA) — credited Ms. Kane, Ms. Wojtkowski and Ms. Vaught with All-American status.
"These women were truly the first All-Americans in Florida State women’s athletic history..." stated a press release from the school.
Ms. Kane and her teammates received All-American certificates from Florida State Vice President and Director of Athletics Stan Wilcox, and current Florida State track and field coach Bob Braman.
Members of that inaugural team raised money to dedicate the FSU coaches’ conference room inside the McIntosh Building at Mike Long Track as the "Dr. Frankie Hall Conference Room." Dr. Hall, who retired as an esteemed member of the Florida State faculty, passed away shortly after the recognition.
Ms. Kane said her experiences in athletics — from high school and through college — impacted her life. She later went on the coach high school girls tennis in South Attleboro, Mass., before leaving her teaching job to work for the American Lung Association.