The Cape High 1973 state champion girls’ basketball team reunited March 23 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of both its victory and the implementation of Title IX.
Teammates gathered in the H.O. Brittingham Elementary cafeteria to enjoy fellowship, cake and conversation with current Cape High female athletes before the school board meeting, where they were honored with proclamations from legislators and gifts from the district.
At the meeting, Superintendent Bob Fulton said the team’s accomplishment was monumental across the nation and state, and paved the way for girls’ athletic teams at Cape.
Title IX of the Civil Rights Act was signed into law on June 23, 1972, to prohibit sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial aid.
Regarding sports, the law requires that schools treat both sexes equally with regard to participation opportunities, athletic scholarships, and treatment of male and female teams.
The act opened the door for many girls to achieve their dreams, Fulton said. And, he added, not only was the 1973 squad the first Cape girls’ team to win a state championship, it was also the first girls’ championship team in Delaware.
Prior to Cape winning the 1973 girls’ basketball team championship, individual female state champions were recognized in tennis.
In all, Fulton said, Cape has won 69 state championships since it became a consolidated district in 1969. Championships are evenly split, he said, with girls’ and boys’ teams each winning 34 contests, and one coed track team winning one.
However, he said, girls have had fewer years to compete for state championships.
“So, our female teams have done better than our male teams over the years,” he said, eliciting cheers from the assembled female athletes.
Sen. Russ Huxtable, D-Lewes, and Rep. Stell Parker Selby, D-Milton, each presented proclamations to honor the team, which beat Mt. Pleasant 33-31 on March 5, 1973, to become state champions.
Two members of the team, player Delores Walker and coach Bob Cassady, have since passed away, Fulton said. Teammates Cindy Keller White, Amy Reed Parker and Mary Jane Hitchens Warrington were unable to attend the ceremony, he said.