As Fenton High School changed its building, the women’s sport’s scene wasn’t nearly as developed as it is today.
Title IX — a federal law that has helped even the bar for athletic opportunities for women — didn’t happen until 1972, and looking back it’s apparent the women needed it.
Fenton had just four girls teams represented in the 1970 yearbook (and only three varsity teams), and those squads only had a photo with names included in the book. The entire women’s sports recap involved only two pages.
Consequently, it’s hard to find a lot of information about those first years for women’s sports at Fenton’s new school, but we found some from the era. And as the years went on, more women’s teams would surface and thrive at Fenton beyond the early 1970s. Here are some of the highlights during the first four years at the new high school.
The Fenton girls had a strong team as the new high school opened.
The team won five Metro titles with Melissa Kidder (220-yard dash), Pam Ambler (440), Jan Aldrich (high jump) and Becky Clark (long jump) winning individual events. The 1970 yearbook declared the Tigers league champs, but there is no such documentation in Metro League records, so it may have been an unofficial crown.
In 1971, Ambler (440) and Aldrich (high jump) defended their titles while Debbie Minock won the 220 title. Fenton also won the 880 medley relay again.
The team won another four event league titles in 1972 with Minock (220), Ambler (440) and Vickie Gilbert (880) winning individual event titles. In 1973, the squad had six league titles with five being individual titles — Minock in the 220, Cindy McQuigg in the 440, Gilbert in the 880, Wanda Anderson in the 80 hurdles and Joy Rix in the high jump. That squad also competed in the Open Class State meet, taking 12th. Minock was fifth in the 220 (27.0), Gilbert was seventh in the 880 (2:27.7) and the 880 medley relay (1:55.8) took fifth.
It is hard to find many details about the girls basketball team during this period.
It appears the team’s best season during this era was the squad from the 1972-73 school year, when the first senior class at the new school completed their school careers with a second-place 7-4 Metro League record. The only other league record found was the team’s 2-4 mark in the first year at the new school.
Ainsworth dominated the Metro League during this period.
Later in the 1970s, the Fenton softball team would be a state power, but the Tigers were already putting together some decent squads during this period.
Unfortunately, the Metro League didn’t recognize a conference champion until the spring of 1973. The Tigers took second with a 7-4 league mark that season.
The squad had strong players like all-league participants Michelle Mora and Susie Guilbault, but the squad’s best player during this era was probably Jeanne Mathews. Mathews had a 31-11 league record as a pitcher and batted .511 during her career. She began her career in 1973.