One week after we wrote why baseball immortal Jackie Robinson was our choice as the greatest California high school boys athlete, who could possibly even approach Robinson on the female side as someone who not only excelled in their sport but transcended it? How about Billie Jean King? She qualifies for her efforts on behalf of all female athletes, working to aid in increased athletic opportunities throughout the nation for them and helping to shine the spotlight on them through awards and honors by the Women's Sports Foundation, which she founded 30 years ago.
The selections were based on a 50-50 formula comparing what each athlete did while going to a California high school and what they did after they left. THIS IS NOT A RANKING OF THE BEST ATHLETES WHO ARE FROM A CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOL. Each athlete needed to have been successful while in high school. This is why an all-time great in track such as the late Florence Griffith Joyner is not on the list. She primarily developed her athletic prowess after high school. This is also why some prominent athletes who were record-breakers when they were in high school also aren't included, either. They were not successful after high school.
Another part of the process was determining an appropriate waiting period after high school graduation. On the girls side, because athletic opportunities were so limited until the mid-1970s, filling up our list to 100 names became much easier by going to a five-year wait as opposed to 10 years which was used for boys. Still, some very prominent girls athletes are still too young to have been chosen, including track stars Allyson Felix, Lashinda Demus and Monique Henderson.
We said while introducing our top 100 men's list that any reader going through the names of these individuals should be struck by just how great California is as an athletic force. In women's sports, particularly, the Golden State is not only the leader of the United States but is clearly the leader of the world. It's rather amazing to see just how many of the world's most prominent all-time best female athletes are from California.
King, known as Billie Jean Moffitt when she attended Long Beach Poly High School, is a women's tennis and women's rights pioneer. She won the Wimbledon singles title six times and was U.S. Open champ four times. She was a nationally-ranked age group player in high school, but played in days when interscholastic opportunities for girls were very limited. She has been a major figure in increasing those opportunities in the last 30 years, including her highly-publicized match in 1978 against Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome.
Here is the complete alphabetical list of our 100 greatest female athletes. To see how we ranked these 100 and for lists of those who just missed making it, we invite you to purchase a copy of our new CalHiSports.com Record Book & Almanac. Read below this list to find out how you can get a free copy.
California's 100 All-Time Greatest Female High School Athletes
(Alphabetical listing with high school & primary sport)
Amy Alcott (Palisades, Pacific Palisades) Golf Evelyn Ashford (Roseville) Track Tracy Austin (Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates) Tennis Shirley Babashoff (Fountain Valley) Swimming Amanda Beard (Irvine) Swimming Shannon Boxx (South, Torrance) Soccer, Multi-Sports Valerie Brisco (Locke, Los Angeles) Track Louise Brough (Beverly Hills) Tennis9 Wendy Brown (Woodside) Track, Multi-Sports Donna Caponi (Granada Hills) Golf Lynn Burke (Los Gatos) Swimming Brandi Chastain (Mitty, San Jose) Soccer Amy Chow (Castilleja, Palo Alto) Gymnastics Tiffany Cohen (Mission Viejo) Swimming Maureen Connolly (Cathedral, San Deigo) Tennis Cynthia Cooper (Locke, Los Angeles) Basketball Denise Corlett (Marlborough, Los Angeles) Volleyball Natalie Coughlin (Carondelet, Concord) Swimming Tara Cross-Battle (So. Calif. Christian, Anaheim) Volleyball Denise Curry (Davis) Basketball Ann Curtis (Washington, San Francisco) Swimming Lindsay Davenport (Murrieta Valley, Murrieta) Tennis Gail Devers (Sweetwater, National City) Track Donna De Varona (Santa Clara) Swimming Stacey Dragila (Placer, Auburn) Track Nancy Dunkle (Connelly, Anaheim) Basketball Margaret Osborne Dupont (Commerce, San Francisco) Tennis Ellen Estes (Novato) Water Polo Janet Evans (El Dorado, Placentia) Swimming Lorrie Fair (Los Altos) Soccer Lisa Fernandez (St. Joseph, Lakewood) Softball Jenny Finch (La Mirada) Softball Peggy Fleming (Pasadena) Figure Skating Julie Foudy (Mission Viejo) Soccer Amanda Freed (Pacifica, Garden Grove) Softball Michelle Granger (Valencia, Placentia) Softball Kathy Gregory (Immaculate Heart, Los Angeles) Volleyball Helen Jacobs (Anna Head's School, Berkeley) Tennis Carin Jennings Gabarra (Palos Verdes, PV Estates) Soccer Jenna Johnson (Whittier Christian, La Habra) Swimming Tayyiba Haneef (Laguna Hills) Volleyball Linda Robertson Hanley (Laguna Beach) Volleyball Joanna Hayes (J.W. North, Riverside) Track Denian Howard (Kennedy, Granada Hills) Track Sherri Howard (Kennedy, Granada Hills) Track Sheila Hudson (Rio Linda) Track Flo Hyman (Inglewood) Volleyball Juli Inkster (Harbor, Santa Cruz) Golf Marion Jones (Thousand Oaks) Track Deena Drossin Kastor (Agoura, Agoura Hills) Distance Running Billie Jean King (Poly, Long Beach) Tennis Michelle Kwan (Rim of the World, Lake Arrowhead) Figure Skating Claudia Kolb (Santa Clara) Swimming Lisa Leslie (Inglewood , Morningside) Basketball Leslie Maxie (Mills, Millbrae) Track Pat McCormick (Wilson, Long Beach) Diving Holly McPeak (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Volleyball Shannon MacMillan (San Pasqual, Escondido) Soccer Terri Mann (Point Loma, San Diego) Basketball Alice Marble (Poly, San Francisco) Tennis Misty May-Trainor (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Volleyball Debbie Meyer (Rio Americano, Sacramento) Swimming Ann Meyers-Drysdale (Sonora, La Habra) Basketball Cheryl Miller (Poly, Riverside) Basketball Inger Miller (Muir, Pasadena) Track Helen Wills Moody (Anna Head's School, Berkeley) Tennis Sandy Nielson (El Monte) Swimming Stacey Nuveman (St. Lucy's, Glendora) Softball Leah O'Brien-Amico (Don Lugo, Chino) Softball Maureen O'Toole (Wilson, Long Beach) Water Polo Elaina Oden (Irvine) Volleyball Keba Phipps (Artesia, Lakewood) Volleyball Suzy Powell (Downey, Modesto) Track Dorothy Poynton (Fairfax, Los Angeles) Diving Cathy Rigby (Los Alamitos) Gymnastics Keena Rothhammer (Santa Clara) Swimming Sylvia Ruuska (Berkeley) Swimming Summer Sanders (Oakmont, Roseville) Swimming Mary Decker Slaney (Orange) Track Francie Larrieu Smith (Fremont, Sunnyvale) Distance Running Julie Smith (Charter Oak, Covina) Softball Jill Sterkel (Los Altos, Hacienda Heights) Swimming Sharon Stouder (Glendora) Swimming Diana Taurasi (Don Lugo, Chino) Basketball Tina Thompson (Morningside, Inglewood) Basketball Wendy Wyland Vanderwoude (Mission Viejo) Diving Dara Torres (Westlake, Los Angeles) Swimming Tawna Vandeweghe (Palisades, Pacific Palisades) Swim/Volleyball Tisha Venturini (Davis, Modesto) Soccer Brenda Villa (Belll Gardens) Water Polo Chris Von Saltza (Los Gatos) Swimming Mickey Wright (Hoover, San Diego) Golf Ally Wagner (Presentation, San Jose) Soccer Kerri Walsh (Mitty, San Jose) Volleyball Natasha Watley (Woodbridge, Irivne0 Softball Jackie White (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) Basketball Angela Williams (Chino) Track Cynthia Woodhead (Poly, Riverside) Swimming Kristi Yamaguchi (Mission San Jose, Fremont) Figure Skating Elaine Youngs (El Toro) Volleyball
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