The Natrona County School District board of trustees will make a formal request next month to apply for sanctioned girls softball programs at the two major high schools in the county.

The trustees will tell the Wyoming High School Activities Association that Natrona County and Kelly Walsh high schools want to be part of a statewide fast pitch girls softball program, Associate Superintendent Walt Wilcox said at the board's meeting Monday.

The approval can't come soon enough for eighth-grade student Kynlee Griffith, who is a pitcher and first baseman for a local league.

"I'm really excited because there's a bunch of girls in their high schools that are ready to play," Kynlee said.

The lack of a sanctioned fast ball girls softball program, she added, means that the state's school system is violating Title IX -- the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education -- because there are more sanctioned boys high school sports than sanctioned girls high school sports.

"I'm ready to be created equal," Kynlee said.

She recognizes that the process will take time, but if it moves as expected, she will be playing in an official sport when she's a junior, she said.

Kynlee has been among the scores of students, parents, coaches and friends of the local softball leagues who have packed the district's Central Services Facility, 970 N. Glenn Road, for the past three board meetings.

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media
Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

They have politely and persistently pushed their cause during the public comment period at the beginning of the meetings.

For example, Ryleigh Sisco, a catcher for the Rebels softball team, memorized her speech before speaking to the board two weeks ago.

"Sports are a great way to earn scholarships, and scholarships can be very important to a high school student in general," Ryleigh said. "I have learned much better sportsmanship than I used to have, and it has taught me a lot of discipline as well."

After Monday's meeting, Wilcox said at least eight schools must participate in the program, and Kelly Walsh and Natrona would be the fifth and sixth to make the request. The other high schools that already have committed to the program are Cody, Powell, Rock Springs and Green River, he said.

Several other districts are also working toward applying, and they may be submitting their proposals to the WHSAA by mid- to late April, Wilcox said. "Most of the communities are moving right now during this school year."

When the WHSAA gets the eight applications, it will conduct meetings and work toward creating a sanctioned program like other sports such as boys basketball and baseball.

The earliest that it could happen would be the spring of 2021, Wilcox said.

If approved, launching the program would cost the district about $100,000, he said.

That would pay for equipment, uniforms, coaches, renting softball fields, officials costs including umpires and officials to operate games, and travel expenses given a 14-game season, Wilcox said.


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