One high school girl in Dubuque is gaining some attention for her perfect performance so far this season on the freshman football team.
14-year-old Hempstead High School student Kayley Weiland is a kicker and has helped her team go 2-0 so far, adding in six extra points.
Weiland has played seven years of basketball and eight years of soccer. This year, she decided to try something new.
"My mom wanted me to go out for football, she's very encouraging, and my dad was like, 'Eh, I don't know,'" Kayley said Friday. "But then, after our first game, he was like, 'Yeah, Kayley!'"
Weiland works every bit as hard as the boys, but she does have her differences.
"Every time I get down on the line, the guys always make fun of me because I have nail polish on," Weiland said, smiling.
Weiland has made six out of six kicks in her two games this season.
Tom Meissner is Hempstead High School's athletic director and an assistant principal.
"I think it's rare, you know, not only here at Hempstead but at many high schools," Meissner said, of a girl playing a boys' sport. "I think since I've been the activities director, I think we've had one other young lady that did participate in football for one season during her freshman year."
Weiland said she'd like to play all four years and make the varsity team, just like her brother Matt Weiland, a Hempstead junior and varsity football player.
"When she told me originally, I thought, 'Yeah, right,'" Matt Weiland said. "Eventually when she started kicking and everything, I went down to the field with her, and we'd practice. She'd just practice kicking field goals, and eventually she started getting it really good and I thought, 'Well, you know, go for it.'"
During summer conditioning, Kayley said, her brother's friends would talk.
"They were like, 'Who's that girl going out?' And Matt would be like, 'That's my sister!'" Weiland said.
The boys on her team have come to accept and respect her, Weiland said.
"My coach will always be like, 'Guys! Let's go!...and lady,'" she said with a laugh.
After overcoming the odds and stigma of being the only girl playing football at Hempstead, it should come as no surprise this go-getter also plans on trying out for basketball in the winter and soccer in the spring.
While this place kicker is making a name for herself now, she has a bigger life goal: she hopes to one day find a cure for cancer.
Weiland is first-string kicker and also second-string guard for her team.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association says girls aren't prohibited from any boys' sports where there's no girls' equivalent, which are football, wrestling and even baseball.
Meanwhile, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union does not allow boys to play girls sports, such as volleyball. The IGHSAU says this is for two main reasons. They don't want to deny girls any opportunities for playing sports by giving a spot to a boy, which ties into Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which states, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
Secondly, the IGHSAU cites high school boys' generally larger size and how that could pose a safety threat.
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