Virginia Tech celebrates 50 years of Title IX progress

The event featured a past, present and future section of women’s sports at Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech female athletes both past and present are celebrating the progress of women’s sports and Title IX.

VT athletes spoke a Tuesday’s event, which was split into three portions: the past, the present, and the future.


The past portion of the event featured some of the earliest trailblazers in VT sports history, like sisters Anne Jones Thompson and Lisa Karlisch.

Thompson graduated in the class of ‘81 and earned the first athletic scholarship for a varsity women’s team. She was also the first full-time women’s tennis coach from 1985 to 2000 and is a Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

Karlisch graduated years later in the class of ‘92. During her athletic career, she played volleyball and was the second woman to have her jersey retired. She was named an NCAA All-American athlete and was also a Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

Another past feature was Lynne Jones Krulich, who graduated in the class of ‘81. She landed the first athletic scholarship for a varsity women’s team at Virginia Tech.

When Thompson started playing tennis, collegiate female sports were still very new.

“I’m not sure half our hall in freshman, sophomore year knew we were even on the tennis team…or that there was a tennis team … even better,” Thompson said.


The present portion of the event featured faces that are quite familiar to most in the Hokie community:

  • Kenny Brooks, women’s basketball head coach,
  • Georgia Amoore, women’s basketball athlete,
  • Elizabeth Kitley, women’s basketball athlete,
  • Lily Espino, co-founder of the women’s ice hockey team,
  • Reyna Gilbert-Lowry, senior associate athletics director for inclusive excellence and alumni.

When talking about the team, Coach Brooks said he’s their biggest advocate for going after opportunities.

“They work extremely hard. They deserve so many of the things that their counterparts get. For me it just feels great to fight for each and every opportunity that they can get,” Brooks said.

The women’s basketball season was historic in and of itself. The Hokies made their first-ever Final Four appearance in program history. Liz Kitley hopes the entire NCAA Women’s Basketball season brings more people to female sports.

“The women’s basketball season as a whole has brought a lot of support and attention to the sport and that can only in turn help our team at Virginia Tech,” Kitley said.

Standout guard, Georgia Amoore, discussed with the audience how the team has tried to remain role models for young females watching them take the court.

“They’re going to grow up in a time that’s completely different from what we’re experiencing as we are right now … completely different from what people 10-20 years ago were experiencing,” Amoore said.


Regardless of past or present, many of the speakers believe there is more to be done. They hope more coverage of female collegiate sports can help bring more fans and viewers to their respective games.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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