Pioneers in Women's Athletics
Pioneers in Women's Athletics
Sport/Entity: Women's Athletics
Year Inducted: 2014

When Riverside Junior College opened its doors in 1916, so too did athletics. Tennis was the game. Riverside Junior College competed in men’s and women’s tennis. Interest in athletics grew a little each year. In 1921, tennis remained the dominant sport, but men’s and women’s basketball and baseball emerged. By 1922, the major sports were all represented at Riverside Junior College: football, basketball, baseball, track and field, and tennis.

Women were active in sports from the beginning – especially in tennis and basketball. In 1924, records indicate Riverside Junior College added women’s field hockey and rifle. Yet, there remained inequities between men’s and women’s athletics. In 1926, Catharine S. Huntley began her long career in women’s sports at Riverside.Among her notable achievements was the introduction of badminton to the West Coast area and the Women’s Athletic Association. Riverside Junior College was one of the first West Coast colleges to initiate the WAA.

Yet, at about that same time a shift occurred and women’s athletics moved from an intercollegiate focus to interclass or Play Day events. Sports became increasingly male dominated, and women’s sports were denied an opportunity.

Sports coverage, student body money, and preferred status made the change more obvious, but Huntley continued to work hard to increase athletic opportunities for women.

As the 1930s began, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and field hockey were offered. Rifle and tennis returned in 1934, swimming was added in 1935, archery in 1938, and baseball in 1940. The Women’s Athletic Association was active through the war and postwar periods under the direction of Huntley. When she retired in 1962, Natalie Ringlund (1962), Sonia Doshna (1965), and Lois Cresgy (1971) took up the cause.

Women’s sports made headway between 1964-1972. One significant evolution was that the Women’s Athletic Association, under the direction of Doshna and Ringlund, became less a group for sports activities and more an association for women interested in the professional aspect of athletics – coaching and leadership.

Another significant development was the formation of the Southern California Community College Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Nan Ringlund played a key role. The group, representing some 33 junior colleges, sponsored intramural competition within local regions for women’s tennis, archery, and bowling, plus coed badminton and tennis.

As the 1970s unfolded, Riverside City College continued to add intercollegiate sports: volleyball (1976), softball (1977), and swimming and cross country (1979). Today, RCC offers eight women’s athletic teams, competing in conference play. The Lady Tigers account for eight state titles in RCC’s rich athletic history. Catharine Huntley, Nan Ringlund, Sonia Doshna, and Lois Cresgy pioneered that course, making the women’s athletics program what it is today.