Female football player looks to break barriers at BHS

Title IX goes past boys vs. girls sports. Girls have actually crossed over and participated in male-dominated sports in recent years.

In 2007, girls wrestling in high school became sanctioned in Washington state. As of 2014, over 1,200 girls participated for 203 schools in the state.

In addition, high school girls are beginning to leap over to tackle football. As of 2018, 2,404 girls played tackle football nationwide. Although that number has risen since then, Bainbridge High can add one more to that statistic.

Cate Presher, a junior at Bainbridge High School, has joined the football team.

“I have loved football since I was younger,” Presher said. “It’s been a big passion of mine.”

Presher, standing at a buff 5-foot-6 inches, decided to play this season for a few reasons. She tried to play last year but missed out on the opportunity.

“I was late to sign up for football last year so I couldn’t do it, but I signed up this year to try it out. It’s really fun.”

Besides missing the deadline, a reason why Presher never played beforehand was she wasn’t sure if she could play.

“For a while, I didn’t think girls could play football,” Presher said. “I thought it wasn’t allowed. I knew there was middle school football but I wasn’t sure about high school.”

Presher never focused on playing football because she participated in other sports growing up, such as soccer, track and horseback riding.

Although Presher has never played a single down, she has football in her veins. Growing up, Presher went to Washington State University football games. During halftime, she would participate in the festivities, including throwing the football into the little goals.

Although she does not have a position yet, she is excited to be a part of the Spartan squad.

“The coaches and I are still working it out since I’m still new to it, but I like throwing so QB would be fun,” Presher said. “It is a hard position though so my options are open.”

When Presher first brought up the idea her mother knew Presher had to be ready for what she was getting herself into.

“My mom has been super supportive since the beginning,” Presher said. “She said she would support me but I still had to do my studies on it and the possibilities that can happen like being paralyzed. She made me do a bunch of research about it.”

As for the contact, Presher was built for it. Before she played football, Presher played basketball, loving to defend all the guards with physicality. She will look to continue playing basketball in the winter too.

“I like high-impact sports like shoving people around in basketball,” Presher said. “I thought football would be a fun opportunity to try that out too. I love beating people, and I’m very competitive.”

Despite being a step behind the veterans on the team and dealing with some doubters, she has a large group of supporters. “I have enjoyed partaking in the practices and bonding with my teammates,” Presher said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”

Her teammate and captain of BHS Luke Lavigne added he is excited about having Presher compete with the boys. “Honestly, it’s different,” Lavigne said. “But it’s great to get her out there and see how everyone competes. She is treated the same and is friends with a lot of the guys.”

Although Presher does not know what the future holds, she wants younger girls to follow their passions. “Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do,” she said.