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West field hockey team, Carlos Polk among Hall of Fame honorees

One of the best girls sports teams in Rockford Public Schools history is also one of the least known.

In 1975, the IHSA started a state tournament series for girls field hockey as part of the expansion of women’s sports following the 1972 passing of Title IX. It only lasted seven years because of a lack of interest, but during that short span, Rockford West made a name for itself in the sport.

Champions Ball 2015 logoWest won the first-ever IHSA state field hockey championship in the fall of 1975. The proof is hidden in a championship photo hanging near the trophy room at West Middle School. Most of Rockford doesn’t know about this team, but they’re about to learn.

That 1975 West field hockey team is one of six teams/individuals that will be inducted into the Rockford Public Schools Hall of Fame. The third annual Champions Ball and inductions will be Feb. 21 at Radisson Hotel & Conference Center.

Joining the field hockey team as this year’s class of inductees will be the 1985 East state championship football team. Carlos Polk and Ab Nicholas will be honored in the individual athlete category, and Don May and Gene Cassioppi will be recognized in the coaches category. I notified the four individual winners in August, and all have confirmed their attendance to the event in February.

For more information on this year’s winners and a list of the first two classes of inductees, visit the Athletics page at rps205.com.

The Champions Ball includes dinner and is also a fundraiser for the Rockford Sports Coalition and RPS 205 athletics. Tickets are now on sale and are $50 a person or $350 for a table of eight. Visit rockfordsportscoalition.org to order tickets, or e-mail me at emily.tropp@rps205.com to make your reservations.

 Emily Tropp is project coordinator to the athletics, fine arts and P.E. departments of the Rockford Public Schools.

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