Katharine Hnida
New Mexico LobosNo. 2
Placekicker Class of 2004
Major: Psychology
Date of birth: (1981-05-17) May 17, 1981 (age 38)
Career history
High school: Chatfield (Littleton, Colorado)
* Colorado (1999)
Bowl games
* 1999 Bowl
Career highlights and awards
* First woman to score in a NCAA Division I FBS football game

Katharine Anne Hnida (/ˈndə/; born May 17, 1981) is an American football player who became the first woman to score in an NCAA Division I-A game, college football's highest level. She accomplished this as placekicker for the University of New Mexico Lobos on August 30, 2003.[1]

Hnida is the third woman to have scored in a college football game, after Liz Heaston, who played for NAIA Willamette University in 1997, and Ashley Martin, who played for NCAA Division I-AA Jacksonville State University in 2001. While at University of Colorado Boulder in 1999 she became the second woman to dress for a Division I-A game, and the first to do so for a bowl game.[2][3]

Early lifeEdit

Hnida (pronounced without the H) grew up in Littleton, Colorado. She attended Chatfield Senior High School near Littleton, where she was a member of the football team. She went 3 for 3 in field goal attempts, and 27 for 28 in extra point attempts in her senior year. She was a member of the varsity team and named one of America's "20 most influential teens" by Teen People magazine.[4] Rick Reilly wrote a "Life of Reilly" column about her.[5]


After high school, Hnida enrolled at the University of Colorado Boulder. Due to her success in high school football, she was invited to join the Colorado Buffaloes football team as a walk-on freshman placekicker by then coach Rick Neuheisel.[6][7] Neuheisel left Colorado in 1998, but his replacement Gary Barnett kept the walk-on offer open.[6] Hnida never saw playing time at Colorado, though she did suit up for games, becoming the second woman to do so in Division I football, and the first to do so in a bowl game, when Colorado went to the 1999 Bowl.[2][3] In 2000, after falling ill with mononucleosis and tonsillitis, Hnida was unable to compete for a roster spot.

Hnida left Colorado in 2001 and eventually transferred to the University of New Mexico the following year. There she made the New Mexico Lobos football team as a walk-on placekicker.[8] While at New Mexico she became the first woman to play in a Division I-A bowl game when she played in the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA, where her extra point attempt was blocked.[9] On August 30, 2003 she became the first woman to score in a Division I-A game when she kicked two extra points against Texas State University in the fourth quarter of a 72–8 New Mexico win.[10] She graduated in December 2004.

Hnida made more news in February 2004 when she told Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly that she had been raped by one of her teammates at Colorado in 2000, and sexually harassed on other occasions.[7] She was one of several women who reported being assaulted by members or recruits of the Colorado football team during this time. Colorado coach Gary Barnett denied Hnida's allegation in a statement, during which he also criticized Hnida's abilities as a player.[11] The school subsequently suspended Barnett for his comments.[12]

Post-playing lifeEdit

Hnida travels around the country to share her athletic story and her journey as a victim of sexual assault. She commonly speaks at colleges and universities to educate and raise awareness about assault.[13] Katie has worked with many organizations that help victims of assault, including The Joyful Heart Foundation and the Voices and Faces Project.[14] She has resided in New York City where she managed her speaking engagements and book tour.

Hnida's father, Dave, is a physician and the medical reporter for the CBS affiliate in Denver. He is also the author of "Paradise General: Riding the Surge at a Combat Hospital in Iraq." [15]

In 2006, Hnida wrote a book about her experiences, titled Still Kicking: My Journey as the First Woman to Play Division One College Football.[14] It details abuse and sexual assault she experienced while at Colorado, as well as her experiences afterward at the University of New Mexico.[16]

In 2010, Hnida became the kicker for the Fort Wayne FireHawks in the Continental Indoor Football League.[17] The league's first female player, and only the second female professional football player in history (after placeholder Patricia Palinkas), Hnida played in the first three games of the team's season but was released later that year after developing a blood clot in her kicking leg.[18]

In 2018, Hnida became gravely ill after an adverse reaction to a prescribed antibiotic sent her into multiple organ failure; her family reported her kidneys and liver failed and her bone marrow quit functioning, resulting in admission to an intensive care unit and emergency dialysis.[19]

See alsoEdit

References Edit

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2010-10-18. (2-2 PATs, New Mexico vs. Texas State, 8/30/03)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Reaves, Jay (August 31, 2001). "Female kicker 3-for-3 in Division I football debut". CBC sports. Archived from the original on October 10, 2009. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thompson, Adam (October 17, 2000). "Denver Post". Denver Post. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  4. Maloney, Carol (1999-01-19). "Magazine gives Hnida a major kick". (Denver Post). Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  5. Reilly, Rick (October 18, 1998). "Life of Reilly". Sports Illustrated.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Katie Hnida Timeline: 1998-2004". Sports Illustrated (Sports Illustrated). 2004-02-17. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Reilly, Rick (2004-02-23). "Another Victim at Colorado". (Sports Illustrated). Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  8. Perea, Mary (2002-08-02). "Lobos' new look: a woman on field". Deseret News. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  9. "History Maker". CNN Sports Illustrated. 2002-12-26. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2010-10-18. (2-2 PATs, New Mexico vs. Texas State, 8/30/03)
  11. "School faces new".
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  13. Article,, 24 September 2008.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Hnida, Katie (2006-11-28). Still Kicking: My Journey As the First Woman to Play Division I College Football. Scribner. ISBN 978-0-7432-8977-1.
  15. Landro, Laura (2010-05-29). "The Surge and the Surgery". The Wall Street Journal.
  16. Iliana Limon (2006-08-15). "Hnida's book finished". Archived from the original on November 16, 2007. Retrieved 2006-08-16.
  17. Hayes, Reggie (March 31, 2010). "FireHawks' new kicker rekindling her dream". The News-Sentinel. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  18. Hayes, Reggie (March 31, 2010). "Sports summary". The News-Sentinel. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  19. Will Webber, UNM athlete, Hnida, who became first woman to play college football, gravely ill, The Santa Fe New Mexican, October 31, 2018, accessed November 1, 2018.

External links Edit

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