Top 100 Female Athletes In State History

One week after we wrote why baseball immortal Jackie Robinson was our choice as the greatest California high school boys athlete, who could possibly even approach Robinson on the female side as someone who not only excelled in their sport but transcended it? How about Billie Jean King? She qualifies for her efforts on behalf of all female athletes, working to aid in increased athletic opportunities throughout the nation for them and helping to shine the spotlight on them through awards and honors by the Women's Sports Foundation, which she founded 30 years ago.
The selections were based on a 50-50 formula comparing what each athlete did while going to a California high school and what they did after they left. THIS IS NOT A RANKING OF THE BEST ATHLETES WHO ARE FROM A CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOL. Each athlete needed to have been successful while in high school. This is why an all-time great in track such as the late Florence Griffith Joyner is not on the list. She primarily developed her athletic prowess after high school. This is also why some prominent athletes who were record-breakers when they were in high school also aren't included, either. They were not successful after high school.
Another part of the process was determining an appropriate waiting period after high school graduation. On the girls side, because athletic opportunities were so limited until the mid-1970s, filling up our list to 100 names became much easier by going to a five-year wait as opposed to 10 years which was used for boys. Still, some very prominent girls athletes are still too young to have been chosen, including track stars Allyson Felix, Lashinda Demus and Monique Henderson.
We said while introducing our top 100 men's list that any reader going through the names of these individuals should be struck by just how great California is as an athletic force. In women's sports, particularly, the Golden State is not only the leader of the United States but is clearly the leader of the world. It's rather amazing to see just how many of the world's most prominent all-time best female athletes are from California.
King, known as Billie Jean Moffitt when she attended Long Beach Poly High School, is a women's tennis and women's rights pioneer. She won the Wimbledon singles title six times and was U.S. Open champ four times. She was a nationally-ranked age group player in high school, but played in days when interscholastic opportunities for girls were very limited. She has been a major figure in increasing those opportunities in the last 30 years, including her highly-publicized match in 1978 against Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome.
Here is the complete alphabetical list of our 100 greatest female athletes. To see how we ranked these 100 and for lists of those who just missed making it, we invite you to purchase a copy of our new Record Book & Almanac. Read below this list to find out how you can get a free copy.
California's 100 All-Time Greatest
Female High School Athletes
(Alphabetical listing with high school & primary sport)
Amy Alcott (Palisades, Pacific Palisades) Golf
Evelyn Ashford (Roseville) Track
Tracy Austin (Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates) Tennis
Shirley Babashoff (Fountain Valley) Swimming
Amanda Beard (Irvine) Swimming
Shannon Boxx (South, Torrance) Soccer, Multi-Sports
Valerie Brisco (Locke, Los Angeles) Track
Louise Brough (Beverly Hills) Tennis9
Wendy Brown (Woodside) Track, Multi-Sports
Donna Caponi (Granada Hills) Golf
Lynn Burke (Los Gatos) Swimming
Brandi Chastain (Mitty, San Jose) Soccer
Amy Chow (Castilleja, Palo Alto) Gymnastics
Tiffany Cohen (Mission Viejo) Swimming
Maureen Connolly (Cathedral, San Deigo) Tennis
Cynthia Cooper (Locke, Los Angeles) Basketball
Denise Corlett (Marlborough, Los Angeles) Volleyball
Natalie Coughlin (Carondelet, Concord) Swimming
Tara Cross-Battle (So. Calif. Christian, Anaheim) Volleyball
Denise Curry (Davis) Basketball
Ann Curtis (Washington, San Francisco) Swimming
Lindsay Davenport (Murrieta Valley, Murrieta) Tennis
Gail Devers (Sweetwater, National City) Track
Donna De Varona (Santa Clara) Swimming
Stacey Dragila (Placer, Auburn) Track
Nancy Dunkle (Connelly, Anaheim) Basketball
Margaret Osborne Dupont (Commerce, San Francisco) Tennis
Ellen Estes (Novato) Water Polo
Janet Evans (El Dorado, Placentia) Swimming
Lorrie Fair (Los Altos) Soccer
Lisa Fernandez (St. Joseph, Lakewood) Softball
Jenny Finch (La Mirada) Softball
Peggy Fleming (Pasadena) Figure Skating
Julie Foudy (Mission Viejo) Soccer
Amanda Freed (Pacifica, Garden Grove) Softball
Michelle Granger (Valencia, Placentia) Softball
Kathy Gregory (Immaculate Heart, Los Angeles) Volleyball
Helen Jacobs (Anna Head's School, Berkeley) Tennis
Carin Jennings Gabarra (Palos Verdes, PV Estates) Soccer
Jenna Johnson (Whittier Christian, La Habra) Swimming
Tayyiba Haneef (Laguna Hills) Volleyball
Linda Robertson Hanley (Laguna Beach) Volleyball
Joanna Hayes (J.W. North, Riverside) Track
Denian Howard (Kennedy, Granada Hills) Track
Sherri Howard (Kennedy, Granada Hills) Track
Sheila Hudson (Rio Linda) Track
Flo Hyman (Inglewood) Volleyball
Juli Inkster (Harbor, Santa Cruz) Golf
Marion Jones (Thousand Oaks) Track
Deena Drossin Kastor (Agoura, Agoura Hills) Distance Running
Billie Jean King (Poly, Long Beach) Tennis
Michelle Kwan (Rim of the World, Lake Arrowhead) Figure Skating
Claudia Kolb (Santa Clara) Swimming
Lisa Leslie (Inglewood , Morningside) Basketball
Leslie Maxie (Mills, Millbrae) Track
Pat McCormick (Wilson, Long Beach) Diving
Holly McPeak (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) Volleyball
Shannon MacMillan (San Pasqual, Escondido) Soccer
Terri Mann (Point Loma, San Diego) Basketball
Alice Marble (Poly, San Francisco) Tennis
Misty May-Trainor (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) Volleyball
Debbie Meyer (Rio Americano, Sacramento) Swimming
Ann Meyers-Drysdale (Sonora, La Habra) Basketball
Cheryl Miller (Poly, Riverside) Basketball
Inger Miller (Muir, Pasadena) Track
Helen Wills Moody (Anna Head's School, Berkeley) Tennis
Sandy Nielson (El Monte) Swimming
Stacey Nuveman (St. Lucy's, Glendora) Softball
Leah O'Brien-Amico (Don Lugo, Chino) Softball
Maureen O'Toole (Wilson, Long Beach) Water Polo
Elaina Oden (Irvine) Volleyball
Keba Phipps (Artesia, Lakewood) Volleyball
Suzy Powell (Downey, Modesto) Track
Dorothy Poynton (Fairfax, Los Angeles) Diving
Cathy Rigby (Los Alamitos) Gymnastics
Keena Rothhammer (Santa Clara) Swimming
Sylvia Ruuska (Berkeley) Swimming
Summer Sanders (Oakmont, Roseville) Swimming
Mary Decker Slaney (Orange) Track
Francie Larrieu Smith (Fremont, Sunnyvale) Distance Running
Julie Smith (Charter Oak, Covina) Softball
Jill Sterkel (Los Altos, Hacienda Heights) Swimming
Sharon Stouder (Glendora) Swimming
Diana Taurasi (Don Lugo, Chino) Basketball
Tina Thompson (Morningside, Inglewood) Basketball
Wendy Wyland Vanderwoude (Mission Viejo) Diving
Dara Torres (Westlake, Los Angeles) Swimming
Tawna Vandeweghe (Palisades, Pacific Palisades) Swim/Volleyball
Tisha Venturini (Davis, Modesto) Soccer
Brenda Villa (Belll Gardens) Water Polo
Chris Von Saltza (Los Gatos) Swimming
Mickey Wright (Hoover, San Diego) Golf
Ally Wagner (Presentation, San Jose) Soccer
Kerri Walsh (Mitty, San Jose) Volleyball
Natasha Watley (Woodbridge, Irivne0 Softball
Jackie White (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) Basketball
Angela Williams (Chino) Track
Cynthia Woodhead (Poly, Riverside) Swimming
Kristi Yamaguchi (Mission San Jose, Fremont) Figure Skating
Elaine Youngs (El Toro) Volleyball
Free Record Book With
Your Annual Subscription!!
Become an annual subscriber to the site and as an added bonus you'll get a free copy of our incredible state record book shipped to your address.
This is a $20 value and it's all yours when you sign up to become a member of our web site. Call the membership number with credit card handy. Once you've been charged, we'll take it from there and will make sure you receive your free state record book.
Note: This offer will be available for December only, so act quickly. This offer also is not available for month-to-month subscribers.
To purchase the record book separately, send $20 to Record Book, 23954 Madison Street, Torrance CA 90505. This covers shipping and handling. You can order the book as well with credit card by calling 1-800-660-1334, ext. 4431 during regular business hours.