HS FBall: Mandan female kicker doesn't seek special treatment

This year, Mandan football head coach Todd Sheldon took on several candidates for the kicker position.

One of those candidates is breaking down barriers with each kick she takes.

When sophomore Olivia Geiger sees an opportunity, she takes it. The latest opportunity? A vacant kicking position on Mandan football.

"I play goalkeeper for [the girl's soccer team], and I have some pretty good legs, so I was like, 'Why not try it?'" Geiger said.

So she did. Geiger showed up to the summer offseason workouts ready to give it her all.
 
"She'd go kick by herself, and I really didn't want to bug her too much, because I don't know that much about kicking," coach Todd Sheldon said. "As the summer progressed and getting to see her leg strength and quality of the kicks she's putting up--and then having the opportunity to have Jason Arenz, a former Mandan High graduate and University of Mary kicker, come out and help her, I think--as far as the kickers go--she's developed as much if not more than the two male kickers we have."
 
As to be expected, Geiger had a few reservations in the early stages.
 
"I kind of felt like I wasn't going to be accepted just because I'm a girl, but it's kind of settled in now," Geiger said.

She's grown more comfortable and confident as the season's progressed, slowly building her field goal range to over 40 yards. But she still gets butterflies each time she sets up.

"I think the worst part about being a kicker is right before the kick thinking, 'Am I going to make it or am I not going to make it?'" she said.

Geiger's enjoyed the position so much that she might even choose football over soccer when she reaches college.

"I think I'll [play football] through my high school career," Geiger said. "I mean I like it enough to stay with it so we'll see where it takes me."

Geiger says she didn't have much trouble getting used to the team environment, because she says she naturally fits in better with guys.

The Mandan football team finishes up the regular season Wednesday with a home game against Williston.


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