NDHSAA's Sheryl Solberg was a Trailblazer for high school female sports in ND

May 2, 2022 8:30 am

By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist

Editor's Note: This story was part of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) "Title IX at 50" Campaign which celebrates achievements made by high school female athletes, trailblazers for female athletics and activities in state associations and moments of magnitude for high school female sports in every state.

Sheryl Solberg has done it all in athletics.

Solberg, an Assistant Director at the North Dakota High School Activities Association for 34 years, was a trailblazer for high school girls sports and activities in the state.

Starting out as a physical education teacher at Mayville-Portland High School in 1973, Solberg coached track and field, basketball, and gymnastics during her time at the school leading her squads to several district and regional championships. In 1975 – the second year girls basketball was sponsored by the NDHSAA – Solberg guided Mayville-Portland to a Class B state championship.

In 1978, Solberg began a 34-year career as athletic administrator serving as an Assistant Director at the NDHSAA overseeing rules and regulations in the sports of girls basketball, cross country, track and field, swimming and diving, volleyball, girls golf, gymnastics and softball. During Solberg’s tenure, softball became a sponsored female sport by the NDHSAA starting in the 2009 season and would expand greatly under her leadership to include two divisions of competition before her retirement following the 2011-12 school year.

As an Assistant Director at the NDHSAA, Solberg also provided rules clinics and workshops for coaches and officials across the state. During her time with the NDHSAA, she also served on a number of National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Committees including serving as the Chairperson of both the NFHS Gender and Ethnic Equity Committee and the NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee. Solberg was presented the NDHSAA Distinguished Service Award in 2011. She was inducted into the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame in 2014. She is one of only nine North Dakotans in history to receive this tremendous honor.

Solberg was also an accomplished official in both softball and volleyball. She umpired softball for 12 years and was selected to work national tournaments on two occasions. She spent 16 years as a college volleyball official and later officiated high school volleyball for six seasons.  Solberg was inducted into the North Dakota Officials Association (NDOA) Hall of Fame in 2000.

Solberg recently became the first recipient of the North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NDIAAA) Distinguished Service Award and has continued to be an advocate of high school sports and female athletics in the state. 

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