In late May 1972, three years after the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) approved interscholastic sports for girls, athletes from 108 high schools gathered at St. Cloud Apollo High School for the first girls track and field state meet sponsored by the MSHSL.
Among the people who helped bring about the inaugural state track meet — the first of 11 sports to have a state tournament for girls over the next five years — was Velma Teichroew.
In 1970, Teichroew, a teacher and coach at Richfield High School, served on the MSHSL's Women's Advisory Committee. The committee's first action was to recommend the first state track meet.
"When the Minnesota State High School League adopted girls interscholastic sports in 1969, Vel stepped up her efforts," said Dorothy E. McIntyre, who joined the MSHSL staff as an associate director in 1970. "Vel found creative ways to unlock doors, and her young women walked past the raised eyebrows of the naysayers. She was a trailblazer and advocate for high school girls sports."
During her time at Richfield High School, Teichroew served as the administrator for girls sports and coached tennis, cross-country, skiing, volleyball and track and field.
Teichroew died on Jan. 22 in North Newton, Kan. She was 95.
Teichroew, a native of Mountain Lake, Minn., attended business college in Mankato and worked at a bank in her hometown before enrolling at Mankato State. She earned a bachelor's degree at Mankato State and then earned a master's degree in physical education at the University of Minnesota.
She began her teaching career at Buffalo before joining the staff at Richfield. She also served as executive secretary of the Minnesota High School Girls Coaches Association for 20 years.
"Vel preferred to work behind the scenes," McIntyre said. "Her dedicated efforts have turned on the lights for young women across Minnesota."
Teichroew retired in 1985. In 1993, she was inducted into the MSHSL's Hall of Fame. In 2012, she received the Marie Berg Award at the Minnesota-National Girls and Women in Sports Day held at the State Capitol.