by Katie Sue Eichner
Trish Bostrom grew up in the Seattle area. From the start, she showed promise of being an accomplished tennis star. As a high schooler, she played for the men’s tennis team at Chief Seattle High School, even though she couldn’t formally participate in games or competitions. Bostrom started as a freshman at the University of Washington in 1969. That was also her first year as a member of the UW womxn’s tennis team. Throughout her time in the program, Bostrom established herself as a force to be reckoned with: by the time she graduated, Bostrom had won the PAC-8 Singles title in tennis, the AIAW National Women’s Collegiate Mixed Doubles title, and earned a position on the Junior Wightman Cup team.
1972 was a big year for Trish Bostrom. It was the year she won the PAC-8 singles title, but it was also the year she challenged the University of Washington. During her time in the sports program, Bostrom experienced the enormous disparities between the womxn’s and the men’s tennis teams. In short, the womxn’s program wasn’t funded nearly as well as the men’s. Womxn had to pay for their travel, their overnight stays, even registration to participate in competitions. The men’s team was given everything from hotels to air travel to a nationally renowned coach. Eager to be given better opportunities, Bostrom, with the support of attorney Don Cohan, held a meeting with the University of Washington to bring these issue to light. The demands were simple: equal treatment for the womxn’s sports program, and a chance to try out for the men’s team.
Months before Title IX passed, which would ban gender inequality in athletics of higher education, the University of Washington took into consideration Bostrom’s demands. She was given a chance to try out for the UW men’s tennis team, attention was brought to the disparities between teams. On June 23rd, 1972, President Nixon followed the example the University of Washington, and other colleges across the nation, and passed the Title IX of the Higher Education Act.
Trish Bostrom graduated early from the University of Washington in 1972, years before Title IX was actively implemented in colleges. Her postgraduate tennis career was fruitful; in 1975, Bostrom ranked #5 in the world rankings for tennis doubles. In 1977, she ranked #37 in the world rankings for tennis singles. She participated in the Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open, and the US Open. She has been inducted into several halls of fame, including the Husky Hall of Fame in 1987; the Washington State Sports Hall of Fame in 2006; the United States Tennis Association Pacific Northwest Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009; and the PAC-12 Hall of Honor in 2019.
Trish Bostrom went on to become an attorney, receiving her law degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. Bostrom returned to the Seattle area to establish her law practice, and continues to be involved with the University of Washington and Title IX policy.