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Woman Behind Ladycat Athletic Program Honored

BY LEANN DILBECK –

The Bearcat Foundation and Bearcat boosters continued to honor the heritage and history of the Bearcats & Ladycats during last Friday’s game when Mrs. Janice Whorton was named the honorary captain. On the heels of the Ladycat Volleyball State Championship Title, BFI recognized the woman who set the gold standard for ladies athletics at Mena High and put into motion what is known today as “THE” Mena Ladycats.

She began her career under the guidance of the legendary Jim Rackley in the fall of 1976 when girls athletics went from a club activity to a full program of competitive athletics.  She was the very first head coach of the Ladycats and the volleyball powerhouse known today was started by Coach Whorton from scratch in 1976.  She was the head coach of Ladycat Basketball and Volleyball from 1976 to 1981.

After a brief hiatus, she returned to Mena schools where she served as a guidance counselor for before retiring in 2010 with 32 years of dedicated service to the Mena schools where she touched literally thousands of young lives.

All of the Ladycat traditions have their origins with her and she will always have piece of ownership in Ladycat athletics.  To her surprise as she stood on the 50-yard line were members of her teams from her very first year at Mena who joined her on the track for a photo to commemorate this special recognition.

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