Wallek makes history

First woman to officiate varsity high school football game in Vermont
First woman to officiate varsity high school football game in Vermont
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 9:33 PM EDT
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BRISTOL, Vt. (WCAX) - It is becoming a more familiar sight on the gridiron all around the country: more and more women and girls are getting involved in the game of football, whether it be putting on the pads, the headset, or a whistle.

“I’ve liked football from the time that I was a kid,” said Heather Wallek. “One of the other officials said, ‘Hey, we need more officials in football.’ So why can’t I do it? He said, ‘You can!’”

Wallek recently started donning the stripes as a football official.

“Yeah I thought I knew the game,” she said. “There’s so much more to it when you’re actually on the field, trying to watch 22 people moving in different directions. So yeah, there’s a big learning curve.”

For her day job, Wallek owns a plumbing and heating company. She says wrangling the guys in that industry has been good practice for her job as an official.

“Herding all of the children is like herding all the employees,” she said.

And on Saturday, Wallek made history. Serving as head linesman during Saturday’s Oxbow vs Mt. Abe contest, Wallek is believed to be the first woman to ever officiate a varsity high school football game in the state of Vermont.

“I just hope that I’m opening the door for others too,” she said. “Not just in this, but in my day job too. I want more women to join the trades and more women to do anything they don’t traditionally do.”

Wallek hopes to continue making her way up the ranks as an official, and she hopes her success can serve as inspiration for other women and girls to get involved in the game.

“I’ve officiated youth games too and every team has a girl,” Wallek said. “I think it’s great. Girls should play football, baseball, any other sport that they want to play. But yeah, I think it’s wonderful.”