As she entered her senior year at Shen, Barkalow thought she had her college plans laid out for her. She said she was going to attend St. Lawrence University on an ROTC scholarship when her guidance counselor told her that West Point was accepting applications from women.
"I figured I had nothing to lose, so I filled out the application," said Barkalow. "As it turned out, the ROTC scholarship fell through, but I got accepted at West Point."
Barkalow said she knew being one of the first female cadets at West Point wasn't going to be easy.
"Probably the first year, there wasn't a day where I didn't go, 'Ugh, I can't take anymore of this.' But I knew I wanted to be an officer, and nothing was going to stand in my way," said Barkalow.
West Point initially only offered club-level sports for women when the first cadet class entered in 1976. But by Barkalow's sopho-more year, the military academy elevated women's basketball to interscholastic status.
Barkalow made history with the women's basketball team when she scored the first two points in the program's history in a home game against Skidmore College on Dec. 1, 1976.
"That was something else because of who we were playing," said Barkalow.
After graduating from West Point in 1980 and serving time in the Army, Barkalow continued playing sports. She was on track to make the 1984 United States Olympic women's handball team when she tore a knee ligament at the 1983 U.S. Sports Festival. To date, Barkalow said that it was the most disappointing moment she had in sports.
Today, Barkalow coaches youth basketball teams and gives an annual scholarship at Shen to athletes who exhibit a strong work ethic.""