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The first of Iowa City West’s 10 Gazette Athletes of the Year, Kara and Kate Galer
They won the award in 1992, then helped elevate the volleyball program at UNI
IOWA CITY — They didn’t have seemingly infinite club-sports opportunities.
Kara and Kate Galer had something better.
They had each other.
“Obviously, it was a unique situation,” Kara said. “We did everything together. We always had an automatic partner.”
You could say the Galer twins were female trailblazers at Iowa City West. They excelled though four years of volleyball and basketball, soccer and softball.
They were West’s first Gazette Athletes of the Year, in 1992. Today, West has the most AOYs (10) of any school in the coverage area.
They were the only twins so honored.
Two other sets — North Tama’s Brooke and Blaire Dinsdale (2008) and North Linn’s Abby and Grace Flanagan (2020) — were Female AOY finalists.
“I consider (the Galers) two of the top 10 athletes we’ve ever had at West, and that’s female or male,” former West volleyball coach Kathy Bresnahan said.
“They were so far ahead of their time. Four-year starters in four sports, at a school our size ... that just doesn’t happen.”
After shining at West, the twins moved on to UNI, where they helped elevate the Panthers’ volleyball program: Kara as a setter, Kate as an outside hitter.
Volleyball, Kate said, wasn’t even her favorite — or best — sport.
“Honestly, I don’t think I was a great volleyball player in high school,” she said. “I was much better in college. Softball was my favorite.
“No matter the sport, it was always nice to have somebody there for support.”
Now 47, both are married — they are Kara Kimm and Kate Hawkins.
Kara’s daughter Shelby Kimm is a member of Iowa City Liberty’s volleyball team and has committed to St. Cloud State.
“I have a newfound respect for my parents,” Kara said.
The yearly cycle — volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter, soccer (not yet sanctioned by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, West and Iowa City High shared a girls’ team in the early 1990s) in the spring, softball in the summer — kept the twins fresh and free of burnout.
“You don’t see a lot of multisport athletes any more,” Kara said. “We just went from one sport to another. We weren’t focused 100 percent on volleyball like a lot of kids are now.”
“It never got boring,” Kate said. “It never felt like a chore.”