Twelve Individuals and One Team Inducted into Pioneers Hall of Fame
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2012 19:10
The Smith College Department of Athletics and Recreation inducted its first class into the Smith College Pioneers Hall of Fame. Women who have scaled great heights in physical education, sports and athletics were part of this prestigious class, comprising 12 individuals and a team.
“These are women who represent all the selection categories … women who have achieved international fame, national acclaim and regional prominence. By doing so, they have honored themselves, their families and their college. Smith College couldn’t be prouder!” said Director of Athletics and Recreation and Chair of the Hall of Fame Committee Lynn Oberbillig.
Senda Berenson: She made numerous contributions to the development of physical education as Smith College’s Head of Physical Education. Having conquered her own persistent illness as a young woman through sports, she focused on the health benefits of physical education and exercise. She wrote the official guide for women’s basketball and became the first woman to be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dorothy Ainsworth: Her significant contributions to Smith athletics are evident in the fact that, in 1977, the new addition added to the Scott facility was named in her honor. As a physical education instructor who then went on to be physical education director at Smith, she increased the number of sports offered from six to 14. She made significant additions to facilities, including field hockey and soccer fields, new riding stables, 26 tennis courts and crew shells.
Barbara King Briggs ’83: She was a five-time All-American in the one-meter and three-meter dive, and recorded 40 first-place finishes while at Smith. She became Smith’s first ever national champion after winning both the one meter and three meter dives at the 1983 NCAA Championships.
Maureen McMahon ’84: A 14 time All-American over the course of her Smith career, she was an outstanding swimmer in the freestyle, butterfly and medley relays. McMahon won the 50 fly with a time of 27.23 at the 1982 New England Championships, setting a new meet record. In her senior season of 1984 she set a new national record by winning the NCAA championship in the 100 fly with a time of 58.36.
Monique Fischer ’86: A 14-time All-American who excelled in the backstroke, butterfly and individual medley, she won the NCAA championship in the 200 backstroke in her first year, and her time of 2:10.88 remains a Smith College record. She received the Kay Fromer award in 1986 after accumulating the most points at the New England Championships.
Gwyn Hardesty-Coogan ’87: Smith’s first Olympian, she captured the NCAA Championship in the 3000-meter run in 1986, winning the event for the second consecutive year. She finished 13th in the 10,000-meter race at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, and was also an alternate for the women’s marathon in the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Ga.
Paola Prins ’86: Her records in field hockey still rank among the highest in NCAA Division III history. Along with being Smith’s all-time leader in goals (89) and points (187), she holds the two highest single season goal totals at 33 and 31, respectively. Her career goal totals are part of the top 15 in the record books of NCAA Division III, while her career point totals are part of the top 25.
Victoria Murden McClure ’85: Along with being a member of the basketball team all four years at Smith, she was also part of the varsity crew and squash teams. As a sophomore, she set Smith College’s records for average rebounds per game (11.3) and field goal percentage (44.6 percent). Even more impressive are her post-graduate accomplishments. In 1989, she skied to the South Pole, becoming the first woman and first American to do so. In 1999, she became the first woman to complete a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean, making the 2,962-mile trek in 81 days.
Cheryl Plummer ’92: She played for the field hockey and lacrosse teams during her time at Smith and was named NEW 8 Player of the Year in Field Hockey twice. Her career points total ranks in the top seven in the history of the college, while her career assist total ranks in the top five. She received All-Conference honors four times in field hockey and three times in lacrosse; the only reason she missed a fourth was because the league did not sponsor the sport in her first year. She led the Pioneers to a NEW 8 tournament championship as a junior in 1990.
Agnes “Aggie” Bixler Kurtz ’62: A player of lacrosse, squash and field hockey, Kurtz taught and coached in the women’s athletic programs at Vassar College and the University of Delaware after her graduation. She served as the first Director of Women’s Athletics at Dartmouth from 1972-1989. A member of the National Touring Teams for lacrosse and squash, she played abroad for several years. Kurtz is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the National Squash Hall of Fame, as well as the New England chapter of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Jane Slocum Deland ’69: Apart from being a fantastic squash player, Deland also played field hockey, tennis and lacrosse at Smith. She won the National Intercollegiate Women’s Squash tournament – now known as the Ramsay Cup – in 1969. She was also the youngest member of the United States Women’s Squash team that played against Great Britain in the Wolfe Noel Cup. After graduation, she won the 1973 New England Squash Championship and earned the fourth rank on a national level.