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Spring 2004

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Who, What, When

Centennial spotlight

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centennial spotlight

Great moments in sports

Athletics and physical fitness have always been part of the Skidmore story, from early interests in improving young ladies’ posture to today’s varsity teams for men and women. A few highlights (including some surprising records):

1903. A great lover of walking and hiking, Lucy Skidmore Scribner set up her Young Women’s Industrial Club so that half of the facilities were devoted to physical-culture classes and activities.

1909. On March 24 the YWIC basketball team trounced the Glens Falls Invisibles, 17-1,* in a game at the Glens Falls Armory before 800 spectators.

1916. On June 24, at the second annual Skidmore School of Arts Field Day, Maude Devereux ’16 executed a running broad jump of 16 feet 9-1/2 inches, setting a new women’s world record that would stand until 1925.

1922. During Skidmore College Field Day activities on November 4, Martha Murdock ’24 broke the American women’s discus-throw record with a hurl of 100 feet.

1923. During Health Week the junior class was honored for setting the best example in proper walking, and Helen Lambden ’23, presidentof the Athletic Association, was voted Healthiest Girl at Skidmore College.

1927. The first Skidmore College Horse Show, held at the Oklahoma Track on May 14, featured form riding, polo, and mounted games like musical chairs and a potato race.

1936. Lecturing on posture to Skidmore freshmen, Lulu Sweigard of the physical education department advised sitting “as if the chair is going to be taken away from underneath you.”

1942. In the Intercollegiate Ski Union Championships, held at the Middlebury Winter Carnival, Cynthia Taft ’42 captured the women’s slalom event on a day marked by a blinding snowstorm and a temperature of –15 degrees.

1943. In March Skidmore won the National Intercollegiate Telegraphic Swimming Meet,** with four firsts; a new national record of 35.2 seconds in the 60-yard medley relay was set by Betty Beaton ’46, Jean Perryman ’45, and Barbara Mathews ’43.

1948. Researchers for the Skidmore News calculated that since 1913–14 the major field most often pursued by student government presidents was physical education.

1951. Forty-five years after the first game of field hockey was played in the US, Skidmore was honored to host ten schools in the Northeast Field Hockey Tournament, held at Fifty Acres.

1956. For the big finale of a holiday water ballet at Cochran Pool, the entire group of synchronized swimmers performed a set of difficult maneuvers while carrying aloft candles: not a single flame went out.

1956. Barbara VanPopering ’58, described in her yearbookas “a curly-haired Robin Hood,”won the National Women’s Flight Championship for shooting an arrow farther than any other woman in the US.

1962. At the Eastern Collegiate Girls’ Tennis Championships in Forest Hills, N.Y., Sandy Wilbert ’63 and Bev Young ’63 bested a field of forty colleges to win the doubles crown.

1973. Students voted for the Wombats as Skidmore’s varsity mascot, rejecting the Suns, the Lions, the Secretariats, and the Thoroughbreds (which took over as mascot in 1981).

1977. In a bicentennial event billed as the “second Battle of Saratoga,” Skidmore’s fledgling polo team—formed just three years earlier—defeated the British team from Oxford University, 9-6.

1984. Rachel Finn ’84 was named Senior Student-Athlete of the Year, having captained three teams, been named MVP in soccer and lacrosse, and earned All-Star honors for her 91 percent save percentage as a goalie in women’s ice hockey.

1988. With a second-place finish that earned a headline in the New York Times, John Onderdonk ’89 and Chris Grosso ’89 become the first (and only) Skidmore rowers to compete and medal in the prestigious IRA Regatta.
1988. In his varsity hockey career Joe Tacopina ’88 played in eighty-one games, during the course of which he spent 355 minutes in the penalty box, a Skidmore record that still stands.

1990. The riding team won its first IHSA National Hunt Seat Championship, a title it would win again in 1991, 1995, 1996, and 1999.

1992. David Hathaway ’92 led the golf team to four consecutive top-ten finishes in NCAA Division III and became Skidmore’s first four-time All-American.

1996. After leading the hockey team to three ECAC South titles and four straight trips to the ECAC North/South/Central playoffs, Joe Doldo ’96 finished his ninety-five-game career with 86 goals and 130 assists for 216 points—an all-time Skidmore hockey record.

1998. Jamie Levine ’98 led the women’s tennis team to Skidmore’s first NCAA Division III national championship; she won the singles title by 6-0, 6-0.

1999. Basketball standouts David Burch ’99 and Jaime Cumpelik ’99 set scoring records, with 1,521 points and 1,590 points respectively.

1999. The women’s tennis team brought home a new NCAA III trophy, as Inke Noel ’99 and Lisa Powers ’01 won the national doubles championship.

2001. All-time volleyball great Courtnay Lee ’01 captured the national NCAA III record for service aces in a career, with 486.

2003. All-American and UCAA All-Star Chris Bivona ’03 earned UCAA Co-Player of the Year and all-academic honors; he became Skidmore’s all-time leading lacrosse scorer, with 118 goals and 95 assists.

2003. All-American, Academic All-American, and UCAA Player of the Year Colleen Barber ’04 capped her career with 37 goals and a Skidmore-record 51 assists as she led the field-hockey team to the national NCAA III quarterfinals.

—compiled by Kathryn Gallien from Skidmore’s archives and sports information office, and from the New York Times, Saratogian, Skidmore News, and Eromdiks

* Low scores were common in early women’s basketball, a passing game in which there was no dribbling and players were allowed only limited movement.

** To avoid the difficulties of travel, women’s colleges held “telegraphic” swim meets: each team swam at its own pool and forwarded results to a designated center, which tabulated the teams’ standings and telegraphed them back to the participants.



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