Wellesley Inducts Four New Members into the Athletics Hall of Fame
Dozens of Wellesley Blue sports fans gathered in Alumnae Hall on Saturday, October 15, for the induction of four new members of the Athletics Hall of Fame.
“It is a true joy for all of us to share in the connection of the past to the present,” said Bridget Belgiovine, director of athletics and chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics (PERA). “Our Hall of Fame serves as an important link; our current students delight in the legacy that exists because of the contributions of those before them. Our alumnae share in the joy when our current teams reach new levels of success. That is the power of the Wellesley College Athletics Hall of Fame.
Nadine Netter Levy ’66, a tennis player, won the Eastern Women’s College Tournament championship in 1962 and earned collegiate titles at the Eastern Intercollegiate Champion and New England Intercollegiate Women’s Tennis Championship in 1965, several years before Title IX opened opportunities for women collegiate athletes nationwide.
At the end of her junior year, when she reached the finals of the National Collegiate Tennis Championships (what would be called the NCAA championships today), she was Wellesley’s only player and had no coach, no uniform, and no money for travel.
She said the sense of anonymity she felt at that tournament continued when she joined the women’s professional tennis tour, playing at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the French, German, and Italian championships along with other trailblazers, such as Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, and Maria Bueno, and later with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
“I am humbled that my school has recognized me after all these years, and has embraced athletics as part of its on-campus experience,” said Levy, who served the United Nations in both Geneva and in New York City for many years.
Barbara Morry Fraumeni ’72 competed in the first women’s national championship in 1966 as part of a Seattle club before she became a member of the Lake Washington Rowing Club (LWRC).
“In my day, women were not supposed to row,” she said. She recalled that some male members of the LWRC tried to block her team’s participation in the 1969 nationals, and that U.S. rowing officials did not want women rowers to compete in the Olympics.
Despite such opposition, Fraumeni continued to row because she appreciated the beauty of the sport, which she described as “the peace, hearing the sounds of the oars, the slide, the boat, and watching the patterns of the oars and the boat as it skimmed through the water with every stroke.”
She won five national lightweight rowing championships between 1967 and 1969 and later served as an alternate on the U.S. women’s national team.
“I thank Wellesley for this honor,” said Fraumeni, who met several members of Wellesley’s 2016 U.S .Women’s Rowing Championship crew team the night before the induction. “I could not have wished for a better time to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame.”
Jessica Gosnell ’90 served as a captain for both the field hockey and lacrosse teams, was an All-Seven Sisters selection in field hockey in 1989, and received multiple regional and national All-American honors and NEW8 (NEWMAC) All-Conference selections for lacrosse.
One of her favorite athletic memories, she said, is from a field hockey tournament, where the score was tied and they were going to penalty shots. The goalie was in her place, Gosnell was in hers, and the official blew the whistle. Gosnell had several seconds to take her shot; she counted to three slowly in her head, and at the last moment quickly took a shot. The ball went into the net, and the goalie never moved.
“We athletes all have these ‘glory days’ from the past, but for me, the technique [of] creating that feeling of inner calm seemed profound, and I have always remembered it. I summon it quite a bit now in my job as a surgeon,” she said. “I am so thankful I was able to be part … of a such a special place as Wellesley.”
Ann S. Batchelder, professor emerita of PERA, was one of the top five squash players in the country and the top-ranked player in Massachusetts when she was hired in 1970 to build a squash program and teach various sports at Wellesley. Back then, squash was new to many Americans, and none of her students at the College had held a racquet, she said.
Batchelder emphasized that anyone could improve her athletic performance by learning proper skills, and she incorporated tactics and strategy into students’ games. Many students and alumnae praised that approach, including one young alumna who wrote that she “had had no problem presenting a project in front of her company’s board because she ‘had learned to think quickly and critically on the squash court at Wellesley,’” said Batchelder.
“To be recognized by induction into the Wellesley College Athletics Hall of Fame is the capstone to my career,” said Batchelder, who received the Wellesley Community Service Award in 1996 and the Friend of Athletics Linda K. Vaughan Exceptional Service Award in 2015. She continues to be actively involved with the department, lending her support to the annual Ann S. Batchelder Invitational at Nehoiden Golf Club.
The Wellesley Athletics Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2014 with the induction of 10 alumnae-athletes and four Women of Inspiration. Nominations for the 2018 class can be made online.