This year for the first time, Brooks School celebrated its Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony during Homecoming, and the 80 alumni from across the country who returned to campus got to enjoy celebrating it and all the activities during "a perfect fall day," said Carly Churchill '10, associate director of alumni relations.
Typically held during Alumni Weekend in the spring, Homecoming 2018 kicked off on September 29 in true community spirit with an information session for alumni volunteers from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The twenty-odd attendees to the meeting learned about ways to be more involved in Brooks and talked with Alumni Board members about Brooks' volunteer program of class agents, class correspondents and reunion committee among other opportunities.
Alumni interested in volunteering to support Brooks can still join in: Visit our volunteer page and let us know your interests.
"Reconnecting back on campus is really special," said Churchill. "Of course our receptions in various cities are an excellent way to hear how the school is doing and reconnect with alumni, but there is nothing like actually stepping foot back on campus. Seeing all of the buildings, and being out at the fields on a bluebird fall day feels really special. It's just fun to be at Brooks truly going down memory lane!"
And after lunch — in the midst of the current student-athletes' nine games on campus against Groton School — that's exactly what alumni did. Gathered by the turf field under a tent at 3:30 p.m., Brooks inducted four individuals and one team to our Athletics Hall of Fame with a laughter-filled ceremony highlighted by speeches of thanks and fond memories.
Hall of Fame inductees: first row, from left: Ellie Logan, Chelsey Feole, Charlie Davies, Jen Russell, with 2002 girls soccer coach Bob Morahan; the 2002 soccer team, middle row: Kate Lombard, Kaylan Tildsley Alderson, Megan Russell, Cailly Carroll, Nicole Lonero; back row: Jaime Gilbert, Delia Rissmiller, Emily Schwarz Begen, Casey O'Donnell, Lauren Young Fink.
Director of Athletics Roberta Crump-Burbank P'11 introduced each of the five honorees: Charlie Davies '04, Chelsey Feole '06, Ellie Logan '06, Jen Russell '06, and the 2002 Girls 1st soccer team. "Today, in addition to highlighting the enormous number of athletic accomplishments of each inductee while at Brooks, I also hope to be able to share a glimpse into what they have meant to their teammates, their coaches, and their school," said Burbank, "and why we are indeed so honored to have them all here with us, together."
View an album of photos from the fun event at brooksschoolphotos.com.
Charlie Davies '04
With a stellar excellent soccer and wrestling record, retired soccer pro and 2008 Olympian Davies "had that star quality from the first days of his third-form year," Burbank said his former coach Dusty Richard recalled. Davies was named to the ISL All-League team three times during his Brooks years, and received the league's Most Valuable Player award as a sixth-former. His team won the ISL in 2003, and had an overall record of 19-1, 15-0 in the ISL, as well as a Richard M. Gummere Cup and New England Class A Championship win. "Charlie set both the single season and career scoring records in the ISL that still stand and may never be broken," according to Richard. "But what I remember most was the sheer joy he always exuded in playing and, particularly, scoring. Charlie was fun to coach and inherently challenged us as coaches and his teammates to be better every day." Davies' wrestling record isn't too shabby either: he is a three-time ISL champion and three-time New England champion.
Stepping up to the podium to accept his award, Davies, thanked his coaches and the school for helping him succeed. "From the get go, I had my classmates, my teammates, just accept me for who I was and made me feel comfortable ... and those are the things I'll never forget," he said, holding one of his young twin sons in his arms. Coach Richard "really encouraged me and he gave me that love and support I needed to grow," he added, before thanking Head of School John Packard. "He was the teacher and coach who taught me how to be disciplined and how to act and pushed me at the same time and for that I will always be in gratitude for everything that you've done for me," said Davies. "It's honestly, I'm trying to keep it together, but you mean a lot to me and I'm very thankful for everything."
Davies went on to play soccer at Boston College and then professionally for the Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution, but he concluded his remarks noting that his time on Great Pond Road gave him much more than sports success. "Brooks is more than just athletics," he said. "I think that's what I learned coming here. It's the relationships that you make that will last a lifetime."
Chelsey Feole '06
Fellow honoree Feole echoed that sentiment in her remarks. "I came to Brooks blindingly unaware that my life would be so amazingly impacted by this incredible school," she said accepting her award. "I could speak for hours about what Brooks meant to me, social life, dorm life, relationships with teachers, my experiences in different musical groups ... I'm not shy at all when I express my love for Brooks and my sincere gratitude for my time at this school. Brooks truly was the most meaningful experience of my life."
The only inductee who didn't play on a national team, Feole joked, "clearly sharing this honor with these three is pretty incredible for me."
But it was her incredible talent that set her apart in all three sports that she played at Brooks: field hockey, basketball and softball. "During her three years here, she earned nine varsity letters and helped lead her teams to three New England Championships, two ISL Championships and one Big East Softball Invitational title," Burbank said Feole's softball coach Andrea Heinze reported. "That's six championships in nine seasons!"
Feole earned ISL All-League honors during all three seasons she played field hockey for Brooks and was the League's Most Valuable Player in her fifth form, when the team won their first New England Championship in program history. The following year she clinched New England Tournament MVP honors and helped the team to a second New England Tournament. Today, the former Boston College player turned coach, at UMass Lowell, continues to live and breathe field hockey, as the founder and director of NorthEast Elite Field Hockey.
"Chelsey is so much more than the honors and accomplishments," Heinze reflected. "What I remember most about Chelsey is her selfless, positive attitude, her competitive spirit, and her loyalty to her teammates. The team always came first. She was a leader on and off the field."
Ellie Logan '06
Three-time gold medal winning Olympic rower Logan was announced next. Crump-Burbank shared remarks about Logan — whose boat in her fourth- and fifth-form years finished first at the NEIRA Regatta, and went on to win the US Rowing Junior National Championship — from her former crew coach Sally Morris.
"Beneath all these memories of a cheerful, outgoing person, however, is a much more serious one of a thoughtful, intelligent, introspective, driven young woman who made every team better for her presence," Morris recalled. "She could be the strongest, the tallest, the fastest, but she always remained just a part of the team, no turning the attention to herself. Her humility is admirable, and she is the consummate boat-mate, who finds the perfect blend between working for and with her crew and driving herself to new heights."
Logan also played with Feole and Russell on Brooks' basketball team, winning the ISL and New England Class B Championships twice. She was also personally named NEPSAC All-Star and a New England Tournament Most Valuable Player. And after ascending to the podium to accept her award, Logan joked that unlike Feole, who'd earlier mentioned not recalling specific games from her Brooks days, she recalled every bit of the team's championship game her sixth-form year "because my dad still has the CD-Rom [of it]... and we watch it every Thanksgiving."
The idea that she's known for being hardworking and humble "is funny to hear," though, Logan went on to say, getting serious toward the end of her speech to the Hall of Fame crowd. "I remember just burned in my brain that season I was in the second boat ... that I thought I deserved to be in the first boat," she said. "And Mrs. Morris said, 'No, you don't deserve that. You have proven nothing.' That has been etched into my brain my whole rowing career. That even though I'm tall, I'm strong and I had the ability to do it, it was up to me to go out and earn it. And I think about that every single morning and in my three cycles on the Olympic team."
Jen Russell '06
Russell was the last individual to be inducted, but certainly not the least. A three-sport 1st team player, and four-time captain, in soccer, basketball and lacrosse, Russell was awarded the sixth-form Athletic Prize and the Frank D. Ashburn Athletic award alongside Feole at Prize Day in 2006. "The accomplishments that she saw in each of her three sports were unparalleled," said Crump-Burbank.
Detailing her successes, Crump-Burbank noted that Russell was part of the undefeated 2002 soccer team also being inducted to the Hall of Fame (and was individually recognized as an ISL All-League player three times) and the winning basketball team with Feole and Logan. She was a three-time ISL All League honoree herself, as well as a three-time NEPSAC All Star.
In lacrosse, Russell earned ISL All League honors three times with her ISL 2004, 2005 and 2006 Champion teams, was named ISL League MVP and a two-time first team All American. Crump-Burbank shared that Dean of Faculty John McVeigh (who was an assistant coach for the girls lacrosse team when Russell was at Brooks) recalled, "Jen Russell is the fiercest competitor I have ever coached in any sport! And she's an ever better kid."
After thanking her coaches, teammates and fellow inductees for the Hall of Fame recognition, Russell spent a moment talking about the way that the school encouraged her to do her best while on campus. "Brooks will always be a very special place to me," she said. "At Brooks I was fortunate to learn from some of the most intelligent, caring and driven people. Our teams won championships because of the precedent set by our coaches, the leadership exhibited by teammates, and the camaraderie felt across all sports. Throughout my athletic experience at Brooks, I learned the importance of teamwork, a strong work ethic and leadership, which I think are really important skills which I have carried throughout my athletic career [playing lacrosse for The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then for about 10 years on the U.S. National team]... I am so thankful for my time at Brooks."
Lacrosse "has provided me the opportunity to not only travel around the world playing the game that I love, but it's also given me the opportunity to teach the next generation of young female athletes valuable skills that I learned from my coaches and teammates at Brooks," she added. "But despite where the game has taken me, my most memorable athletic experiences were here at Brooks."
The 2002 Girls 1st Soccer Team
Finishing off with a tribute to the 16 soccer stars that made 2002 a banner year for girls' soccer, Crump-Burbank lauded their "impressive 17-0 record on their way to becoming ISL Champions and New England Class A Champions." The team included:
- Captains Delia Rissmiller '03 and Kate Lombard '03
- Kaylan Tildsley Alderson '03
- Emily Schwarz Begen '05
- Cailly A. Carroll '06
- Lauren Young Fink '04
- Jaime A. Gilbert '04
- Nicole E. Lonero '05
- Alexandra J. Manning '04
- Katherine A. Nickerson '04
- Casey J. O'Donnell '06
- Laura H. Phelan '04
- Vanessa R. Rathbone '04
- Jennifer A. Russell '06
- Megan E. Russell '03
- Kristin Homer Small '04
- (Jason A. Berman '06, manager; Bob Morahan, head coach)
"It's been so fun reminiscing with the whole squad about this unforgettable season," Lombard said while accepting the team's award alongside Rissmiller on stage. "...We created a bond that we've never experienced on any other team."
Rissmiller called the team "an eclectic mix of boarding and day students," and remembered her teammates as "a hardworking bunch that also loved to have fun."
And though she and her fellow players were clearly thankful for the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Rissmiller repeated a thought that the other inductees noted as well during their remarks on this milestone day.
Rather than their wins, the long-lasting friendships that the team created have been the real reward, she said. "That is one of the best parts of being a part of this team."
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