Trailblazers and record makers: The 2022 inductees into Brooks School's Athletics Hall of Fame are standouts whose achievements still impress decades after their glory days on campus.
During a special ceremony during Homecoming on October 1, Director of Athletics Roberta Crump Burbank will honor them: Ginger Walsh Cobb '83, Alex Skinner '08 and the 1982-1983 girls 1st lacrosse team, by inducting each into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame. The recognition, established to honor those individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the quality and tradition of Brooks School athletics, is well deserved.
1982-1983 girls 1st lacrosse team
Ginger Walsh Cobb '83 (captain), Alexandra G. Abbott '85, Courtnay O. Duchin '86, Circe Dunnell '84, Jennifer Gooch Hummer '83, Courtney O. Hayes '83, Tracy E. Kinney '85, Carolee Levick Hazard '84, Susan P. McDonald '83, Margaret Sands Witham '84, Wickie Smith Rowland '85, Mary-Priscilla Stevens '83, Andrea van Beuren '83, Elizabeth R. Wheeler '84 and Tory Wright Morton '84 were one of Brooks earliest and most successful teams with an undefeated season 13-0 followed by an ISL championship win. That season, they earned the most goals in the league.
"The dedication and commitment towards winning and playing our very best, not only as teammates but as individuals, was powerful to be a part of, especially as a 16-year-old," recalls Abbott. "In 1983, the school had only been co-ed for five years. As the season was coming to an end, it was clear that we were making history and showing the community our strength as young women."
The team experience gave Abbott lifelong skills, as well. "Every Friday night before a Saturday game, we would meet on the lacrosse field, sit in a large circle and talk as a team about any issues or problems that we had as individuals and players," she shared. "I remember thinking how incredible it was to be a part of something so communicative and supportive. It taught me a very valuable life skill that I have utilized throughout my life and career. This power of open communication allowed our team to work more efficiently and help us focus."
Leadership from the sixth-form players "fostered a true sense of team that proved unbeatable," then-coach Dusty Richards told The Eagle in 1983. "That they never lost was unusual. That they played always with pose and dignity was singular. They made a dour, dark and rainy spring sunny, bright and lively. In all, they experienced the best of what sports are all about."
Ginger Walsh Cobb '83
Serving as captain of this honored girls 1st lacrosse team for three years, Cobb was a change-maker for the team who was also changed by the experience. "The 1983 lacrosse season holds some of my best memories at Brooks," she recently reminisced. "As a team, we dedicated and committed ourselves to excellence but we also knew how to have fun and not take ourselves too seriously. We liked being together."
Camaraderie helped during Richards' intense practices with the squad. "Dusty always pushed us to be better but what I remember being a key ingredient to our success was that we also pushed each other to be our best," said Cobb. "Playing in games in some ways felt easier than practice. That is probably why we scored the most goals in the league."
One of her "fondest memories" of the team, she said, was the way that Richards had them walk out onto the field for their games: "Two by two and in silence. It always made us feel special and that what we were doing was important. It focused us as a team for the game and made us go out there and give 100 percent."
One of Brooks' earliest female star athletes, Cobb is honored as an individual, too, for her contributions to soccer and the sport of ice hockey, as well as lacrosse. She captained the girls soccer team for two years and played ice hockey with the boys team — while advocating for the creation of a girls 1st ice hockey team. The trailblazing 1983 Athlete of the Year and Headmaster's Prize winner was "a standout on the soccer field," former faculty Nick Evangelos said of Cobb.
"Frankly, all one has to do is to have a ten-minute conversation with this wonderful young lady to get the feel of the type of 'person who makes a difference,'" former Assistant Headmaster Richard Holmes is recorded as noting.
Cobb continues to make an impact, in athletics and education today. The Denison University graduate and former Brooks trustee currently serves as the head of the upper school at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, where she was also named to the St. Andrew's Athletics Hall of Fame for her longtime, successful coaching of the girls lacrosse and soccer teams.
Alex Skinner '08
Tennis title-holder and basketball powerhouse Alex Skinner "has played a profound role in Brooks athletics both as a student and coach/faculty member inspiring young athletes," his sister Abby Skinner '14 wrote in her Hall of Fame nomination for Alex — not that she needed to remind the Brooks School community. Skinner's records stand for themselves.
While captain of the tennis team during his sixth form, Skinner's singles record of 17-1 helped him maintain a USTA ranking in the top 30 for New Englanders under 18. He was Brooks' first New England Class A Prep School Singles Champion — "Likely the only Brooks tennis player ever to accomplish this," said coach Doug Burbank — as well as its' first Boston Globe All-Scholastic awardee for the league's best player.
A three-time All-ISL player, Skinner was named Eagle-Tribune All-Star, and received the 2008 Moynihan Lumber Student-Athlete Award and the FDA Athletic Award.
Then there are his basketball achievements. While captaining Brooks' team, he averaged 19.1 points per game and was selected for 2008 Eagle Tribune Basketball Super Team.
After Brooks, Skinner went on to play D-1 tennis at Boston College, where he ranked first in the Northeast with doubles partner Akash Muppidi during his senior year. He received the Boston College Leadership Award 2011-2012, as well as the Athletics Director's Award for Academic Achievement and has been inducted into the school's tennis Hall of Fame.
"His dedication extended not only to his teams but to Brooks as a whole, demonstrated by his return to Brooks for nine years post-college to work in admission and eventually as the director of physical wellness, while coaching tennis, basketball and squash teams throughout the years," Abby Skinner detailed.
Indeed, while the honoree continues to play (in the Boston Pro Tennis League) and coach (as the director of tennis at Spark Fitness and Tennis Club in Andover, Mass.), he also continues to give back to Brooks — most recently by serving as the boys head tennis coach.
Local to campus? Please join us for Homecoming on October 1, when the Brooks School community will honor these outstanding athletes, and recognize their Hall of Fame induction with a ceremony and celebration luncheon. Visit the Homecoming page for full details.
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