SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee is proud to announce that eight individuals have been chosen as the newest class in the Mount Holyoke Athletics Hall of Fame. The Class of 2015 consists of Barbara Cassani ’82, Cheryl Daley Williams ’94, Michele Drolet ’76, Ruth Elvedt ’55, Krista Lindquist ’03, Robert and Maril O’Malley and Olga Sacasa-Cruz ’84.
“I am thrilled to welcome this second class into our Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Lori Hendricks, Director of Athletics at Mount Holyoke. “These accomplished individuals imagined possibility and reset expectations for girls and women in sport. From Ruth Elvedt’s pioneering work in outdoor recreation to Barbara Cassani’s more recent success with the London Olympics, we see Mount Holyoke and Mary Lyon’s legacy. Where challenges existed, these inductees saw opportunities. Their stories celebrate the human spirit and affirm the belief that one person can make a difference.”
A successful business woman, Cassani is a regular speaker and commentator on leadership and management across the globe, backed by her experiences in the airline sector and winning the 2012 Summer Olympic bid. She served as Chairman and Vice-Chair of the group that secured the Olympic and Paralympic bid for London – a site that was recognized as being the Olympics with the largest number of women participants with over 40% of the 10,500 athletes being female. Cassani also served as Chief Executive of Go Airline – a subsidiary of British Airways, and was later named chairman of the board at Vueling Airlines and Jurys Inn Hotels. An avid horse rider, Cassani is also a former trustee of Mount Holyoke.
Daley Williams was the first track and field athlete to earn All-American status at Mount Holyoke – finishing top eight in the country for Division III – with her fourth-place finish in the 100-meter race at the 1992 NCAA Outdoor Division III Track & Field Championships. She earned that same recognition in the 55-meters during the 1994 Indoor Championships as well. Daley Williams was also a member of the only Lyons’ relay team to qualify for Nationals, appearing in 1994. A combined seven-time New England Division III Champion in a variety of events, Daley Williams held the Mount Holyoke record in the 100-meter race (12.32) until it was eclipsed in 2013.
The first American woman – in the Olympics or Paralympics – to win a cross country skiing medal, Drolet became legally blind as an infant, but didn’t let that stop her from achieving great feats. She won a bronze medal at the 1994 Winter Paralympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, posting a time in the 5k freestyle that was just 30 seconds shy of the silver medal. Drolet has gone on to continue helping others with disabilities, serving as the manager of community relations for The Seeing Eye, Inc., a guide dog training school in Morristown, N.J., for a number of years.
Elvedt, who was known by classmates and colleagues as ‘Elvie,’ was a member of the Mount Holyoke Athletics Department for 38 years. In addition to serving as the Assistant Chairwoman of the department, she was a teacher and a coach with expertise in canoeing, skiing and also golf. The class sponsor for the Class of 1955, she also served as a consultant to the American Red Cross, the Massachusetts State Department of Education and several Olympic development committees. For her work, Elvedt was honored by the Orchards Women’s Golf Association for her service to the sport, as well as by the Red Cross for her work in aquatic rehabilitation.
One of the all-time greats in MHC field hockey history, Lindquist was a captain and four-year starter for the Lyons – having never missed a game in her career. The three-time All-Conference and All-Region selection held nearly every offensive record upon graduation and continues to rank among the best. She is currently third in both career goals scored (60) and points (143), as well as seventh in career assists (23). Earning numerous academic honors, including the highly regarded Student-Athlete Award given by the MHC Athletic Director, Lindquist went on to graduate from veterinary school. She now works at Branch Equine Veterinary Services, which is a large ambulatory practice for horses, camelids and small ruminants in Maine.
Robert and Maril O’Malley played a critical role in the establishment and continued success in the Mount Holyoke rowing program. Together with a group of friends, Dr. and Mrs. O’Malley established the Friends of Rowing – a group that has raised money for a number of efforts, including the program’s first head coach, equipment and the state-of-the-art boathouse to which the Lyons’ team calls home. The O’Malley’s support, which remained throughout all the transition and changes of the program, continues today via the O’Malley Endowed Equipment Fund, which helps maintain the team’s fleet as one of the best in all of NCAA Division III.
The first female to represent Nicaragua in the sport of cycling, Sacasa-Cruz finished 16th overall in the inaugural women’s 3,000-meter individual pursuit at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. For a short time, she was the Olympic record holder in that inaugural event. Sacasa-Cruz faced a number of hardships during her career, the least of which was harassment by male team members. Her cycling career was cut short by a horrific training accident, but Sacasa-Cruz went on to become a physical therapist, having opened many doors of opportunity for female Olympians in the sport of cycling.
The 2015 Class will be inducted at Mount Holyoke’s Hall of Fame Gala, which will be held during Family & Friends Weekend on October 24. Tickets for the induction ceremony are available for purchase through the Department of Athletics. To request a ticket application, contact Cathy Smelcer by phone at (413) 538-2310 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.