Play Like a Girl
Pomfret celebrated National Girls & Women in Sports Day with four remarkable alumnae.
In February, Sarah Vaillancourt ’04, Felice Mueller ’08, and Zenab Keita ’10 sat down with Kay Cowperthwait ’87 to discuss what led them to their collegiate, Olympic, and professional careers. The webinar, organized by Director of Constituent Engagement Louisa Jones, was held in recognition of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
Kay Cowperthwait '87 is a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor. She earned her BA in American Studies at Colby College. There, she captained both the varsity ice hockey team and the varsity lacrosse team, was named MVP of both teams in her junior and senior years, and received the Norman White Award for sportsmanship.
Among her many notable accomplishments, she was the first head coach of the women’s varsity lacrosse team at Stanford University. In 1997, she moved to Amherst College, where she served as the women’s head ice hockey coach, the assistant women’s lacrosse coach, and the assistant women’s golf coach. She led the 1998 lacrosse team and the 2002 golf team to national championship tournaments.
Kay has competed in endurance multi-sport races of every distance, including two Ironman Triathlons. She continues to play ice hockey, golf, and tennis. For the last 17 years, she has coached a weekly ice hockey skills clinic for girls and women in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Sarah Vaillancourt '04 is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in ice hockey. A former member of the Canadian women's national team, she has played in nearly 100 international games, scoring more than 30 goals. At Harvard, she was ranked fourth overall in the NCAA. While playing for the Montreal Stars, she became a five-time IIHF silver medalist; she won a gold medal in the 2007 IIHF World Women's Championship.
When she won the 2011 Clarkson Cup, Sarah became an unofficial member of the Triple Gold Club (the accomplishment by women is not yet officially recognized by the International Ice Hockey Federation), as she became the fourth woman to complete the trifecta: Olympic Gold, World Championship Gold, and the CWHL's Clarkson Cup.
Felice Mueller '08 earned her BA in Art and Design from the University of Michigan, where she was a four-year member of the nationally ranked varsity rowing program. There, she earned both Academic All Big 10 and First Team All Big 10 honors, and in her senior year, she was named First Team All American, Big-Ten Rowing Athlete of the Year, and Michigan’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Felice was a member of the US National Rowing Team for over ten years as both a junior and senior rower. She won a gold medal in the coxless four at the 2013 World Rowing Championships, finished fourth at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, and took bronze in the women's eights at the 2019 World Rowing Cup in Bulgaria. She is currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Michigan.
Zenab Keita '10 was a four-year member of the women’s basketball team at Yale, appearing in 88 career games for the Bulldogs. After graduating Yale, she earned her MA in Management from Wake Forest University. Her first job was with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, where she managed group sales and became the coordinator for corporate partnerships. She is currently manager of Partnership and Development with the Golden State Warriors in their brand new, state-of-the art facility in downtown San Francisco.
In 2019, Zenab was named a MadameNoir’s Woman to Know and a National Sports Forum BDSE Cohort Member. In December, she was named one of Sports Business Journal’s 2020 New Voices Under 30 for her “entrepreneurial spirit, her willingness to take risks and disrupt an industry, her conviction to lift voices to advance social causes, her talent to make an impact on an organization, and her ambition to reach greater heights in her career.”
National Girls and Women in Sports Day is celebrated in the first week of February every year. It's meant to recognize the accomplishments of female athletes, to honor their progress, and to acknowledge the continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.