Volleyball started at Summit School in 1935. However, it would not be until 1970 that the program was offered to girls on a yearly basis. The program has produced talented alumnae including a number who have gone on to play at the Division I level in college. In addition, the program has won numerous conference championships.
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- Ann Luyten Dieperink '53
- Penelope Stout Shanks '58
- Jane Davis Bennett '59
- Hilary Raudenbush Magnuson '59
Ann Luyten Dieperink '53 was a talented multi-sport athlete while at Summit School. She was captain of the girls' basketball team for three years, captain of the volleyball team one year, played field hockey, and was an impressive tennis player. In addition, Ann was the Vice-President of the Summit Girls Athletic Association during the 1950-51 year.
During the 1950-51 field hockey season, Ann and the team defeated Northrop 5-0 and defeated St. Mary's Hall 5-4 in their annual competition. During her junior year, Ann and her classmates defeated the sophomore team 7-0 and tied St. Mary's 2-2.
In tennis, Ann teamed up with Laura Floan Boone '53 to win the doubles championship in the annual Summit intramural tournament against fellow classmates during their freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior years. The duo would also travel to play at the Rochester Invitational, the St. Paul Tennis Club and other private clubs in the Twin Cities by invitation. The impressive teamwork and skills that the two showed on the court was noted in The Flame for multiple years. In addition, Ann was a multi-year singles champion on the tennis court throughout her time at Summit School.
Penelope “Penny” Stout Shanks '58 played field hockey and basketball, but was renowned for her tennis skills during her time at Summit School. At Summit, Penny served as the volleyball team captain and played second singles for the St. Paul Tennis Club, winning the Jr. Whiteman State Tennis Cup in 1957. She was also selected as one of five Widjiwagan campers for their Voyageurs canoe trip in 1957.
Penny attended Middlebury College where she was on the varsity field hockey, volleyball, and softball teams for four years and spent three years on the varsity basketball team. She was also a member of the Middlebury Alpine Ski Team her freshman year. In her words “I was practicing the giant slalom with the team before a meet, I made a turn around a pole, my skis didn’t catch the snow, and I flew off a high cliff. I ended up knocked out and hanging by my stomach over a tree trunk. After this, I decided to ski for fun and to play varsity basketball.”
After graduating from Middlebury, Penny moved to Winchendon, Massachusetts to teach English at Murdock High School. She also competed in the Women’s Volleyball League and was named MVP in 1963. Following a brief return to Minnesota where she taught at Summit School, Penny and her husband moved to Keene, New Hampshire where she taught at Keene High School for twenty years, and was awarded the New England Association of Teachers of English Outstanding Teacher Award in 1997.
In Keene, she was a member of the Racquet Club, and was selected to play doubles against other teams in New Hampshire and Vermont, compiling a 21-5 record. She also played second base for ten years for the Keene Fast Pitch Softball League, compiling an impressive .400 batting average each year, leading the team in stolen bases and runs scored, and helped her team to state titles in 1980, 1984, and 1985, and went on to play in two national tournaments where her team placed third in 1985.
Penny also served as the field hockey and softball coach for fifteen years while at Keene High School. In 1986, the varsity softball team won the only state title Keene softball has won to date and lost in overtime in their second state title game in 1989. Penny and her team were honored in 1989 with a letter from the New Hampshire House of Representatives recognizing their hard work and dedication.
Jane Davis Bennett played field hockey, volleyball, and basketball while attending Summit School.
As a member of the field hockey team, Jane was part of a talented sophomore class which claimed the field hockey intramural championship during the 1956-57 year. As seniors two years later, Jane and the team were once again the champions with a 3-0 win during the 1958-59 year.
In volleyball, Jane and the sophomores defeated the freshmen team 28-26 in the volleyball intramural tournament before losing to the juniors 22-19 in the championship. During her junior year, Jane helped her class to a narrow win before losing the championship to the seniors in another close match. The team would go on to defeat the Northrop junior class 23-21 during the Summit-Northrop Play Day on February 12, 1958.
In basketball, once again, Jane and the sophomore team were dominant and defeated the juniors 26-5 and the seniors 31-9 to claim the intramural basketball championship. As juniors, Jane and the team not only won the intramural basketball tournament with a 25-6 win in the championship, but also defeated St. Mary's Hall when the team came to play Summit.
Jane excelled on the tennis court regularly winning statewide invitational tournaments in Rochester, MN with her doubles partner Hilary Raudenbush Magnuson '59. She was also an exceptional alpine skier.
Widely regarded as the best athlete in her class, Jane would have thrived in the post-Title IX era, which passed thirteen years after her graduation. Jane stated in an interview that “If Title IX had been in place when I was in school it would have meant everything to me. I would have pursued every athletic opportunity to the fullest. I would have wanted to do it all.”
A four sport athlete during her time at Summit School, Hilary Raudenbush Magnuson '59 has been an athlete her entire life. Her nominators, Fritz Magnuson '66, Mike Brown '66, and Ann Dieperink '53 say she was known for her talents and tenacity on the tennis court.
Introduced to field hockey, volleyball, basketball, and tennis by Maxine (“Gunny”) Gunsolly at Summit School, Hilary was part of a talented class of athletes, including her doubles partner Janie (Davis) Bennett '59. The two put together a number of impressive performances, going undefeated an impressive six years, and Hilary would go on to win the singles tournament hosted by the school her senior year.
Hilary attended Smith College where she competed in volleyball, basketball, tennis, fencing, squash, crew, and her favorite soccer. She would be named to the varsity teams for tennis, basketball, and soccer and given the competition limitations before Title IX, the teams competed between grades and dorm houses. In 1963, Hilary was one of four seniors to be awarded the coveted “S PIN” in recognition of dedication to the athletic program and other areas of school life.
Hilary returned to St. Paul Academy and Summit School as a teacher in 1983 and was a member of the Lower School faculty until her retirement in 2004. During this time, she established a summer tennis program which grew to include over eighty students. Hilary would also work with the Lower School Athletic Director, Geri Meyer, to start a jump rope club to help students prepare for the annual Jump-A-Thon in support of the American Heart Association, and partnered with Dr. Tim Elchert to coach the Lower School’s co-ed soccer program for a number of years. Geri and Hilary also worked to include line dancing and step aerobics into the conditioning mini courses which were regularly demonstrated during Lower School Open Houses. Her lifelong passion for athletics has had a significant impact on the entire SPA community.