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By Bill Sodoma
Patricia Valavanis Smith '80, a record-setting Colby basketball player and star softball pitcher as a student and an inveterate supporter of women's sports ever since, was named the C-Club Person of the Year at the club's fall dinner on Oct. 18.
As a four-year starting guard on the basketball team she set 12 individual records, was the first woman to score 1,000 career points at Colby and was a tri-captain her senior year. In softball she led the team in batting as a sophomore, won 35 games in her career as a pitcher and recorded two no-hitters. She threw 15 strikeouts in a single game and pitched a one-hit shutout against U. Maine to win the 1979 state championship. Smith graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was named Maine Woman Student Athlete of the Year by the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Today Smith remains active, playing softball in the Wakefield, Mass., recreational league (on the same team since 1986), golfing and helping coach her son's youth soccer team. The mother of 5- and 7-year-old boys, she said, "I was golfing when I was nine months pregnant-both times."
A longtime member of the Alumni Council Athletics Committee and the first woman president of the Colby C-Club, she sees at least one Colby women's basketball game each year and is thrilled by the quality of competition. "The level of play is really pretty mind-boggling," she said. And she doesn't believe the women's progress has been at the expense of men's athletics.
Smith says she is satisfied with the equity in athletics since Title IX was passed, but sees women lagging in one respect dear to her heart. "My fervent hope is that women join the C-Club. Where are all these people?" she asked, noting the discrepancy between the number of women athletes and those who stay connected to Colby athletics through the club.
At the dinner in October the C-Club also honored Christina Lavertu '02 and Katie Ward-Waller '02, captains of last year's women's crew team, received a plaque acknowledging the team's second-place finish at the national Division III championship, and Rob Saunders '05 was recognized as the first Colby student ever to win a Division I ski race outright.
For more information about joining the CClub, see www.colby.edu/alumni/c.club/
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