An independent Catholic school for young women in grades 7-12

Glass keepsake with green "Ursuline Athletic Hall of Fame"
UA Communications

Saturday, April 9 was a pivotal moment for the Ursuline Academy athletic program, as more than 150 former athletes and their families, friends, and school administration gathered to pay tribute to the first round of inductees into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.  One entire team and eight individuals were honored for their outstanding commitment to and achievement in Ursuline athletics, as well as for their traits of sportsmanship and leadership.  Each inductee was presented with an engraved glass sculpture, and the members of the 2005 state championship basketball team were awarded a framed section of the original hardwood floor from Ursuline’s former gymnasium where they played.

The ceremony, falling in Ursuline’s year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary since its founding, served as a capstone to the proud history of Ursuline athletics.  Over the decades since its founding, Ursuline has seen the athletic program grow in leaps and bounds.  Starting with a modest intramural basketball program in the 1950’s, the school expanded the program steadily, adding more sports through the following decades.  Currently, the school offers a total of fourteen different sports, most with teams at the varsity and JV levels.  Over 70% of the student body participates in at least one sport each year, and the school boasts a strong winning record, proven out by its earning the Singelais Award in 2018, 2019, and 2020 for having the highest winning record in the all-girls’ schools division.  The school takes as much pride in consistently being awarded the MIAA sportsmanship award as it does its winning record.

The teams and individuals inducted into the Class of 2022 Hall of Fame are:

The 2005 State Champion Basketball Team - Entered the Division 4 state tournament as an underdog, and emerged as state champions. Inductees included Betsy Brennan, Caitlin Burchill, Kathleen Porter Garro, Molly Griffiths, Jaclyn Hourihan, Meghan Lawrie Jaeger, Elizabeth Montgomery Jenson, Margaret Keaveny, Rebecca Aha Lay, Juli McDonald, Katherine Nickley, Katie O’Malley, Nicole Norton Vermillion, John DePasquale (Coach), Lynne Smith (Assistant Coach), and Mike Trotta (Assistant Coach). 

Coach John Forte P’06 - Ursuline Academy’s varsity soccer coach for 17 years with a record of 186 wins, 106 losses, and 32 ties. While coaching for Ursuline, John has been awarded the 2018-2019 MIAA Girls Soccer Coach of the Year, coached his team to the 2013 Division 4 South Championship, and was named 2012 Boston Globe Division 3 Coach of the Year

Kristan Gately ‘91 - State champion on the swim and dive team during her years at Ursuline; 50-freestyle state champion in ‘88, ‘89, and ’90; 100-freestyle state champion in ‘88 and ’90; 200-freestyle relay state champion in ’90; and 400-freestyle relay state champion in ’90. As a senior, she helped the team to an undefeated 11-0 season, winning the league, taking second place at sectionals, and fourth place at states.

Molly Griffiths ‘07 - Four-year varsity basketball starter and two-time captain for Ursuline. She also played varsity softball and ran outdoor track. Griffiths scored an incredible 1500 points and had over 1200 rebounds, graduating as UA’s all-time scoring leader. In 2005, she led the team to its first state championship in school history. She was also chosen as a Boston Herald All-Scholastic her senior year. 

Coach Marisol Rios Henderson -  Began coaching at Ursuline Academy in 2008 as the junior varsity soccer coach, and continued in this role for the next 5 years. She then moved on to the varsity lacrosse position from 2012 to 2016, and from 2018 to present, also filling in as junior high soccer coach in 2015.

Susan Katchpole ‘70 (posthumous) - Returned to Ursuline Academy after playing semi-professional softball to coach and teach physical education for four years from 1974-78, where she helped develop the school’s athletic program at a time when girls’ sports were just coming into their own. She inspired young women to become leaders, and instilled in them the values of integrity, courage, and the importance of creating solid relationships. 

Katherine Kenney ‘11 - Varsity member of the Ursuline swim team for 5 years, from 8th to12th grade. She competed in the state tournament every year, scored hundreds of points, and was an invaluable member of the team.  

Elaine Pagliarulo ‘93 - Standout member and captain of UA’s varsity basketball, soccer, and softball teams. Among her many accolades during her high school career are softball Catholic Conference All-Star, basketball Catholic Conference All-Star, three-time Catholic Conference basketball leading scorer, four-time Dedham Daily Transcript Basketball All-Star, and first player in Ursuline history to score 1,000 points. 

Caitlin Murphy Valair ‘03 - Member of the varsity swimming, basketball, and softball teams as an eighth-grader. On the swim team, she competed in four different events, was captain her senior year, led the team to a championship in 2002, and earned three Daily News Transcript All-Star awards and Southern Swim Conference All-Star recognitions. In basketball, Caitlin was named captain of the varsity team as a freshman. The third Ursuline player to reach the 1,000-point mark, Caitlin led both Ursuline and the local area in points, assists, and steals per game. She was named MVP all four years and was a four-time Catholic Conference All-Star. On the softball field, Caitlin was named the Daily News Transcript All-Star as an eighth-grader, and continued to receive this award all four years of high school.

It is with great pride that Ursuline Academy has inducted a truly superb Class of 2022 into the Hall of Fame, and we are thankful for the contributions they have made to their school.  With the support of our community, alumnae and parents, Ursuline will continue to coach young women of strong character who are successful on and off the field.