Middleburg, Va. (March 5, 2015) – Foxcroft School inducted its second class of Sports Hall of Famers Saturday and it turns out the two newest members — world-class equestrian Alison Firestone Robitaille and collegiate All-America Jacy Edelman — have a lot in common.
They are classmates (Foxcroft ‘95), grew up in the Middleburg area and attended the Hill School before entering Foxcroft. They are both mothers of young children and have demanding careers. And they are both terrific athletes who know a lot about the delicate balance between mind and body — and credit Foxcroft for teaching them that.
“Whether you are a soccer player, a tennis player, a yogi, a swimmer or equestrian — each of you knows the unique flow when your body and mind are working so exquisitely as one,” Edelman said to the large crowd filling the Mary Louise Leipheimer Gymnasium for the induction held during the annual Fox/Hound basketball game. “I want to thank Foxcroft for nurturing this balance of mind and body, of sports and academics, of an understanding heart and an inquisitive mind. And the only advice I want to share with you is to encourage you to let this motto carry you through all walks of life.”
Robitaille, a consistent force in show jumping for two decades, also pointed to Foxcroft for helping her master that mind-body juggle. As the first participant in Foxcroft’s unique Exceptional Proficiency Program, she spent the winter training in Florida while still meeting all the School’s academic requirements and being very much a part of the community. A rising star on the Grand Prix show jumping circuit, Robitaille was competing internationally by the time she graduated – with an acceptance to the University of Virginia in hand.
“Being a student while pursuing my goals as a rider taught me a lot about time management, about balancing academics and riding,” said Robitaille, who decided to forego college in favor or riding and, two years later, was named the U.S. Olympic Committee Equestrian of the Year. “I never would have been able to accomplish what I did as quickly as I did if it weren’t for Foxcroft’s program.”
What she accomplished is, as Foxcroft Head of School Catherine S. McGehee put it during the induction, “exemplary.” In 1997, Robitaille helped the U.S. Equestrian Team win the inaugural Samsung Nations’ Cup World Series; both she and her horse, Gustl P, led the series. Robitaille was the top-placed U.S. rider at 1998 World Equestrian Games and competed for the U.S. team that won a silver medal at the Pan American Games.
She has continued to be a strong and consistent force on the U.S. Grand Prix circuit ever since, even as marriage and motherhood (daughters Ava and Zoe are 5 and 3, respectively) have cut down on her travel. In 2004, Alison was an alternate for the Olympic Games and in 2012, helped the U.S. win the FEI Nations Cup in Argentina.
Edelman won the Theresa E. Shook Award (Foxcroft’s highest athletic honor) in 1995 and then became the first player at Wellesley to be named New England Women and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Rookie of the Year in two sports. She did it in field hockey and lacrosse during the 1995-96 school year.
A truly remarkable athlete, Edelman also achieved national small college All-America status in both sports – third team in field hockey (1998) and honorable mention in lacrosse (1997). She was named to NEWMAC all-conference teams seven times (four in field hockey and three in lacrosse).
Fulltime work and 20-month-old Oliver have made it more difficult but Edelman still plays field hockey when she can. On the field and in in her job as Project Coordinator of a program to put student-centered technology into a economically-diverse elementary school, she uses what she learned on Foxcroft’s athletic fields daily — and encouraged Foxcroft students to do likewise.
“It’s the traits of perseverance, grit, cooperation, leadership, problem solving, focus, and grace under pressure that developed through playing here at Foxcroft, that carried me through my college career and that I still count on every single day in my professional life,” said Edelman. “I hope you’ll each let that unique flow you cultivate in sports — or whatever your creative outlet — let that flow be your glow, your mojo, your every inner day ‘Go, go go!’”
Founded in 1914, Foxcroft is a college-preparatory boarding and day school for girls in grades 9-12.. It opened the 2014-15 school year with a student body comprised of 157 girls representing 19 states, the District of Columbia and 15 foreign countries. Nearly three-quarters of the students are boarders and about a third receive financial aid. An outstanding academic program offers 63 courses, including 14 Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. More than 80 percent of its faculty holds advanced degrees and live on campus. Members of the most recent graduating class were offered 234 acceptances and more than $1.5 million in merit scholarships by 153 colleges and universities, including Barnard, Georgetown, Michigan, Pratt, Spelman, Syracuse, Tulane, UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wesleyan.