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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, June 16, 2024

Introducing the 2024 Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame inductees

Seven athletes and one team will be honored in a ceremony on June 7.

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The 2023 Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame medals are pictured. This year’s ceremony will be held June 7.

Tufts Athletics announced on Feb. 21 that seven new athletes as well as one team will form the fifth class of the Hall of Fame. They will be inducted on June 7 in a ceremony at Gillette Stadium.

“This honor means a tremendous amount to me and is a testament to all of the support I have had in my tennis career. My family, coaches, friends, and teammates shaped me into the tennis player and person worthy of such an honor. I was and will always be proud to have played tennis as a Tufts Jumbo,” Julia Browne (LA’11), one of this year’s inductees, wrote in an email to the Daily.

Browne was a seven-time All-American across singles and doubles during her Tufts career. She took home the 2010 Division III singles title, winning six matches, all of them in straight sets. She went 31–3 in her championship season, and won the ITA Arthur Ashe Award in 2010, which recognizes not only performance on the court but also sportsmanship, leadership and academic excellence.

Beyond her dominance on the court, Browne is grateful to Tufts tennis for introducing her to lifelong friends.

Courtesy Julia Browne

Julia Browne prepares to hit her serve.

“It has been special to not only have our college memories connecting us but also the new memories we have made as we have moved through new chapters of our lives. I am forever grateful to Coach for recruiting such an amazing group of teammates and creating an environment that allowed us to develop strong relationships with each other,” Browne wrote.

Those connections were present on the court during Browne’s career. When asked what her favorite memory from her career was, she cited a contest against Bowdoin in which she lost her match but witnessed her teammates come back to secure the team victory.

They fought so hard, and slowly but surely, both of them started to turn around their matches. Between points they would look at each other and cheer. In the end, both of them came up big and won their matches to give us the team victory 54,” Browne wrote. It remains the most powerful team comeback I’ve ever been part of and an example of how college tennis is most importantly about the team.”

Sailor Betsy Gelenitis Alison (LA’81) will also be honored in June. A three-year captain, she was Tufts sailing’s first female All-American in 1981. In college, she won two U.S. Women’s Singlehanded Championships in 1979 and 1981. After her college career, she won nine world titles across various disciplines and coached the U.S. Paralympic Team for over 20 years. She is a five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and a member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame.

Bill Gehling (A’74) was not only a standout soccer player but also an influential coach and administrator at Tufts. Gehling ranks second in school history with 39 goals and 101 points. He later became the first head coach of the women’s soccer team at Tufts in 1979, and led the program to 165 wins over a 20-year tenure. As athletic director, he saw Tufts athletics win eight national titles in 16 years.

Sprinter Basil Ince (A’59) was successful both at the collegiate level and also nationally as a representative of his native Trinidad and Tobago. In his junior year, Ince took home first in the 100, 200 and 440-meter dashes at the Eastern Intercollegiate Championships. The next season, he went undefeated in dual meets in the 100, 200 and 440 outdoors as well as the 600 indoors. At the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago, Ince won silver in the 400 and was a member of the gold medal-winning 4x400 relay team. He later served as a senator in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago from 1981 to 1986.

Shawntell Manning (LA’96), also a sprinter, was an eight-time All-American across the indoor and outdoor seasons as well as a five-time regional champion. These five titles included indoor and outdoor titles in the 400-meter dash in both 1994 and 1995, as well as a 200-meter dash outdoor title in 1995. She won the Hester B. Sergeant award in 1996 as the most outstanding female athlete at Tufts after winning the NCAA Indoor title in the 400 meters.

Pitcher Jeff Taglienti (LA’97) was the Jumbos’ baseball ace from 1994–97. His 258 career strikeouts and 274 innings pitched are both school records, as is his single-season strikeout mark of 86 in 1997. Meanwhile, his 2.00 career ERA and 27 career wins rank second and third Tufts baseball history, respectively. He was a seventh round selection by the Boston Red Sox in the 1997 MLB draft, and he pitched for six years in the minor leagues in the Red Sox, Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds organizations.

David Thompson (E’62) was a two-sport athlete, excelling in both football and track and field. Serving as a captain of both teams, he was an All-American and All-East honoree as a tackle in football and won a New England championship in hurdles, while also competing in the broad jump and dash events. He received the Clarence “Pop” Houston Award as the most outstanding male athlete and the Bennett Memorial Scholarship for his sportsmanship. Furthermore, he received national recognition as a recipient of the National Football Foundation award in 1961 for both his athletic and academic achievements.  

The 2015 softball team will also be honored in Foxborough. The team went 51–0 en route to their third consecutive Division III national championship and fourth straight NESCAC title. They shut out their opponents in 30 of those 51 games. Senior pitcher Allyson Fournier led the Jumbos, posting an otherworldly 0.26 ERA over 209 and two thirds innings. She struck out 423 of the 736 batters she faced, allowed only ten extra-base hits all season, and pitched 24 shutouts.

All of these athletes have undoubtedly reflected extremely well on the university, but they’ve also learned from their experience as athletes.

“Being a Tufts tennis player taught me about commitment, hard work, and collaboration, all of which have served me well in my life after college,” Browne wrote. “I learned that being part of a team both in my professional and personal lives, is critical for my own happiness and success.”