On April 1, the Camel Athletic program inducted four former student athletes into its Hall of Fame.
The impressive Class of 2016 included Gabby Petrill Beltz ’06 (Women's Ice Hockey), Lisa Kingman Forness ’81 (Gymnastics), Alex Samma ’10 (Track & Field) and Gaar Talanian ’86 (Men's Ice Hockey).
Fran Shields, the Katherine Wenk Christoffers ’45 Director of Athletics, served as the Master of Ceremonies at the event.
“This was a great night for our inductees, their families, teammates, and for the College,” Shields said. “Listening to the inductees reflect on their time here and how impactful it was on their lives reaffirms our mission.”
Gabby Petrill Beltz ’06
Petrill Beltz indisputably deserves her place among the greatest goaltenders to ever compete in collegiate hockey, ranking fifth on the NCAA all-time list with 2,969 career saves.
Recognized as an All-NESCAC selection for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, Petrill Beltz, along with her fellow Camels, made history in 2004 by earning the program’s first-ever NESCAC post-season berth. As a sophomore, she achieved the 12th highest single season save total in NCAA history, fending off 853 shots.
Petrill Beltz garnered both regional and national acclaim for her dominance in the net, which lead to profiles in USA Today and Sports Illustrated for Kids.
After receiving her undergraduate degree in Behavioral Neuroscience, she went on to earn her Master’s in Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. She’s currently a nurse anesthetist for Excela Latrobe Hospital in Latrobe, PA.
Lisa Kingman Forness ’81
Kingman Forness was a trailblazer for the Connecticut College gymnastics program.
She competed as an all-around gymnast for the college and was recognized as the program's Most Valuable Performer in each of her four seasons. During her junior year, Kingman Forness became the first gymnast from Connecticut College to qualify for the national championship. She won the gold medal on the balance beam at the 1980 regional championship and went on to compete at the national meet that same year. She qualified for the NCAA Division III Gymnastics Regional and National Championships again as a senior, placing in the top three on the balance beam at the regional meet, and finishing in the top 35 as an All-Around at the national championship.
Kingman Forness lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she serves as a Vice President and Director of Advisory Operations at Stifel Nicolaus, a full-service broker-dealer and registered investment advisor firm.
Alex Samma ’10
Samma is the greatest field event athlete to have ever competed for Connecticut College. In March of 2009, Samma secured the program’s first national crown, winning the triple jump at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championship. He went on to add two more All-America honors in that event during his career, and appeared in a total of five national championship meets.
In addition to his national crown, Samma won two New England Division III triple jump titles and one ECAC Division III crown. During the 2009 outdoor season, he bested the field of qualifiers from every Division I, II and III program in New England to take the NEICAAA triple jump title.
A native of Burkina Faso, Africa, Samma graduated as the program’s all-time leading scorer, setting school records in the indoor and outdoor triple jump, the indoor high jump, and the indoor 55-meter dash. Named as a team captain for both his junior and senior seasons, he was recognized as MVP his senior year.
After graduating, Samma went on to earn his Master's Degree in Public Health before enrolling in medical school.
Gaar Talanian '86
Talanian’s transformative leadership and talent propelled the men’s ice hockey program to the top of the ladder in the ECAC South.
With Talanian paving the way, the Camels would go on to win the ECAC South title, leading to an invitation to join the highly competitive ECAC East that would ultimately become the current NESCAC hockey league.
A two-year captain and two-time MVP, Talanian scored 30 goals, with 56 assists for a career total of 86 points. At the conclusion of his rookie season, Talanian was honored with the program's Unsung Hero Award.
During his senior season, Talanian and the Camels won the Spurrier and McCabe Tournaments for the first time in the history of the program. He was twice recognized as the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week, and the 1985-86 season kicked off a historic four-season run that culminated in the program's first-ever ECAC title in 1990.
Since graduating, Talanian has coached youth hockey, and has committed his time to a variety of other worthy causes, serving as a Relay for Life Team Captain, and volunteering with his teams at the renowned Perkins School for the Blind.