VMA Hall of Fame Inducts New Members

Villa Maria’s 2021 Hall of Fame Dinner celebrated 7 distinguished members of the Villa community.

The Fidelis Award was presented to Ray and Jen Walheim P ’12 ’18 ’19.

Five athletes or coaches were recognized for their outstanding contributions to Hurricanes sports:

  • Anne Egger ’70, field hockey and basketball player
  • Mary Egger ’70, field hockey and basketball player
  • Jen Oschell Ferri ’89, field hockey, basketball, softball, and lacrosse player
  • Jenn McBride Sminkey ’88, field hockey, , and lacrosse player
  • Cathy Hay, swimming coach

Anne Egger ‘70

In our athletic department, we speak often of the fact that we exist today because of the work done by those who came before us. Anne Egger is one of the pioneers of the Villa athletic dynasty. As a student at Villa, Anne was a standout in field hockey and basketball. She played for Villa’s legendary coach, Maurene Polley. Maurene describes Anne as “a competitive, aggressive, and talented multi-sport athlete. Always willing to listen and learn. She put in the blood, sweat, and even tears required to succeed. Her ‘in-it-to-win-it’ attitude helped her receive captain and MVP honors in field hockey”. Just like all the athletes of her time, Anne also participated in all Academy League Playdays and gym shows.

After graduating from Villa Maria, Anne enrolled at West Chester State College as a Health & Physical Education major. At West Chester, Anne played 3rd and 4th team field hockey and basketball, and later served as the varsity basketball team manager under Coach Kitty Caldwell. In 1974, Anne graduated cum laude from West Chester with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education.

Anne’s love for athletics continues in her professional life as well. After graduating from West Chester, she worked at both Archbishop Prendergast and Archbishop Carroll as a Health & Physical Education teacher. At Prendie, Anne also coached field hockey and softball. Additionally, she was the Head Field Hockey Coach at St. Joseph University in 1979 and 1980. Anne then moved into the business world when she became a pharmaceutical sales representative for Barnes-Hind Hydrocurve and a district sales manager for Galderma Laboratories. Currently, Anne is a consultant for TopMD, Inc.

Anne lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and she enjoys golf and traveling whenever she can.

Mary Egger ‘70

Villa Maria boasts one of the most successful athletic programs in the state, and we know that the groundwork for that success was laid by athletes like Mary Egger. In an age where athletics is getting more and more specialized, Mary Egger is a shining example of versatility both on the field and court, as well as the classroom. Mary was described in her yearbook as having “inexhaustible verve”. That verve made her a standout on the field hockey field and the basketball court. Her coach, Maurene Polley, described her as “an athlete who was always willing to go the extra mile. Mary was a focused and committed athlete. Her consistency, good instincts, and decision-making skills made her an asset in all three sports.” As a senior, Mary was the MVP in both field hockey and basketball.

In the late sixties and early seventies, our athletes had to be well rounded and willing to participate in Academy League Playdays. Mary was no exception. Outside of field hockey and basketball, Mary played volleyball and tennis as well, but it was on the field hockey field where she excelled. Her classmates called her an “invincible hockey-ite”. Outside the classroom Mary was involved in a wide array of activities including Children of Mary, the Visual Aid Club, and the French Club.

Upon graduation from Villa Maria, Mary enrolled at West Chester State College where she played basketball on the 3rd and 4th teams during her freshman and sophomore years. She also played JV Field Hockey for Coach Greenwood in her freshman year. Mary later earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Dayton School of Law, where she graduated cum laude. For a large portion of her career, Mary worked in different branches of the U.S. Department of Energy. Currently, she is the General Counsel for the Universities Research Association (URA) in Washington D.C.

Today, Mary continues to live life to the fullest as an avid golfer, Orange Theory participant, and traveler. She currently resides in Fairfax Station, Virginia with her husband Richard, and enjoys spending time with her son Zachary and his wife Alexandra.

Jen Oschell Ferri ‘89

A true athlete not only excels individually, but she also makes her teams and teammates better. That is exactly what Jen Oschell Ferri did at Villa. Jen was a star of the field hockey, basketball, and softball teams. When, in her junior year, she traded her softball glove for a lacrosse stick she excelled on that field as well. She was a natural athlete who picked up any game with ease. Jen played Varsity Field Hockey for four years and was a starter on the team for three of those years. She gained individual acclaim being named team captain, team MVP, and a three-time AACA All Star. She was recognized by the Daily Local News, the Main Line Times, and the Inquirer as a first-team All-Area selection, and she led her teams to four consecutive league titles. In addition, Jen also played in the 1987 and 1988 Keystone States games.

In the winter, Jen seamlessly traded her hockey stick for her high tops and found the same level of success. Jen was a three-year varsity basketball player and captained the ’88 and ’89 teams. She was twice named team MVP and was a three- year AACA All Star. Jen was again recognized by the Daily Local, Main Line Times, and the Inquirer as a first-team All-Area participant. Her Villa basketball teams won four consecutive AACA Championships.

Upon graduation, Jen took her immense talents to the University of Pennsylvania, where she played field hockey for the legendary Anne Sage. At Penn, Jen was a three-year starter, and in her senior year she was named team captain as well as team MVP. She was an All-Ivy team selection, as well as an Ivy League champion who earned Regional All- American honors.

As a Villa Lower School and High School graduate, Jen has bled blue and white her entire life. When she graduated from Penn she returned to Villa and taught biology and chemistry. During that time, she coached field hockey with fellow Villa Hall of Famer, Maurene Polley, for two years. Together Jen and Maurene won two state championships.

Today Jen lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania with her husband, Rob, and her daughters, Abby and Payton. Jen teaches science in the West Winsor-Plainsboro School District.

Jenn McBride Sminkey ‘88

In September 1984, Jenn McBride entered Villa Maria as a freshman. It was quickly evident that she would have a great impact on Villa Athletics. Jenn was a three-sport standout. In the fall, Jenn anchored a four-time AACA field hockey team. She was named team MVP all four years. In 1987, her senior year, Villa joined the PIAA, and in that first year they qualified for the state tournament. Jenn was twice named to the first team All-Main Line. In the winter, Jenn turned her attention to basketball, where she found similar success. She was a two-year starter and led the team to four AACA Championships. She was named to the All-Main Line Times team her senior year. In the spring, Jenn played lacrosse. A new program at Villa, lacrosse competed as a club team for her first three years, but gained varsity status her senior year. Jenn was a four-year starter, a four-year team MVP, and a four-year AACA All Star. In her senior year she was named an honorable mention USWLA All-American. After four years of outstanding play in three seasons, Jenn was named the Main Line Times Female Athlete of the Year.

Upon graduation from Villa, Jenn earned a field hockey scholarship to Penn State University, where she played on two A-10 Championship Teams. The Nittany Lions made two NCAA appearances, including a national semi-final appearance during Jenn’s time at State College.

After college, Jenn returned to Villa to help Maurene Polley coach the field hockey team. In year two of her coaching tenure, the team was the PIAA State runner-up.

Jenn McBride now captains Team Sminkey. She resides in Havertown with her husband, Brian, and their three children Georgia, Marin, and Declan.

Cathy Hay

Cathy Hay has made a career of working with the IHM Sisters, and she has certainly been imbued with the IHM charism of love, creative hope, and fidelity. She has taught and/or coached at Immaculata, Villa Maria Lower School, and Villa Maria Academy High School. Cathy graduated from West Chester University with a degree in Health & Physical Education. At West Chester, Cathy was a standout swimmer who captained the team for three seasons and was part of the NAIA national record setting 200 medley relay team. She began her teaching and coaching career at Marple Newtown High School, where she coached the team to the 1971 District One Championship. In 1973, Cathy moved to Immaculata College, where she led the Mighty Macs Swim Team. She then taught and coached at Villa Maria Lower School. In 1999, Cathy, along with her late husband, John, coached the inaugural Villa Swim Team; a team that she has built into a dynasty. At Villa, Cathy’s teams have won 18 District One Championships and an amazing 8 consecutive AA State Championships. No other team, male or female in any other sport, has won more consecutive state championships. Aside from team trophies, Cathy has coached high school All-Americans, NCAA All-Americans, and Olympic Trial Qualifiers.

Cathy has garnered several individual honors as well. She has been named Chester County Coach of the Year and Pennsylvania State Swimming Coach of the Year multiple times. She is a member of both the West Chester University Hall of Fame and Chester County Sports Hall of Fame.

Although Cathy is renowned as a swim coach and heralded for her coaching expertise, it may be the impact she has had on all of her students, her athletes, and her own children that really makes her a Hall of Famer. She has formed life-long relationships with her athletes, and she has taught them how to work hard to achieve all that they are meant to accomplish. Many former students will tell you how much they love Mrs. Hay. All three of Cathy’s children, Theresa, John, and Michael, have followed in their mom’s footsteps and become teachers. Today, when she is not poolside with the Villa swimmers, Cathy can be found on sidelines as head cheerleader for her four grandkids, Sara, Jake, Noah, and Adrian. 16 17

 

Ray and Jen Walheim P ’12 ’18 ’19

Fidelis Award Recipients

It has been said that leadership is not an affair of the head. Leadership is an affair of the heart. Ray and Jen Walheim are certainly prime examples of heart-felt Christian leadership in their communities. They are active at St. Patrick Parish, having previously served on the Parish Council, the Pre-Cana program, the Pre-Jordan program, and CYO. Ray has captained the men’s group at the Malvern Retreat House, and together, Ray and Jen started a new Family Retreat program. In addition, Jen is a volunteer at Partners in Outreach, Connect thru Cancer, Athletes Helping Athletes, and Lasagna Love. Understanding the importance of education in their children’s lives, they have been active volunteers at many local schools, including St. Pats, Devon Prep, Malvern Prep, Salesianum, and of course, Villa Maria. They have been part of the Villa Maria family since 2008, when their oldest daughter Kristen ’12 enrolled as a freshman. Almost immediately, Ray and Jen made an impact at Villa because they believed so strongly in Villa’s mission of providing a Catholic based, rigorous college prep education to their daughter. They have served as parent volunteers, event chairs, team parents, and board members. Jen served for many years on the Villa Maria Parents Association Board and Ray currently serves on Villa’s Board of Trustees. As parents to

 

three Villa athletic graduates, Kristen ’12, Lizzy ’18, and Abby ’19, they spent countless hours on the sidelines of cross country, field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse games. You could say that between them, Ray and Jen have earned 20 varsity letters in parental support.

Ray is a Devon Prep graduate and earned both undergraduate and law school degrees from Villanova University. His law career began at the prestigious Philadelphia firm, Ballard Spahr. After years of practicing law, Ray embarked upon a new endeavor, which saw him start his own healthcare data analytics firm. Under his leadership, the firm prospered immensely. Today Ray serves as a consultant to start-up companies while also working with the Entrepreneurship Program at Villanova. Jen is a proud Cardinal O’Hara High School graduate. She too spent her undergraduate years at Villanova University, earning her BS in Accounting. She enjoyed a successful career in tax accounting before turning her focus to raising a family.

When not helping their respective charities, Jen and Ray can either be found on a golf course, a tennis court, or the beach in Sea Isle. What Ray and Jen relish most in life is the time they spend with their children Bray and Bridget, Kristen, Andrew, Lizzy, Abby, and Joe, and their two adorable granddaughters, Leona and Blaire. Ray and Jen are proud that their family keeps growing with the addition of Kristen’s fiancée, Luke, and Bray and Bridget’s yet to be named new addition arriving soon.