athletics lion logo with letters "ANC"

Girls School Names Major Sports Awards

The ANC Girls School has renamed the end-of-year athletic awards to honor two graduates who have had a lasting impact on the program. 

Since its inception, the ANC Girls School Athletic program has given out two major end-of-year awards: an Outstanding Athlete Award and a Sportsmanship Award.

Today, the Girls School is announcing the renaming of those two awards: the Outstanding Athlete Award is now the Elaine S. Asplundh Award and the Sportsmanship Award is the Marah P. Boyesen Award. 

Girls School Principal Kira Schadegg says: “Coaches Asplundh and Boyesen exemplified many of the qualities that we hope to instill in our athletes. Naming these awards is a way to honor their legacies and contributions to ANC Girls School Athletics.”

head shot of Elaine Asplundh

Elaine Synnestvedt Asplundh attended the Girls School in the 1970’s, at a time when the only option for girls to play sports was the intramural Girls’ Athletic Association. Her determination to give ANC girls the opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics began during her time as a Girls School student. After graduating in 1974, Elaine attended Bryn Athyn College, later transferring to Temple University to major in Physical Education and Health. Her time at Temple only increased her desire to return to the Girls School and create a true athletic program. Upon her college graduation, she did indeed return to ANC to teach PE and run the GAA. She worked with others to petition the Girls School Faculty to allow the formation of an interscholastic sports program, a process that took three years before being approved in May of 1981. Since that time, Elaine has been an integral part of the ANC Girls Athletic program, including serving as the first head coach of four different sports: Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball and Lacrosse. Over the course of 37 years, she served in many different coaching roles, including countless seasons as a volunteer coach even after officially retiring from ANC. Elaine was always fully invested in her players--both as people and as athletes, and served as a role model for excellent work ethic and sportsmanship. Her students characterize her as caring, kind, and a pioneer for girls athletics.

The new citation for this award reads: The Elaine S. Asplundh Award is given to a Girls School athlete who best exemplifies qualities modeled by Coach Asplundh: dedication to athletic excellence, competitive spirit, sportsmanship, camaraderie, teamwork, consistent work ethic, and a role model and advocate for her teammates and players. 

head shot of Marah Boyesen

Marah Pendleton Boyesen graduated from the Girls School in 1985. During her time at ANC, she played tennis, volleyball and field hockey. She attended Bryn Athyn College, playing on the first girls lacrosse team there, and later transferred to James Madison University. In her adult years, she held many different roles at ANC: PE and Health teacher, Field Hockey coach, and finally a co-teacher for the Senior Seminar course. She also volunteered her time as a mentor to both specific Girls School students and entire teams. Coach Boyesen avidly studied the mind-body connection, and her motivational talks to teams were inspiring. She loved athletics as a means to develop moral values and learn to love competition regardless of the score. She cared deeply about all ANC students, both on and off the field, and in and out of school. She was able to push girls beyond their own perceived limits in a way that made them feel empowered. 

Her own words to a team she worked with: “I love you. I love you all. I love who you are and I love what you stand for. I think you are beautiful. Live and play in trust, faith, love, gratitude, courage, kindness and joyous abandon… for this is what makes a true team. This is why we play. Forever yours in the pursuit of Spectacular, Coach Boyesen”

The Marah P. Boyesen Award is given to the Girls School athlete who best exemplifies the values modeled by Coach Boyesen: sportsmanship, competition as a vehicle for furthering moral values and practicing mental toughness, charitable actions both on and off the field, the power of teamwork and commitment to girls athletics.

Girls School Athletic Director Jackie Pennink says: “We are proud to honor these two exceptional women, who are forever a part of our history. Their work with our girls and our institution has had a lasting impact on our program, and athletes in years to come will follow their example.”

This year’s Elaine S. Asplundh Award and Marah P. Boyesen Award recipients will be announced via social media on Thursday, May 21.