Richmond Times-Dispatch: The greatest athlete from St. Catherine's: Charlotte Fox

By JONATHAN HOWARD | Special correspondent

     Charlotte Fox, a 1975 graduate of St. Catherine’s, was no stranger to the school’s athletic fields. She was a three-time letter winner in lacrosse, ran two years of indoor track and was a manager for the field hockey team. However, it was well after graduation that Fox literally reached her athletic peak.
     Fox became the first American woman to climb three of the world’s 8,000-meter (26,000 feet) peaks. The list includes Mt. Everest and Cho Oyu, which are located on the Nepal-China border, and Gasherbrum II, located on the Pakistan-China border. She is also the first American woman to scale Gasherbrum I, and she famously survived a 1996 blizzard at Everest, in which eight members of her expedition died.
     She passed away in May of 2018 following an accident in her home. She was 61.
     According to classmate and friend, Judy Hawthorne, Fox was ever outgoing and looked to stay active. She was competitive but mainly in pushing herself. Those qualities drew her to the Waterman, a collaborative outdoor adventure club with St. Christopher’s. Fox went on to attend college at Hollins, which enshrined her in its athletic hall of fame in 1997 and named its climbing wall after her. It was after her university studies that her passion took off.
     “I think she really blossomed that passion. She went out west and that just lit the fire. She was just an athletic person and always gregarious in wanting to do things,” Hawthorne said. “She was not a person who sat around. She took whatever opportunities were there, and when she moved out west she got the bug.”
     Fox worked professionally as a ski patrol in some of Colorado’s most famous ski areas – Snowmass, Aspen and Telluride. When the season changed, she’d go out to the desert for camping and climbing. When the conditions and timing were right, she scaled the mountains that would ultimately make her famous.
     “She had a zest for life. She was always enthusiastic. In years after St. Catherine’s, she suffered dramatic losses, but didn’t let them define her,” Hawthorne said. "She was somebody who was always grabbing the brass ring. She was fun to be around. She was never intimidating. She was always a warm person.”

Honorable mention

Katie Doswell Born, a 2006 graduate who won the 2006 Nike Indoor Nationals, ran at Duke and was named an All-American three times.
Ali Doswell, a 2013 graduate who led the Amherst basketball team to the Division III national title and was named national player of the year.
 
Marianne Bocock Doyle,  a 1988 graduate and lacrosse player at Dartmouth who was named honorable mention All-American and all-Ivy League and who competed on the U.S. national team.
Lloyd Hatcher Ford, a 1977 graduate who won three ACC tennis singles titles and one doubles title at North Carolina and set a school record for wins by a senior. She won AIAW singles and doubles titles in North Carolina.
Sarah Townsend Harrison, a 1960 graduate who was a four-time Richmond City Junior Girl’s tennis champion.
Betty Baugh Harrison, a 1977 graduate who was the youngest player to win the City of Richmond Tennis Championship and who played at North Carolina, where she won ACC titles in both singles and doubles.
Natalie Martirosian Mason, a 2001 graduate who was a two-time All-American in field hockey at Princeton and a member of the U.S. national team.
Alexis Martirosian, a 2001 graduate who was an All-Ivy League field hockey player at Princeton and member of the U.S. national team.
Kaya Livick McCoy, a 1999 graduate and track and cross country runner who was a three-time team MVP at East Carolina.
Tovia Martirosian Smith, a 1998 graduate who was named all-Ivy and All-America in field hockey at Yale.
Sallie Cecil Stillwell, a1981 graduate and lacrosse goalkeeper who earned All-American honors while at Virginia. She was inducted into the Richmond Chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse hall of fame in 2016.
Natalie Bocock Turnage, a 1979 graduate, who became Princeton’s first female lacrosse All-American. She also competed on the U.S. national team.
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