Summit selects three multi-sport stars for new Hall of Fame class

Summit selects three multi-sport stars for new Hall of Fame class

Alex Thurner '08, Eric O’ Brien ’98 and Lauren Conners ’01 were inducted into The Summit Country Day School Athletic Hall of Fame during halftime of the Homecoming football game on Sept. 14. (Photo by Jolene Barton)

The Summit Country Day School inducted three multi-sport athletes into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame during this year’s Homecoming festivities on Friday, Sept. 14.

The inductees include field hockey, basketball and softball standout Lauren Conners ’01, football and baseball star Eric O’ Brien ’98 and soccer and lacrosse leader Alex Thurner ’08.

Lauren Conners

The Summit Country Day School encourages its student-athletes to be physically active and participate in multiple sports during their time on campus. Lauren Conners ’01 fits that bill as she was a field hockey, basketball, cross country and softball star.

In field hockey, Lauren earned first-team Southwest Ohio Field Hockey Association honors in 1998. She received an honorable mention nod from the league a year later. 

In 2000, during the cross country season, she was a second-team all-Miami Valley Conference (MVC) runner. 

When the weather turned cold, it did nothing to stymie Conners as she switched from the field hockey pitch to the parquet. She was a member of the varsity basketball team all four years during a competitive period in the program’s history. It was a competitive season for the MVC as a whole as five of the conference’s nine teams made it to the sectional finals.   

In the spring of her senior year, Lauren was a driving force behind The Summit softball team’s MVC title. The team finished with an 18-5 record.

During that season, Lauren led the team in batting average (.494), on-base percentage (.657) and was second in slugging percentage (.724). She struck out only once the entire season. She also holds school records in career batting average (.471), on-base percentage, steals and catching percentage. She won three varsity letters, was an all-conference player (2000 and 2001), was named the most valuable player in the conference (2001) and was an Ohio Scholar Athlete twice.

“The teachers and coaches at The Summit pushed me to excel and to test the limits of what I thought I could do both athletically and academically,” Lauren said. “Most importantly, they were always there to offer support and encouragement. Like so many others, I will always fondly remember Mrs. Fultz’s passion for literature, Ms. Bruggeman’s biology labs and Ms. Haas’ dedication to coaching. Thank you to all my teachers, coaches, teammates, parents and the class of 2001 for my experience at The Summit.”

Lauren is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and lives in Virginia. She also enjoys playing the occasional game of polo.

Eric O’ Brien

Eric O’ Brien, a ’98 graduate of The Summit, made a career of swatting strikes and piling up yards in the Silver Knights’ backfield.

A frequent Cincinnati Enquirer player of the week in both football and baseball, Eric racked up 2,000+ all-purpose yards in two seasons. He helped lead the Silver Knights football team to an MVC championship in the 1996-1997 season, the first conference championship since the 1985-1986 season. Eric was the Southwest Ohio player of the year following the ’96 season, and was a two-time all-MVC, all-City and all-State player. 

Entering the spring of 1996, the Silver Knights were intent on making sure the postseason success from previous years continued. O’ Brien did his part. During his three seasons, The Summit won MVC, sectional, district and regional titles. Individually, he was a three-time first-team all-MVC and all-City player and was a three-time all-State performer. In 1998, the season he was the team captain, he led the city in home runs. His baseball career continued to flourish at Kent State University. He earned four varsity letters and was a two-time first-team all-Mid-American Conference selection. Eric broke the Kent State season and all-time record for stolen bases. He ended his career as a Golden Flash in the program’s top-10 in homeruns, batting average, stolen bases, games played, runs scored and on-base percentage. Eric was nominated to the program’s all-Century team in 2014. 

“I would like to thank The Summit Country Day School, the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee and former teammates and coaches for this honor,” Eric said. “During my time at SCD, I learned the importance of community, teamwork, leadership and education. Athletics further shaped my character by teaching me how to be a competitor and handle unexpected challenges as well as the power of teamwork and resilience. More than anything, I am grateful for the lifelong friendships and relationships I built during my time at The Summit. I am honored to join the other student-athletes in The Summit Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Eric graduated from Kent State with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and earned his master’s in business administration from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. After living in Chicago for 10 years, Eric and his wife settled down in Scottsdale, Ariz. where he works in Sales Management at Cognex Corporation.

Alex Thurner

This two-sport athlete made her name by putting balls in the back of the net. Alex Thurner, a member of the class of 2008, was a standout in soccer and lacrosse. 

She was a varsity player all four years in both sports. Alex was a team captain in both, too. 

During her lacrosse career here at The Summit, she led Ohio in scoring in her junior and senior seasons. She also led the Silver Knights to the state final game her junior year. Alex was a first-team all-MVC player and was the first Summit female lacrosse player to become an all-American. She was the program’s all-time leading scorer until Sydney Beckmeyer, a player she coached, broke the record in 2016.

After her high school days were finished, Alex continued her successful lacrosse career at Denison University. She was a four-year starter as a midfielder, team captain her senior year and helped lead the Big Red on their deepest NCAA tournament run in program history. Alex, an all-region and all-conference player, finished her career as third overall leading scorer in program history and still remains in the top 10.

After graduation, Alex began working as a felony criminal defense attorney locally and was the girls’ lacrosse coach here at The Summit from 2013-2017. With her at the helm of the program, the Silver Knights reached two state final fours, four MVC championships and was Cincinnati Enquirer coach of the year and conference coach of the year.

Now that she isn’t coaching, she enjoys training for and running marathons and spending time with her family. 

“My time as a student-athlete at The Summit shaped who I am by instilling confidence and allowing me to participate in so many activities while getting such a wonderful education,” Alex said. “I was also able to go out for lacrosse my freshman year after never playing before, and it ultimately influenced my college choice and brought me back into The Summit community to coach. There aren’t that many opportunities in life that brought as much joy and happiness as coaching did for me. The fact that I went to Summit and could share that with my players made it that much better. I am very grateful to all of The Summit faculty, but particularly the athletic department for allowing me to thrive.”