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Hatfield native Devon (Vachula) Elliott to be inducted into Clark University Athletics Hall of Fame

  • Devon Elliott, of Hatfield, will be inducted into the Clark University Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday. Elliott, who graduated in 2000, was a standout field hockey player for the Cougars. COURTESY DEVON ELLIOTT

For the Gazette
Published: 5/10/2019 9:05:58 PM
Modified: 5/10/2019 9:05:45 PM

NORTHAMPTON — When Devon (Vachula) Elliott got a call from Clark University Athletic Director Patricia Cronin in January, she was caught off guard to find out she was selected for induction into the university’s hall of fame.

Elliott, who graduated in 2000, was happy to be honored for her field hockey achievements, but was just as pleasantly surprised to find out that it was her two sons who sent in her nomination.

“My kids, knowing what I did in Clark and what I did in sports, thought it would be cool to nominate me,” the Hatfield resident said. “I wasn’t thinking about it and didn’t know they did it, so it was a complete surprise to me. It was amazing to find out that my kids did that, and that the committee decided on me as one of (the inductees).”

Elliott had no shortage of accolades on the field. She was the first women’s field hockey athlete to earn First-Team Division III All-American honors at Clark, and still is one of only six in program history. Elliott also won the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year award and was part of the all-conference team in 1997, 1998 and 1999, as well as being named to all-region first teams in 1998 and 1999.

“I guess when I was in the moment I was just playing a sport that I loved,” Elliott said. “It wasn’t anything more than another year at Clark, playing with my teammates, trying to win as a team, and do something that I loved. In hindsight I think I could have had more appreciation for it at the time.”

Elliott developed her passion for the game playing at Smith Academy in Hatfield. Under legendary coach Sherry Webb, the undefeated Falcons won the 1993 Division 1 state championship.

When her collegiate athletic career ended, Elliott began applying her leadership skills to her career in marketing.

When Elliott isn’t working as a marketing director for Affinity Dental Management, she’s watching her sons James and Dallas play sports. Both are students at Williston Northampton School in Easthampton. Both James, a seventh grader, and Dallas, a freshman, play baseball, basketball and football for the Wildcats.

“I think they were born athletes,” Elliott said. “As far as my involvement with it, I’ve always been a supporter, not saying ‘you have to play.’ I introduced it, they loved it, and that just kind of stuck.”

As Dallas begins his college search, it brings back memories from Elliott’s own experiences.

“It’s a lot different now,” Elliott said. “I remember I didn’t start looking at schools until the end of sophomore year or looking seriously junior year. Now they are kind of expecting kids to have an idea of where they want to go to school their freshman year if they want to play sports, it blows my mind.”

Elliott will be inducted into the Clark University Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday. The 6 p.m. ceremony will serve as an opportunity to shift the focus momentarily back onto her athletic achievements.

“It’s funny because you talk about things a lot with kids at the dinner table or in the car about my past and things I used to do, but right now it’s about them all the time,” Elliott said. “I think it will be nice for them to see where I came from and kind of celebrate that because it’s not something that’s in the spotlight every day, so it’ll be nice to enjoy that moment with them.”

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