Robin Briggs Rolli, a Keene native, has the distinction of earning induction into the KSC Athletic Hall of Fame for her accomplishments in three sports. Not only did she excel as a Nordic skier on a fledgling Owl program that qualified for Division I meets, but also earned a berth to the national cross country and track championships.
Briggs Rolli said earning induction for her performance in the three sports wasn’t so unusual. "I think the sports went together well," said Briggs Rolli, who used her cardio base from running to her advantage on the Nordic trails.
Briggs Rolli shined in all three sports at Keene State. A four-time Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Division II first-team Nordic honoree (1980–84), Briggs Rolli twice qualified for national competition during her KSC running career – in the cross country championship in 1981 and the NCAA outdoor meet in 1983, when she ran in the 3,000-meter event. "I was always a competitive athlete who was goal-oriented," she said.
Briggs Rolli was also a self-made athlete. She developed into a top cross country runner at Keene High School, becoming a top-five finisher at the state meet. After trials and tribulations on the trails, she also made a name for herself in Nordic skiing, capturing the state championship as a senior.
Briggs Rolli brought her athletic talents to Keene State, where she became one of the College’s top athletes. She gained the respect of her teammates not only for her athletic ability, but her leadership as well. "Robin had an incredible motor. She could just go," said Charlie Beach, the Owls former ski coach. "Her teammates gathered around her and looked to her for leadership."Briggs Rolli joined Julie Dion Choiniere, a 2004 Hall of Fame inductee, to give Keene State a formidable entry in cross country races and distance events on the track. The pair led the Owls to the 1979 Codfish title and a top- 10 finish at the New England championships.
A member of the first women’s varsity cross country and track teams at KSC, Briggs Rolli was responsible for the evolution of the program. "Robin was very talented, very competitive, and very vocal," said former KSC running coach George Bower. "She became the voice of the team. Robin was very demanding of herself and unwilling to settle for second-rate status."
When it came to skiing, Briggs Rolli enjoyed the team aspect of the relay. "We were always very good and had a lot of depth," she said.
Briggs Rolli saved her best for last as a member of the Owl ski team. As a senior she led KSC to its first three EISA meet championships, including the Division II title at Pico Mountain that earned the team a trip to the Division I Winter Carnival. Briggs Rolli was a member of the winning cross country relay team at the Division II championship.
An athlete for all seasons, Briggs Rolli, who earned her degree from KSC in bio chemistry, enjoyed the year-round action. "I don’t think I could function without it," she said. "Athletics has been a part of my life from high school and still is today."
In addition to her athletic endeavors, Briggs Rolli has also coached locally. After spending a few seasons as assistant cross country coach at Keene State, she has moved to the high school level, serving as the assistant Nordic and track coach at Keene High School. Helping to provide a feeder system in the community, she also enjoys the report with her athletes. "I’m always talking to them about setting goals – not only in sports, but ones that spill over to the everyday parts of their lives," she said.