CVU soccer star turned mogul monster, named to Vermont Sports Hall of Fame

Hilary Engisch-Klein, a former Champlain Valley Union High School soccer star who turned into a world-class mogul skier joins an auto racing legend, some Olympians and a smattering of former Vermont high school athletes as the newest members of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame.

The hall of fame’s board of directors announced its sixth class of inductees Tuesday at St. Michael’s College.

Other inductees include four-time Olympic cross-country skier Tim Caldwell; stock car driver Robbie Crouch; legendary St. Johnsbury Academy track-and-field coach Ray Frey; collegiate and high school basketball standouts Matt Johnson, Larry Killick and Jen Niebling; longtime Essex High coach/athletic director Melba Masse, a pioneer of girls sports in the state; University of Vermont football great Bobby Mitchell; Dave Morse, a sportswriter who chronicled high school teams and Thunder Road racers. And, oh yeah, hockey great Martin St. Louis, who starred at both the University of Vermont and in the National Hockey League.

A standout soccer player for CVU and the University of Vermont, Engisch-Klein was at the forefront of the non-traditional Alpine ski revolution, excelling as the best women’s moguls skier in the world.

She was still a student at UVM when she won her first World Cup event in British Columbia. That began a career in which she dominated the World Cup mogul series in the late 1970s and early 1980s, reigning as the overall World Cup women’s mogul champion four times. By the time she retired, she had 35 World Cup victories in a five-year span. Her record was so impressive that Ski magazine called her “the greatest female mogul skier alive.”

Engisch-Klein’s career ended before the sport became an Olympics Winter Games event.

After nine years on the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, Engisch-Klein retired and co-authored a pre-eminent book of freestyle skiing, “Freestyle Skiing.” She remained involved in skiing, serving on the USSA board of directors and as a director of the Vermont Ski Training Foundation. She has been involved with Special Olympics and the March of Dimes and served as Honorary Chairperson of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation skiathon. Sports Illustrated named her No. 16 among Vermont’s greatest athletes of the 20th century.

She has been named to the University of Vermont and Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum halls of fame.

Prior to her ski career, Engisch-Klein was one of UVM’s finest women’s soccer players. She set a then-school career record of 35 goals in only three seasons. In 1979, Engisch-Klein tallied a single-season record 21 goals, and added six assists as the Catamounts finished third in the forerunner to the NCAAS, the EIAW championships.

This year’s hall of fame class, representing eight of the state’s 14 counties, brings the six-class membership to 74.

An induction ceremony and banquet are set for April 21 at Trader Duke’s Hotel in South Burlington. More information at vermontsportshall.com.

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