New Hampshire Women in Sports

Granite State Women Are at The Top of Their Game

Maybe there’s something in the water.

Thanks to women like Concord’s Becky Bonner, who could become the first female general manager in the NBA, and Dover’s Jenny Thompson, an Olympic swimmer with 12 medals, eight of them gold, New Hampshire has been well represented on the fields, pools, rinks, slopes and courts of the world.

You’ll see some of these women on highlight reels and others standing atop podiums hoisting trophies and medals. Yet there are plenty of New Hampshire women, flying just below the radar, whose passion and commitment have helped them achieve significant, and, in some cases, historical success.

Lauren Thibodeau has been a golf phenom since she was 8 years old. Talk to anyone about endurance sports or triathlons, and Amber Ferreira’s name is bound to come up. Tara Mounsey wasn’t only a hockey pioneer during her time at Concord High School, she played a key role on the first-ever US women’s Olympic gold medal-winning hockey team, and Clare Grabher has played Wimbledon and is now helping to lead one of the fastest-growing paddle sports in the country.

Women like Thibodeau, Ferreira, Mounsey and Grabher are just a few of the athletes influencing the next generation. Meet some of these remarkable New Hampshire women.

Tara Mounsey

On February 17, 1998, in Nagano, Japan, a group of women from across the US made Olympic history. And they were led, in part, by a contingent from New Hampshire.

Clare Grabher

Grabher, originally from Surrey, England, was a British Junior Champion tennis player who played at the Cathedral of Tennis in the late 1970s.

Lauren Thibodeau

Ask Lauren Thibodeau how she felt scoring a hole-in-one and she gives a surprising answer: “Which one?”

Amber Ferreira

What does a triathlete do when races and events begin falling off the schedule, thanks to the pandemic? If you’re Amber Ferreira, you find a way to conquer Everest.

More remarkable New Hampshire women who have made their mark in sports


When the US won the first-ever gold medal in women’s hockey in Nagano in 1998, the team had a distinctly Granite State feel. Among the players on that team: Tara Mounsey, of Concord; Tricia Dunn, of Derry; Katie King, of Salem; and UNH standouts Tricia Dunn and Karyn Bye Dietz (one of the most prolific scorers in UNH history with 100 goals and 64 assists), Colleen Coyne and Sue Merz.


One of the nation’s greatest Olympic swimmers, Jenny Thompson, is now facing down the novel coronavirus as an anesthesiologist at the VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Thompson competed in the Olympic Games four times in total, winning 12 medals — eight of them gold. She retired following the Athens games in 2004 and embarked on her current career in health care.


Penny Pitou didn’t care for the no-girls restrictions on the ski team at Laconia High School in 1953, so she tucked her long hair under her hat, asked her friends to call her Tommy, and sped off into the start of her long and successful career on the slopes. Among the many awards, wins and achievements, Pitou, who was born in Queens, New York, but grew up in Center Harbor, Gilford and Laconia, became the first American to win a medal in the Olympic downhill event in Squaw Valley, 1960. She runs a ski school and was entered into the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1976.

Born in Hanover, Liz McIntyre attended Dartmouth and then spent 20 years on the US Ski Team, competing in the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Olympics before leading the team as a coach. She won four World Cup events as a snowboarder, finished in the top 10 in 18 World Cup events, and was enshrined in the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2008.


As one of the talented Bonners of Concord, Becky Bonner first started playing basketball to compete with her brothers, Luke and Matt. She played on boys’ teams, earned a scholarship to Stanford University and finished at Boston University. Her career path has taken her through the offices of the NBA, landing her a job as director of player development with the Orlando Magic. A pioneer with a signature competitive drive, Bonner may be in line to become the first woman general manager in the NBA.

At perennial women’s college basketball powerhouse UConn, Exeter-born Kerry Bascom stands out as both a pioneer and an all-timer. Bascom, who played at Epping High School before leading the Connecticut Huskies to its first-ever Big East regular season championship in 1989, was named Big East Player of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 1991, and stands as the second leading career scorer at the school.

Categories: People