Claremont, Calif. (June 22, 2021)—Pitzer College Class of 2021 graduates Lily and Thyra Herrmann are Sagehen Lacrosse teammates and twin sisters whose contributions on and off the field were recently recognized by two intercollegiate athletic organizations. Lily won the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Community Awareness Award on June 14; Thyra earned the 2021 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Character Award in May.
Originally from Denver, the Herrmann sisters have been playing lacrosse together since the third grade—on recreational and club teams, in high school, then as Sagehens.
“We have been ‘the twins’ on every team we have been a part of,” Lily says.
They relocated from the Mile High City to the West Coast for college, drawn by Pitzer’s core values, sense of community, and Sagehens Lacrosse Coach Sarah Queener, who was named SCIAC Coach of the Year twice after back-to-back SCIAC Championships. The College’s SoCal climate also had a certain appeal.
“Playing lacrosse in the snow was not something I wanted to do in college,” Thyra says.
Lily and Thyra’s awards for community awareness and character reflect how the sisters combined their passion for academics, athletics, and ethics through their time as Pitzer students and Sagehens.
Lily Herrmann ’21: IWLCA Community Awareness Award
IWLCA’s Community Awareness Award recognizes student-athletes who have contributed significantly to their community and “given their time and energy to support and develop athlete-community relations,” according to IWLCA’s press release.
Lily majored in organizational studies at Pitzer and was captain of the Sagehens Women’s Lacrosse team during her junior and senior years. At Pitzer, she participated in Student Senate, the Academic Planning Committee, and the Racial Justice Initiative. With the Sagehens, she served as the vice president and community engagement chair for the Pomona-Pitzer Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
During this past academic year, with the pandemic pushing nearly all interactions online, she focused on supporting student-athlete welfare, diversity and inclusion programming, and increasing connection in a largely virtual world. She planned a “Run to the Polls” Bingo Challenge in partnership with @48forChange, a social justice-oriented running organization, to increase voter engagement. Additionally, she organized a “Make it Clean, Make it Green” event to encourage outdoor garbage collection by students. Lily also counseled high school students through the Youth Mentoring Action Network and served as a volunteer youth lacrosse coach.
The annual award officially recognizes the recipient’s contributions in the proceeding year, but Lily’s work stemmed from a long-standing commitment to social justice.
“I have always felt very strongly about social responsibility and its role in creating a world that is more equitable, just, and sustainable for all its inhabitants,” she says. “For me, a large part of this goal is centered in community engagement and how we can leverage community to foster a sense of social responsibility within and between communities. We can use community engagement and support for one another to reimagine and build a world that reflects the needs and values of each one of us.”
Thyra Herrmann ’21: SCIAC Character Award
SCIAC’s character award recognizes senior student-athletes who, while competing on their teams, have made significant contributions representing their school and serving their communities. When the SCIAC announced Thyra as the winner of the 2021 SCIAC Women’s Lacrosse Character Award, Coach Queener applauded the selection: “Thyra exemplifies everything this award stands for.”
“She has been a leader from the day she stepped onto our campus. Her firmness of character, indomitable spirit, and resilience were a beacon of light at all times for our team,” Queener said in a SCIAC press release. “Thyra always brings a positive attitude and an amazing work ethic to everything she does.”
That attitude and ethic stood out even from the sidelines. During the second game of her first season as a Sagehen, Thyra tore her ACL. She couldn’t play, but she refused to sit out the season.
“Thyra essentially became our third coach and our team often said that they couldn’t always hear me or Brian (Eisenberg, the assistant lacrosse coach) yelling on the sideline, but they always heard her,” Queener said.
Sidelined but not silent, Thyra found a different way to contribute.
“I couldn’t play, but I felt I could cheer my teammates to a win,” she said. “Positive energy makes hard work fun and working hard motivates others to do the same.”
The character she displayed during those difficult days reflected an approach to life and sports that centers around “sharing positive contagious energy and working hard when nobody is watching.”
Thyra appeared in 24 career games as a Sagehen after missing most of her first season to injury and having her junior season cut short and senior season wiped out due to the pandemic. On the field, she excelled as a midfielder for Pomona-Pitzer and accumulated 19 points off of 13 goals and six assists, according to a Sagehens press release. She’s also a member of the Pomona-Pitzer SAAC.
An environmental analysis major, Thyra served as a sustainability representative for Pitzer’s Student Senate and as an educator with Pitzer’s Leadership in Environmental Education Partnership (LEEP). She’s worked as director of outreach and development for Claremont Sustainability Consulting and a sustainability consultant for Reformation. Active in campus life, Thyra conducted interviews for the Pitzer College Archives oral history project and served as an assistant in the Office of the Dean of Faculty.
Lily’s IWLCA Community Awareness Award and Thyra’s SCIAC Character Award came at the end of their time at Pitzer, a kind of culmination of their journey from the third graders who followed their father and brother’s footsteps onto a lacrosse field to the seniors who graduated in May.
Lily says the first time she walked onto campus (she was touring other colleges when she happened to visit a friend at Pitzer), she knew Pitzer was the place for her.
“The sun was setting, students were on the Mounds playing games and chatting … I got that inexplicable goosebump feeling of just knowing I belonged,” she says. “As I looked deeper into Pitzer’s core values, mission, and community, and discovered I also had the opportunity to be a part of Coach Queener’s team, I couldn’t have dreamed of a more ideal place to go to college.”
Thyra shares her sister’s sentiment—five core values, one Coach Queener, and zero snow days made Pitzer a perfect fit.
“I was drawn to Pitzer by the ability to play for an incredible coach in warm weather and by the opportunity to attend a beautiful school with strong core values that reflected my own.”
Sources: Pomona-Pitzer Athletics: “Lily Herrmann Earns IWLCA Community Awareness Award” and “Senior Thyra Herrmann Earns SCIAC Lacrosse Character Award,” SCIAC’s “Women’s Lacrosse All-Conference,”; and “IWLCA Names 2021 Community Awareness Award Winners.”