One on One with Morgan McCalmon '16
This week I talked with Big Green softball’s Morgan McCalmon ’16,who is one of the team’s top starting pitchers and has put together a 10-2 record with an ERA of 2.43. The team will compete in the NCAA tournament this weekend after sweeping the University of Pennsylvania in the Ivy League Championship Series.
When did you start playing softball?
MM: I swung my first bat when I was two years old when my parents got me the little foam bat and tee that you get little kids for Christmas. We actually have a home video of it. It’s kind of crazy looking back at that moment and looking at where I’m at now, not knowing that this game would have such an impact on my life. I played in my first tee-ball game when I was five or six, and I refused to play any other position than pitcher — which in tee ball doesn’t do anything. I guess I’m just the type of person that knows what they want to do very early on, and I’m so glad this was the game I chose.
Why did you choose to play softball at Dartmouth?
MM: My dream was to go to Dartmouth since middle school. I actually knew someone that came here and they really inspired me to want to do the same. My academics and athletics are two very important parts of my life, and Dartmouth gives me the best of both worlds. My recruiting story is pretty unconventional, but I essentially annoyed [former head coach Rachel Hanson] so much that she finally decided to give me a chance and watch me play. I guess it went pretty well because the rest is history.
What’s your favorite thing about softball?
MM: I’ve always used softball as a release. Whether it’s going to the cages at 10 p.m. after a big test or going to the field to throw a bullpen, or even just going to practice. I’ve always used softball to put away what ever is going on in my life and just play the game. It’s a constant for me — it’s always there, and I get to play it with my best friends.
Taking back-to-back Ivy titles is incredibly exciting. What do you think contributes to Dartmouth softball’s success?
MM: We’re a really competitive group. My freshman year, we lost in game three at Penn Park, and watching another team celebrate put ice in our veins. Our coaches have also done an incredible job with recruiting and taking the steps needed to move our team in the right direction. Coach Hanson did so much with our team culture and this year, [head coach Shannon Doepking] has brought us a new level of skill.
What is the toughest obstacle you have overcome in your Dartmouth softball career?
MM: This year in particular has been a little rough for me. I’ve had to battle through a few injuries, but my teammates and coach have done an incredible job keeping me up and getting me back to where I need to be. That speaks volumes about one of our core values, which is family.
What have been the highlights of this past season for you?
MM: Obviously winning another championship has been a major highlight, but honestly, I think the best highlight is coming next weekend where we get to compete in the NCAA tournament. It’s an incredible feeling knowing we get to represent Dartmouth on such a big stage, as well as show what the Ivy League is all about. Sometimes I think people take us lightly because of our conference, but we want to prove to people that we can beat anyone and there’s no better time to prove that than in the NCAA tournament.
What are the best things about being a pitcher?
MM: I love being a pitcher because I get to have the ball in my hand for every play. I love the adrenaline rush you get in a big moment, and I love the technicality and strategy that’s associated with the position. People always say you have to be a little crazy to be a pitcher, and I think I fit that mold pretty well. I live for high pressure situations and couldn’t imagine playing the game if I played any other position.
Is it difficult being a student-athlete?
MM: Of course being a student-athlete is difficult, but it’s also unbelievably rewarding. You learn pretty quickly how to manage your time. Sometimes you have to miss out on things, but the things I have gained outweigh all of those immensely. The relationships I’ve formed, the countless trips, the championships, the hard workouts have all connected me with a group of incredible women, and these women will be people I turn to for the rest of my life. These things aren’t easy to come by, and I am so incredibly blessed to be a student-athlete.
This interview has been edited and condensed.