Five teams honored with All-Academic distinctions

by Brandon Apoo | 7/23/15 8:06pm

Big Green athletes have been on top of their game recently — on and off the field. In the past week, the men’s and women’s tennis teams were honored as Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic teams and the men’s and women’s track and field program was recognized as a U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic team. Seven members of the sailing team were also honored as members of the Inter-collegiate Sailing Association’s (ICSA) All-Academic team.

ITA Scholar-Athletes include Aman Agarwal ’18, Blake Niehaus ’17, Diego Pedraza ’17, Dovydas Sakinis ’16, Sam Todd ’15 and George Wall ’17 from the men’s tennis team as well as Sarah Bessen ’16, Julienne Keong ’16, Taylor Ng ’17 and Julia Schroeder ’18 from the women’s tennis team. Brian Masterson ’16, Nico Robinson ’17 and Silas Talbot ’15, all members of the men’s track and field team, were awarded individual spots on the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. Lizzie Guynn ’16, Hunter Johnstone ’16, Deirdre Lambert ’15, Emily Petno ’16, Abigail Rohman ’16, Sarah Williams ’16 and Hope Wilson ’16 were named to the ICSA All-Academic team.

Receiving the team All-Academic distinction requires a collective effort on and off the field. The tennis teams had to maintain a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above, with each contributing athlete having competed in at least one varsity match. The track and field teams had to maintain an average GPA of at least 3.0 to earn the title, but both the men’s and women’s teams surpassed this requirement with a 3.32 and 3.31 respectively.

Individual athletes honored as All-Academic players were held to even higher standards. ITA Scholar-Athletes must achieve a GPA of at least 3.50 for the academic year and must be varsity letter recipients. To qualify for the All-Academic track and field team, athletes must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 and must have participated in a round of the NCAA Division I championships. All sailors named to the ICSA All-Academic team must be a junior or senior in college, have a 3.3 GPA or higher and be either a starter or key reserve in at least seven university-sponsored regattas.

As an Ivy League student-athlete, time for academics is constrained by practice, competitions and travel. Todd said that for student-athletes, effective time management sometimes requires doing work on the road to tournaments, alongside late nights and plenty of discipline.

“I was just sitting at this desk writing my paper all night and then had to go play a match the next afternoon on about two hours of sleep,” he said. “It’s stuff like that. I mean, you get through it.”

Despite busy schedules, many athletes still find some time to engage in the College’s social scene.

“It was kind of one big balancing act,” Talbot said. “Everything was in moderation, and nothing really ever got old.”

Talbot, who will begin studies at Thayer School of Engineering this fall, was a season-round athlete. In addition, he was a member of the cross-country and Nordic ski teams and held All-Academic honors in both.

Barry Harwick, the head coach of the men’s track and field team, said that Masterson is a perfect example of a student-athlete with good time management — as evidenced by his GPA.

“[Masterson] always clarifies dates with me after receiving our schedule,” Harwick said. Talbot echoed Harwick saying that Masterson is arguably one of the harder workers on the distance team.

Dartmouth athlete recruitment considers whether or not students can handle the pressure of balancing both their sports and academics.

“We definitely make a point of trying to recruit players that are really motivated for their tennis, but also academically as well and that want the challenge of doing both,” men’s tennis head coach Chris Drake said.

He said the coaching staff also prioritizes academics and is willing to help in any way that it can.

“If somebody ended up having a tough term, we meet with them about it and try to get to the bottom of it,” Drake said.

These accolades are nothing new to the teams.

“The team has been recognized as an All-Academic every year since I have been a coach at Dartmouth,” Harwick said. The tennis team has been recognized as an All-Academic team for the past five years under Drake.

Todd said he is not surprised that many students earned academic honors, and said that he expects such success to continue.

Last week, three members of the women’s golf team — Jane Lee ’15, Lily Morrison ’16 and Jessica Kittelberger ’18 -— were honored as members of the Women’s Collegiate Golf All-American Scholars team, which requires a minimum GPA of 3.50.

Correction appended (July 30, 2015):

A previous version of this article misidentified Talbot as a tennis player. Talbot is a track and field athlete.