Dartmouth spring sports gear up for upcoming season

by Evan Morgan | 3/27/17 2:20am

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by Seamore Zhu / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Baseball

The Big Green is coming off one of its best starts to the season, posting a 10-6 record playing against top teams including University of Miami, Florida, ranked 17th in the nation, as well as the University of Central Florida and The Citadel. This year’s .625 winning percentage is among the best Dartmouth has ever posted after spring break in the past 50 years.

Part of the team’s early success can be attributed to impact freshmen Trevor Johnson ’20 , Henry Eilen ’20, and Michael Calamari ’20. Johnson was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the Week of March 13. Michael Ketchmark ’17, Matt Feinstein ’19, and Kyle Holbrook ’18 have also contributed for the team following the loss of Duncan Robinson ’16, Thomas Roulis ’16, and Nick Ruppert ’16. Robinson was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the ninth overall round, while Roulis was named to the all-Ivy League First Team and Ruppert was given an All-Ivy League Honorable Mention.

Equestrian

After stepping away from competition since the first week of November, the Big Green will take the reins once more at Saturday’s Regional Championships, hosted at home at Morton Farm.

To minimize cold-weather competition, the schools of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s Zone 1 Region 2 decided to pack all regular-season shows into the fall. That decision made for a busy October, with eight shows in five weeks. The Big Green came on strong at the end, closing out the regular season with four consecutive show victories. The late-season surge was not enough to catch the University of Vermont, however, as the Catamounts won the region by four points.

“The team got stronger physically, plus I have five or six new riders,” said head coach Sally Batton, accounting for the turning point in Dartmouth’s fall season. “This system of riding where you go ride horses that you’ve never been on before, it takes a little getting used to.”

The team was in Ocala, Florida during spring break, soaking in the sun and training on high-quality horses in warm weather at Pemberton Farm.

Throughout the season, the Big Green earned strong novice rides from Storey Dyer Kloman ’17 and Cristiana Salvatori ’17. Two freshmen riding in the open class, Lilly Higgins ’20 and Sophie Lenihan ’20, also brought in consistent team points. Lenihan was reserve high point rider in her first collegiate show at Middlebury College and placed first in Open Fences twice during her debut season.

Not to be outdone, Olivia Champ ’19 ­­— also riding in the open class — was high point rider at two shows of her own, winning both Open Fences and Open Flat at Colby-Sawyer College on Oct. 22 and at Endicott College on Oct. 30. Consistent outstanding rides made Champ high point rider for Zone 1 Region 2, qualifying her to compete for the Cacchione Cup at the national championship in May.

Dartmouth will be sending 10 individual athletes to Regionals, and some are likely to advance to Zones by placing top-two in their class. Lenihan, competing against just one other rider in the Open Fences, is already a lock for Zones. It’s difficult to say whether any riders will make it past Zones to compete with Champ at the national championship; to do so, they will have to beat out 11 other top riders from around New England. Two Dartmouth riders, Catherine Conway ’17 and Lindsay Seewald ’16, did so last season.

Men’s Golf

Men’s golf will be looking to make some noise in the spring. 

Leading the way for the men are John Lazor ’19, Ian Kelsey ’18 and Sean Fahey ’17. Kelsey returns after a strong fall which saw him as Dartmouth’s low-scorer three of four times during the season and with a second place finish at the Ivy League Championships last year. After a strong freshman campaign, Lazor, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and winner of the Yale Invitational, is turning in a very strong sophomore campaign. 

The team lost Charles Cai ’16, who placed ninth at the Ivy League Championships in his senior year. But freshman Will Bednarz ’20 has already started to make an impact for the team, including as the low-scorer for the Big Green on the second day of the Furman Intercollegiate.

Head coach Rich Parker said that this year’s Ivy League Championships are the team’s primary focus.

“We have a talented a group of kids and the countdown has begun to the Ivy Championship,” Parker said. 

The team is currently ranked sixth in the Ivy League in the polls, but Parker is confident in his team.

“There are better teams on paper, but our sport is settled on the course,” he said.

Women's Golf

The Big Green women’s golf team has placed last in the Ivy League on three separate occasions during head coach Alex Kirk’s four seasons at the helm. If fall results are any indication, the team could fare better this season.

Dartmouth impressed with two early-season top-five finishes. The Big Green beat out Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and Brown University in the Princeton Invitational, its second tournament of the fall. Ivy League foes Columbia University and Yale University finished ahead of Dartmouth in first and third, respectively. The next weekend, the Big Green went on to best Princeton, Penn and Brown in the Yale Invitational, though Dartmouth was nipped by Columbia, Yale and Harvard.

Multiple Big Green golfers stood out during fall play. Maddie Nelson ’20 made a big first impression in the Dartmouth Invitational when she tied for fifth overall. Catharine Roddy ’19 was the top Dartmouth golfer at Princeton. And at Yale and Delaware, Julia Calbi ’19 led the team. Meanwhile, at this weekend’s Babs Steffens Invitational in DeLand, Florida, Jamie Susanin ’17 shot a one-under 71 on the first day, tied for best first round in the field of 62. Roddy was one shot behind in third.

Further spring results will make matters clearer. But as it stands, the Big Green looks to be a good bet to beat at least Brown in the Ivy Championship, and Dartmouth could be within striking distance of other opponents.

Men's Lacrosse

The men’s lacrosse team took the field in February hoping to put 2016 in the rear-view mirror. So far, the Big Green’s record hasn’t shown much improvement.

Dartmouth went 1-13 last season, its lone victory a 13-12 triumph over the University of Michigan. Following a 14-7 loss to Harvard University on Sunday, the team — picked to finish seventh in the Ivy League preseason poll — is now off to a 1-6 start. The team returned all of its double-digit goal-scorers from the 2016 campaign, including All-Ivy honorable mention midfielder Jack Korzelius ’18, but the Big Green also has a lot of youth. The squad added 12 members from the Class of 2020, and six of those freshmen have played in all seven games this season. Ben Martin ’20 has 10 goals and 11 points, and Harlan Smart ’20 follows Martin with nine points.

Captain Jack Connolly ’16 described the start of the season as a learning process while the younger players became accustomed to the system and speed of Division I play.

“It takes a little while to get your sea legs under you, but at this point, we’re looking at those guys to draw on their game experience in the first six games and kind of consider them to be experienced players,” Connolly said.

The Big Green has bettered its defensive numbers from last season. In 2016, Dartmouth trailed the rest of the Ivy League, allowing 12.58 tallies per game. Through the first seven contests of this season, Dartmouth has allowed 12.14 goals per game, fifth in the conference. Netminder George Christopher ’20 has started all seven games, boasting a 0.475 save percentage.

However, the back of the net continues to elude the Big Green, just as it did last year. The team’s 7.43 goals per game are an improvement from 6.36 last season, but that mark is still worst in the Ivy League by more than three goals per game. Shot quality is likely part of the problem. Dartmouth is scoring on just 20.4 percent of its shots, last in the league by a wide margin.

Can the Big Green make the Ivy League tournament for the first time in program history? If the youngsters turn a corner and the offense begins to fire on all cylinders, perhaps — but next year is a more likely target.

Women's Lacrosse

In the span of two months, the Big Green women’s lacrosse team graduated one of its best-ever players in Jaclyn Leto ’16 and lost its head coach amid allegations of misconduct. Expecting a slump after the tumultuous offseason? Think again.

The women’s lacrosse team won its first four games and had a shot at cracking the Inside Lacrosse top 25 before losing its last three in a row. However, the last two losses came against the University of Southern California and Princeton University, the No. 4 and No. 5 teams in the nation. The Big Green has a good chance to get back on track against 1-7 Siena College on Wednesday.

The Big Green has scored 89 goals this season and allowed the same number from its opponents. Dartmouth is now scoring 12.71 goals per game, a big improvement on the 9.0 goals the team averaged last year. With scoring machine Leto gone — she tallied 53 alone last year — the offensive output is now spread more evenly. Five members of the Green and White have double-digit goals. Courtney Weisse ’17 leads the team with 19, already well past the 13 she scored last year.

In the absence of Leto, “even some of the older girls on the team are going through a process of finding their confidence in their game and shooting more than they’ve ever shot before and taking more opportunities in games,” head coach Danielle Spencer said. “We’re kind of going through the growing process for some of those girls who will eventually be threats for us.”

The team has averaged nearly 15 more shots per game than 2016, while Big Green opponents have averaged almost 10 more. Spencer named two things driving up the numbers: more aggressive play from Dartmouth and an NCAA rule change implementing a 90-second shot clock.

Now, a confident but frustrated Dartmouth team heads into a grueling month. During the next three-week stretch, the team will play two games per week against the likes of No. 11 University of Pennsylvania, No. 19 Boston College and on-the-bubble Harvard University.

In the games to come, Spencer aims to further increase the offensive output and tighten up on defense. But for a team that is already 0-2 in the conference, even that might not be enough to make the Ivy League tournament. Dartmouth will likely need wins against Yale University, Brown University and Penn to have a shot at the postseason — and a victory over Harvard wouldn’t hurt either.

Women’s Rowing

Coming off a successful fall season, women’s rowing looks to contend for a qualifying spot for the NCAA National Championships this year.

Head coach Linda Muri seems encouraged by the team’s progress this past fall and winter.

“We’re looking forward to improving on last year’s results,” Muri said. “We had a very solid indoor training season – lot of personal records on the ergometer – so that’s encouraging. I thought we were looking a lot better this past fall, so we’re ahead of the game.”

Last year, the team placed sixth at the Ivy League Championships. Although the team lost Caroline Allan ’16, Mackenzie Garrity ’16, Audrey Landis ’16 and Sarah McGowan ’16, among others, to graduation, the team returns to action with a strong freshman class that has already made a name for itself in the fall. Look for Lilienne Sexton ’20, Elisabeth Fawcett ’20 and Samantha Hawley ’20, all of whom rowed as part of the B crew at the Foot of the Charles last November to thrive this season.

“We have a very energetic and driven freshmen class, and we’re looking for them to add a little spark,” Muri said. “I expect some of [the freshmen] to be in the top boats.”

Muri will be looking to Rebecca Conway ’19, who won the C.R.A.S.H.-B. sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships with a time of 6:58.0, to lead the way.

The team will hope to set the tone for the spring season at the Doc Hosea Invitational on April 2, where they will race against 10 of the top teams from the northeast, according to Muri.

They will then turn to a full slate of regular season races in preparation for the Ivy League Championships on May 14. Muri believes that given the strength of the conference, the top three or four teams at Ivies should qualify for NCAAs.

“If we can make it into the top half at the Ivies, that would be really significant,” Muri said.

Men’s Heavyweight Rowing

The Heavyweight rowing team is excited for the upcoming spring racing season. Coming off of a strong spring season last year, the team hopes to return to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta, where they placed 14th last year.

The team lost some key members of their fastest boat, including Bobby Moffitt ’16, Brad Plunkett ’16 and Greg Zales ’16. A successful fall racing season, however, revealed some new freshmen who could be making an impact. Joseph Carleo ’20 sat in the seventh seat of the championship boat at Head of the Charles. Also making an impact in the freshman rowing squad are Weston Gordon ’20, Mark Levinson ’20 and William Berkowitz ’20.

Head coach Wyatt Allen is excited about the team’s outlook given the team’s progress over the fall and in the winter.

“As a group, we saw fast times and solid results in our fall racing,” Allen said. “The majority of our team made significant gains in their fitness over the winter, and if we can capitalize by finding the same chemistry and grittiness they raced with in October and November, we should take a big step forward in 2017.”

Over the winter, several of the men competed in the C.R.A.S.H.-B. sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships. Senior captain Spencer Furey ’17 won the overall championships with a time of 5:54.6. Right behind him in second was teammate Nevin Cunningham ’17 with 5:56.2, and in sixth was Scott Ortlip ’17 with a time of 6:02.5. Expect these three to be leading the way for the team on the water this spring.

The focus of this season will be qualifying for the IRA Regatta from June 2 to 4 and improving on last year’s performance, as well as a strong performance at the EARC Sprints Regatta on May 14.

Men’s Lightweight Rowing

Lightweight rowing brings a young team to the water this spring, having lost only one rower from its first varsity boat in Ian Kennedy ’16 and one from their second varsity boat in Matthew Marcus ’16 at the EARC Sprints Regatta.

The team returns many mainstays of their top boats from last spring, including captain David White ’17 and Robert Van Voorhis ’18.

Look for Seamus Hall ’20, Daniel Perez ’20 and Ryan Robinson ’20 to make an impact this season. At the Princeton Chase, Perez and Robinson both rowed as part of the first boat.

The team is looking to improve on their performance at EARC Sprints, where they placed ninth last year and advanced all of their boats to the IRA Regatta, as well as hopefully secure a berth to the IRA Regatta in June.

Lightweight rowing is coming off of a fall season where their varsity A boat placed 13th at the Princeton Chase.

Women’s Rugby

Dartmouth returns to the women’s rugby scene as the reigning Ivy League champions in the fifteens this past fall and will look to capitalize on their success to improve on last year’s fourth place finish in the Ivy League Sevens tournament.

The team lost top contributors in Yejadai Dunn ’16 and Tatjana Toeldte ’16 but brought in 15 freshmen. 

Expect Isabel Boettcher ’20, Danielle Ramsay ’19, Frankie Sands ’19 and Kat Ramage ’19 to lead the way for women’s rugby this spring. The three upperclassmen were recognized as All-Americans, with Morgan McGonagle ’18 receiving honorable mention. Boettcher led the team in points in the fall, with 10 tries and two assists. Ramage was second on the team in scoring and among the best in the nation with over 20 successful conversions in 2016.

Dartmouth kicks off the season against Brown University, before contesting the Ivy 7’s Championship on April 23 and the NIRA Varsity 7’s Championship on April 30, both in Hanover. The team will then head to State College, Pennsylvania to play in the Penn State 7’s Tournament and with luck will close their season at the USA Rugby College 7’s National Championship in late May and the Collegiate Rugby Championships in early June.

Softball

The start to the 2017 season has been rough for softball. With a record of 1-18-1, the team will look to turn things around in the remaining games of the season.

The team is coming off of a difficult spring break, which saw them win one game against University of California, Riverside but lose six games at the Loyola Marymount Invitational and four additional games after the tournament.

Dartmouth lost star shortstop Katie McEachern ’16, who was twice named the Ivy League Player of the Year and named to the NFCA Northeast All-Region First Team as a senior, as well as pitcher Morgan McCalmon ’16, who was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2014.

The team returns, among others, Karen Chaw ’17, who was named First Team All-Ivy, as well as Maddie Damore ’17, Morgan Martinelli ’19 and Lourlin Lara ’18, all of whom were named Second Team All-Ivy in 2016. Damore leads the team with a .340 batting average in the 2017 season, with freshmen Calista Almer ’20 and senior Alyssa Jorgensen ’17 also making an impact at the plate this season.

Next up are Ivy League opponents Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania on March 31 and April 1, respectively, before turning to North Division opponents Brown University, Yale University and Harvard University. Last year, Dartmouth finished the season 27-15 overall, with a 15-5 conference record, placing second in the North Region.

Men's Track & Field

After pausing for finals, the men’s track and field team geared back up for the outdoor season during spring break. The team left March 14 for North Carolina, where it competed at the Bob Davidson Spring Kick-Off and the Raleigh Relays.

The outdoor season adds a different mix of events where Dartmouth has been strong in recent years. Throwers Lucas Ribeiro ’19, Colin Minor ’18 and Tim Brennan ’17, among others, should continue to find success in the shot put, hammer and discus. In the javelin, Ben Colello ’18 and Cole Andrus ’20 will look to fill the shoes of Jacob Shippee ’16, the then-senior who notched the second-farthest throw in the Ivy League last season. Nico Robinson ’17 and Ben Ose ’19 should perform even better in the decathlon than in the heptathlon, in which they finished second and third, respectively, at Indoor Heps. The graduation of senior distance runner Joey Chapin ’16 was also a blow to the team, but the Big Green can expect Daniel Salas ’17 to represent it well in Chapin’s top event, the 10,000-meter run.

Most events remain the same between the indoor and outdoor seasons. Corey Muggler ’17, who took fourth place in both the triple jump and long jump at Indoor Heps, figures to be a force in the spring. Muggler’s partner in the triple jump, Justin Donawa ’19, won the event at the Raleigh Relays and will be a name to watch in the outdoor season. Also on the field, Second Team All-Ivy League pole vaulter Max Cosculluela ’17 will look to translate his indoor success to the outdoor arena.

Jumps, throws and multi-events scored many of Dartmouth’s points in the 2016 Outdoor Heps, and 2017 will feature more of the same. Cornell University and Princeton University will likely dominate this year’s event, as they have for the past decade, but Dartmouth stands a chance to match or better its fifth-place finishes from the past three years.

“I like to think we can build on the momentum we established during indoors,” head coach Barry Harwick said.

Women's Track & Field

When the women’s track and field team stepped into Leverone on the Monday after Indoor Heps, the scoreboard clock was already ticking: 69 days until Outdoor Heps.

“The mindset is we really don’t have time to rest,” head coach Sandy Ford-Centonze said.

In 2016, the team graduated its latest batch of national talent: Kaitlin Whitehorn ’16, first-team All-American high jumper, and Dana Giordano ’16, a first-team All-American in the 1500-meters. After losing a talented crop of seniors, the team may slip slightly from its fifth-place showing at the 2016 Outdoor Heps, but the Big Green should not be counted out.

Helen Schlachtenhaufen ’17 won the mile at Indoor Heps, and she figures to pick up where Giordano left off in the 1500m. Multi-eventer Maria Garman ’19 can’t quite soar to Whitehorn’s heights, but she has the skills to place in the top five in the high jump.

Elsewhere on the field, Julia Valenti ’20, who finished third in the pole vault at Indoor Heps, should be able to continue her success in the spring. In the throws, Dartmouth’s best hopes are Amelia Ali ’19 and Melissa Dunham ’17, the latter of which placed sixth in the discus at the 2016 Outdoor Heps. Olivia Wiener ’19, a second-team All-Ivy performer in the javelin in 2016, should continue to shine for the Big Green.

On the track, Dartmouth will be competitive, but not dominant. After earning sixth in the 500-meters during Indoor Heps, Claire Dougherty ’20 looks to be be similarly competitive in the 400-meters. Bridget Flynn ’18, coming off a sixth-place finish in the 800-meters at Indoor Heps, figures to be a solid performer in the same event during the outdoor season. Garman, who turned in a fifth-place performance in the Indoor Heps pentathlon, figures to put up solid numbers in the heptathlon during the outdoor season.

Electric freshman Cha’Mia Rothwell ’20 was the x-factor in the indoor season and will likely continue to set records in the spring. At the Bob Davidson Spring Kick-Off over spring break, she ran the 100-meter hurdles in a Dartmouth-record 13.69 seconds. She will also continue to compete in the long jump for the outdoor season after winning the event at Indoor Heps.

Even with Rothwell’s heroics at Indoor Heps, the Big Green took sixth this year, down from third last year. The team may slip a spot or two at Outdoor Heps as well, from fifth place in 2016.

Men's Tennis

At this point last spring season, the men’s tennis team was 12-7 and headed for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1997. Today, the men end their spring break trip 7-10 and have lost six of seven matches against ranked teams. What happened between 2016 and 2017?

Here’s part of it: Brendan Tannenbaum ’16 and Dovydas Sakinis ’16 are gone. Tannenbaum earned All-Ivy first team honors in a 2016 doubles campaign that saw him and partner George Wall ’17 hit the national rankings for their final five matches. Sakinis was one of the best players in program history. The Siauliai, Lithuania native was named Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Region Player of the Year his senior year. He peaked at No. 18 in the nation.

Now both have graduated, and the team is feeling the impact. Last season, Ciro Riccardi ’18 held down the No. 2 position while Sakinis took on other teams’ top players at No. 1. Now that Riccardi has taken over No. 1, he is 5-11 overall and winless in four matches against ranked players. Max Fliegner ’18 has spent much of the season in the No. 2 spot and seen his record drop to 5-9 after going 16-5 last season. The decline has been most pronounced at No. 1 and No. 2, but Dartmouth’s winning percentages are down at every position in singles and doubles.

Even so, the season is not without bright spots. Dartmouth has played two of its ranked opponents, the University of Memphis and University of Minnesota, to slim 4-3 losses, and the Big Green concluded spring break with a 4-2 win over No. 46 University of South Alabama. Charlie Broom ’20 has impressed at No. 3 and No. 4, amassing an 11-3 record in dual match play.

In the Ivy League, Cornell University, Columbia University, and Yale University are ranked in the ITA top 50. Though Dartmouth has the worst record of the Ancient Eight, the Green and White could surprise. Another NCAA tournament bid might be out of the question, but the men’s tennis team can still make things interesting in conference play.

Women's Tennis

Over the past three seasons, the women’s tennis team has been as good as any Big Green program. This year, the group carries a sparkling 12-2 record heading into league play.

The Big Green was good last season, but not quite this good. In 2016, Dartmouth peaked at No. 32 to start the season before playing to a 13-6 overall record. This season, the Big Green are winning more at every position and have been ranked as high as 20 in the nation. A big part of the increase is the resurgence of Taylor Ng ’17. Playing at No. 1, Ng posted an incredible 22-1 record during her sophomore year but slumped to 10-8 last year. Now with a 10-4 record in dual match play as a senior, she appears to have regained some of her sophomore form. Jacqueline Crawford ’17 has also stepped up to the plate in a big way. Crawford played her sophomore and junior seasons at the No. 4 position. With the graduation of Katherine Yau ’16, Crawford has moved up to the No. 2 singles position and posted a 7-5 record. Kristina Mathis ’18 and Julia Schroeder ’18, playing at No. 3 and No. 4, have also amassed winning records.

Two freshmen have proved to be revelations for the Big Green. Racquel Lyn ’20 has stepped into the No. 5 position and thrived, going 11-3 on the season. Chuyang Guan ’20 has spent much of the season at No. 6, where two spring break wins have helped her to a mark of 7-1.

Over the past several years, coach Bob Dallis has emphasized a philosophy he calls “playing green.”

“It’s knowing what shots you own and making sure you attempt to go for those shots, and if you are successful going for your shots, you know you did the right thing and you played green,” Dallis said.

If the team looks to improve anything heading into the Ivy slate, it would be doubles play. Mathis and Ng are now 8-5 at the No. 1 doubles position, a year after posting a 14-1 mark. At No. 3, the duos of Crawford/Allison McCann ’20 and Crawford/Lexxi Kiven ’18 are a combined 6-6.

Regardless of doubles play, the No. 39 Big Green are the undisputed favorites to win the Ivy League, and another NCAA tournament berth looks more likely with every match.

Correction Appended March 28, 2017:

The original article incorrectly stated that the Yale University men’s tennis team was the only Ivy League team ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association top 50. This article has been updated to reflect that the Cornell University and Columbia University teams are also ranked.