Spring freshman athletes make across-the-board contributions

by Cody Fujii and Mark Cui | 4/3/17 2:15am

Hollye Swinehart | The Dartmouth

Charlie Broom ’20

Hailing from Hertfordshire, England, Charlie Broom ’20 grew up surrounded by indoor tennis centers. With his parents’ encouragement, he first began playing tennis at the young age of two. By the age of 10, Broom had quit soccer and was fully committed to improving his tennis game. As he accumulated more accolades, including competing at Junior Wimbledon and reaching the semifinals of the U18 National Championship in the United Kingdom, Broom looked to continue playing tennis at an American college.

“I was always set on going to an American university from a sports perspective [because] the quality of sports is significantly better than in the U.K.,” Broom said. “I talked to the men’s coach and got along really well with him. I saw that Dartmouth had strong academics and was a really good fit.”

Broom noted that it took a while for him to transition into college life and that the time commitment required of tennis sometimes clashed with academics. Support from his teammates has helped him to manage his time.

“Balancing is tough, but it’s something you have to go through and will make you a tougher person,” Broom said. “We are a very close-knit team, and we hang out when we have time. The upperclassmen have been very supportive and have always been there whenever I need help.”

On the Dartmouth tennis team, Broom has already strung together impressive performances. Last week, he won both his doubles and singles matches against No. 46 University of South Alabama. When approaching big matches and points, Broom tries to focus more on the present rather than the results.

“It’s all about just focusing on the point I’m about to play and not [concentrating] on the result,” Broom said. “That’s when I play my best tennis.”

Broom hopes that the team can continue to perform well as it begins to face other Ivy League teams. In terms of his individual goals, he wants to further improve his play as the season progresses.

“I’ve been able to improve over my time here,” Broom said. “The wins will come as I continue to play better.”

Racquel Lyn ’20

Racquel Lyn ’20 began playing tennis at the age of seven, initially following the lead of her brothers, though quickly surpassing them in ability. She built a formidable resume of tennis accomplishments in her hometown Houston, Texas, including leading her high school to four straight Texas Association of Private and Parochial School state championships and winning four consecutive state singles titles without dropping a set. After high school, she found Dartmouth to be an ideal college choice.

“The size, academics and team were just a perfect fit for me,” Lyn said. “I was really excited to be part of a team that really [supports] each other [and focuses] on playing our best each day. I had also met a couple of [alumni] on the tennis teams, including one from Houston, who were really influential in my decision to come to Dartmouth.”

The upperclassmen have played an important role in guiding her as she transitions into college life.

“All the upperclassmen have been really great,” Lyn said. “They have helped me pick classes, manage my time here, balance tennis and academics at the same time and [use] those traveling times allotted to get a headstart on work.”

One of her most memorable moments this season was reaching the semifinals in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Regionals with co-captain Taylor Ng ’17. She also enjoyed the recent stretch of matches in California from March 18 to 24. Not only did the team win three out of the four matches, but the week also proved to be quality bonding time that brought the team closer.

Sitting at 12-3, the team looks poised to make a deep Ivy League tournament run. Throughout the season, head coach Bob Dallis has maintained a unique approach that emphasizes the present rather than the future results.

“[Dallis] says that there are no expectations,” Lyn said. “Our goal is to be the best that we can be and play the hardest that we can. If that leads to an Ivy League Championship, then that’s great.”

Lyn herself has also played very well at Dartmouth, securing several important wins. She emphasizes a “playing green” approach to her matches.

“My mindset is ‘playing green,’ or playing with confidence and to the strength of my abilities,” Lyn said. “I know that I can play great, and that it is all up to me.”

For the rest of the season, Lyn hopes to maintain her positive mentality and strong work ethic.

“One of my goals is to be positive and support my teammates to the best that I can,” Lyn said. “Another goal is to play hard each match and every point. One point could define the whole match.”

Cha’Mia Rothwell ’20

Cha’Mia Rothwell ’20 first began running at the age of six by pure chance.

“I was outside and wanted to go to a friend’s house across the street,” Rothwell said. “I took off running, and my mother and grandmother noticed that I was kind of fast. They put me in track, and for the first couple of years, I was just going through the motions. Once I started to realize I had some potential, I started to take it more seriously. But basically, I kind of just got thrown into it.”

Although Rothwell also won several high school accolades for competitive basketball, she decided to stick with track. As a Durham, North Carolina native, Rothwell noted that the decision ultimately came down to Dartmouth and Duke University. She chose Dartmouth for its tight-knit team and due to the prospects of competing under an excellent coach.

“The main thing that set Dartmouth apart was [Dartmouth women’s track and field head coach Sandy Ford-Centonze],” Rothwell said. “She’s an excellent coach, and the team just felt like home. It was unlike any other school I had taken visits to. Everyone has genuine relationships with each other on the team, and everyone looked out for each other.”

Although Rothwell noted that the fast pace of the academics have been challenging thus far, she has seamlessly transitioned into Dartmouth both socially and athletically. She has already broken several long-standing Dartmouth track and field records. Her favorite individual moment so far is her performance in the 60-meter hurdle race at the Indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championship at the Armory Track in New York, where she won the event and broke the Heps meet record.

“It was just so amazing to be in that moment, and to do what I did and share that with my teammates, coaches and family,” Rothwell said. “I felt a little pressure coming in, but I was really happy with my time.”

Another key to her record-breaking success on the track has been her calm mindset approaching major competitions.

“I really just want to go in as relaxed as I can with the mindset of just knowing that I don’t have to do anything new or spectacular, and that all the training will speak for itself,” Rothwell said. “I always want to beat my personal best.”

For the outdoor season, she hopes to continue to build upon her outstanding performances during the indoor season, and stay healthy.

“I want to break some more records in the outdoor season and continue to build upon what I’ve already done,” Rothwell said.

In addition, she remains optimistic that the team will continue to improve as the season progresses.

“As a team, we are looking forward to outdoor Heps, especially since I don’t think we lived up to expectations in indoor Heps in terms of scoring,” Rothwell said. “I know that we are capable of scoring highly in the outdoor Heps.”

Sophie Lenihan ’20

Sophie Lenihan ’20 is a rising star on the Dartmouth equestrian team from Hingham, Massachusetts. In addition to equestrian, Lenihan also participated in soccer and track and field during her time at Milton Academy, though she affirms that equestrian was her primary focus. Because Milton Academy did not have an equestrian team, she independently participated in horse shows around the country.

Lenihan chose equestrian as her principal sport because of the community and her love for animals.

“Equestrian is really unique in that there is a lot of interaction between the player and [his or her] horse,” Lenihan said. “Even though in college equestrian the horse pairings are randomized, I still enjoy that interaction. Also, the equestrian community is very close because it is a unique sport.”

In fact, the equestrian team was the main draw in Lenihan’s decision to attend Dartmouth.

“I chose Dartmouth because of the equestrian team,” Lenihan said. “It was a club sport at all the other schools I was looking at, and it is varsity at Dartmouth.”

The transition to being a varsity athlete at Dartmouth has been a positive experience for Lenihan.

“My practice schedule has helped me stay on top of my academic work,” Lenihan said. “The really great community of the team has also eased the adjustment period at Dartmouth.”

Lenihan hopes that she can help build upon the success of the equestrian team last season.

“Last season we won [the Ivy Championship], and I hope we can achieve that again this season,” Lenihan said.

Besides equestrian, Lenihan’s hobbies include photography and traveling. She is also a certified elephant trainer and would like to pursue a career in education.