The D Sports Awards 2017-18: Athletes of the Year

by Samantha Hussey | 5/24/18 2:15pm

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Tanguy Nef ’20 was named to the All-American First Team.

Source: Courtesy of Tanguy Nef

At the end of each academic year, The Dartmouth’s sports section puts up players to be voted upon by the student body as the best of the best. In this year’s The D Sports Awards, five of the top rookies, five of the top female athletes and five of the top male athletes were pitted against each other. The winners emerged only after a popular vote by members of the Dartmouth community. The D is happy to announce the following athletes as the winners of this year’s awards. 

Katharine Ogden ’21 of the women’s Nordic skiing team is The Dartmouth’s Rookie of the Year. 

Ogden received 34.6 percent of the 445 votes placed from May 21 to May 23. During the 2018 NCAA Skiing Championships, Ogden took not one, but two national titles home in a single year — something a Big Green skier has not done in 56 years — and was also the first woman ever to win a cross-country race for the Big Green. Ogden swept the NCAA women Nordic races, finishing the 5K Classic 46.9 seconds ahead of the nearest racer, and winning the 15K Freestyle with a 37.6 second buffer. With Ogden’s contributions, the Big Green maintained its position in third place with 448.5 points, its best finish in seven years, and won four individual events at the NCAA Championships for just the second time ever. Ogden’s impressive showing this year was affirmed when she was named to the Women’s All-East First Team and also earned the title of EISA Women’s Nordic Rookie of the Year and Women’s Classic Leader. 

Cha’Mia Rothwell ’20 of the women’s track and field team is The Dartmouth’s Female of Athlete of the Year. 

Rothwell received 49.2 percent of the 445 votes placed from May 21 to May 23. Rothwell currently has four school records: 60-meter dash (7.45 seconds), 60-meter hurdles (8.28 seconds), long jump (20 feet, 7 inches) and 100-meter hurdles (13.24 seconds). Rothwell was named the Most Outstanding Field Performer for the second year in a row during the Women’s Indoor Ivy League Championships, as well as to the First Team All-Ivy for the 60-meter hurdles and long jump and to the Second Team All-Ivy for the 200-meter dash. For the outdoor season, Rothwell was named to the First Team All-Ivy for the 100-meter hurdles and Second-Team All-Ivy for the long jump. Formerly, Rothwell was also The Dartmouth’s 2016-17 Rookie of the Year. 

What does it mean to you to be recognized by our readers as the Female Athlete of the year?

CR: Obviously, very encouraging and enthusiastic. It makes me feel very supported and that support is needed as a student-athlete sometimes. 

What do you think contributed to your even more dominant performance? 

CR: I think my season last year was pretty wild and shocked a lot of people because I was a freshman, and so when you have that great of a season, the bullseye kind of gets a little bigger because people expect for you to either fall off or get better. So I think I came in and wanted to prove that I could keep up that level of competition. There wasn’t really any change in the way I approached my training. 

What is your goal moving forward into next season and for the rest of your Dartmouth career? 

CR: Next season is for sure Indoor Nationals and Outdoor Nationals. I want to get to both of those. I was first spot out of long-jump for Indoor Nationals this season, which was kind of a bummer but that is definitely high on the list of next year’s priorities. 

What are you looking forward to most now that the season is winding down? 

CR: I think time to recover. Track season can be really long but our recovery is just as important, so I’ll obviously still be training, but it is a really nice opportunity to just wind things down a little bit and bring it back a couple notches and building up once again once we start moving into the fall preseason. 

Tanguy Nef ’20 of the men’s alpine skiing team is The Dartmouth’s Male of Athlete of the Year. 

Nef received 36.4 percent of the 445 votes placed from May 21 to May 23. This season, Nef was named to the All-American First Team after finishing first in the men’s slalom at NCAA Championships. He became the first Dartmouth slalom champion since Karl Johnson in 2006 and is also the first Dartmouth skier to be awarded All-American honors in both the slalom and giant slalom since 2011.

What does it mean to you to be recognized by our readers as the Male Athlete of the year?

TN: It’s a little bit of a surprise. I wouldn’t think of myself as a popularity figure on campus, but it’s also very valorizing. It makes me happy that people do think that, not just the athletic department but also students all around.

What does it mean to you this year to have walked away with the NCAA Slalom title and for Dartmouth Skiing to walk away overall in third place?

TN: It was definitely a great feeling on the personal level, because I came to college with a goal to definitely win NCAAs at some point. I didn’t know if that was going to be possible or anything. I had the chance to experience that my first year; and it didn’t go as expected. This year, I knew that I kind of had a shot and being able to do what you want to do is very valorizing, it’s a great feeling. We did win the overall title for men’s alpine, and in the women’s alpine they didn’t do as well as they wanted to, but it’s just how skiing goes — it can go either way. It can go super well because everything clicks, but it can also go really bad in a split second. It was definitely fun being there with all of the people and receiving all of the support. 

What do you think contributed to your dominant performance this season? 

TN: I like to think of different pillars that support me. I look at it like a table with four legs, so if you lose one you have three more so the table can still hold, but if you lose one more it is basically down. These four are like: friendships and relationships, school, sports and overall well-being. I think I really managed to have all these four working together to make myself not too worried with my performances. I was always able to just like look back at it with a different perspective based on my results and not take it too personally. I remember that second run when I won NCAAs, at the start I was like I can’t really lose anything. Like it matters but it doesn’t matter. It’s not about winning, it’s about how you get to the point. At this point, you don’t have to think about what you have to do like either you have it or you don’t. Being able to have that confidence was definitely key, I think, to a lot of the successes that I’ve had this season and I hope to carry it along next season.

What is your goal moving forward into next season and for the rest of your Dartmouth career? 

TN: There is still a big question mark, because logically the next step would be to perform at the World Cup level, and then World Championships and the Olympics. I also want to get most out of my Dartmouth experience and not just take one term a year like some skiers do, so it’s kind of balancing these two goals without compromising any of them. That will definitely be the tricky part and for next season, right now, I’m planning to come back in the winter, but who knows what is going to come up. If I have a shot to do well in the World Cup, I might choose to do that instead, at least for a season, just give it a shot and see how it goes. I could also definitely see myself being here and having a different focus and being less on the Carnival circuit. It is a bit uncertain at this point, but I think the most important is that I want to get most out of my Dartmouth experience because it is a great experience and as I said, it’s all about the balance.

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.