Spring athletes look forward to training trip destinations

by Cecily Kaya | 2/28/07 6:00am

While most students look forward to spending their spring break blowing off steam built up during Winter term, others will be heading off on spring training trips to work even harder. The training trips serve to build team cohesion and to focus the athletes on their sports.

Megan Sobel, senior assistant athletic director, pointed out a few benefits of going away to train as opposed to staying in Hanover for break.

"It's definitely harder for some sports to train outdoors when there's snow on the ground, and indoors just isn't the same," Sobel said. "Ivy League competition hasn't started, [so] Dartmouth relies upon outside competition to prepare for their seasons."

The spring trips are made possible by the teams' individual efforts to fundraise, and private donations play a large role in the funding process. Most importantly, coaches determine the when and where of the trips, as in how near a beach a trip will be and how much time the team will have to enjoy it. This year some varsity teams will be heading to sun-bathed vacation spots including Florida, Arizona and California. The crew team will be heading to Tennessee.

Women's tennis will cap off its winter season with a rewarding trip down to Florida, where the team will head to Naples, then Orlando and Tampa. While there, the Big Green women will face off against several highly ranked teams within the NCAA Division I conference, in hopes of improving their own placement.

"We were just informed that we've been added to the rankings at 71 and we're looking to move up a few spots," co-captain Kerry Snow '07 said. "Some of the teams that we'll be playing are ranked in the 30's and it'll be the best competition we've seen so far."

Baseball, softball and women's golf will also be heading down to Florida for training. Baseball will be at the IMG Academy at Bradenton competing against teams from the Northeast and Midwest, while softball will be at the University of South Florida's Speedline Invitational.

Women's golf will be at Daytona Beach at the Embry Riddle Golf Classic from March 18 to 20 before heading up to William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., for three days of competition.

Men's tennis will be out in California from March 17 to 25 competing against teams from some of the larger schools such as Iowa, Utah, Loyola Marymount, Cal Poly Technical Institution, and UC Santa Barbara.

"It'll be fun to really focus on the outdoor aspect since we've been playing indoors all term," men's tennis captain Dave Waslen '07said.

Men's and women's track will be out in Scottsdale, Arizona from March 14 to 25 enjoying the sun and competition at the Arizona State Invitational. Roughly 20 women and 20 men are chosen from the entire team to represent Dartmouth at the invitational, making it quite an honor to be selected to attend. The team spends most of the week preparing for the two days of competition, and while there is an intense amount of work, the downtime in between is much anticipated.

"It's a lot of fun because you're in a warm climate with a bunch of your friends and away from campus," team member Karen Woolley '09 said . "Also, I think it impacts our spring season a lot -- the extra competition is like a precursor to the actual outdoor season."

Men's and women's crew are headed for Oak Ridge, Tenn. for their annual spring training trip. In the past the squads had flown down Miami to train, but in recent years Tennessee has become the destination of choice. The teams will be there from March 14 to 24 to prepare for the spring.

Men's soccer will also be having a spring training trip this year, but not just to any coastal state or balmy-weathered region. The team will be taking its international trip to Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland to compete against U-20 professional clubs in the region. The team recently finalized the plans to travel overseas and many of the players are excited about the news.

"We're looking forward to the foreign competition," Brian Lappas '08 said. "We'll play some reputable clubs over there and the level of competition will be pretty close with ours."

Most athletes tend to look forward to such opportunities as a chance to bond with their teammates and prepare for the upcoming season.

"It makes it a long time being away from home from January to June," Waslen said, "but its very fortunate to go to nice facilities and places to train."

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