The D Sports Awards: Best Male Athlete
This year saw major achievements for the Big Green across the athletic spectrum: three Ivy League titles already — women’s cross country, equestrian and softball — and baseball is playing in the Ivy League Championship Series this weekend along with the track and field teams heading to outdoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.
Here at The Dartmouth, we wanted to commemorate the achievements of Dartmouth athletes and teams this past year, which is why we’re introducing the first annual D Sports Awards. Every Thursday in May we will present nominees in a different category, starting this week with the best male athlete. Vote below by noon Sunday, and we’ll announce the winner in Monday’s Sports Weekly.
WILL GEOGHEGAN ’14
Cross country, track and field
Mile, 3,000 meters, distance medley relay
Will Geoghegan ’14 has had a highly successful three seasons in his final year at Dartmouth. In the fall, the senior led the cross-country team to the NCAA championship for the first time since 2005. At the championship meet, Geoghegan won All-American status, taking 14th place, the best finish for a Dartmouth runner since 2002. In the winter indoor track season, he ran a 3:58.04 mile at the January Boston University Terrier Invitational to set a Dartmouth and Ivy League record.
“It’s been one of my biggest goals since I was in junior-high so finally accomplishing that was really special for me,” he said. “Sixty years ago a lot of people thought that it was physically impossible; it’s such a big part of our sport.”
Geoghegan also anchored the Ivy League Heptagonal-champion distance medley relay team and earned another All-American honor in the indoor mile after finishing fifth at NCAA indoor championships.
“Will put the distance running team on the map at the national level and brought attention to the program when he took the all-time Ivy League record,” said Barry Harwick, the men’s cross country and track and field head coach.
DOVYDAS SAKINIS ’16
No. 1 singles, No. 2 doubles
After being forced to sit out his freshman year due to NCAA rules surrounding his transfer from Lithuania, Dovydas Sakinis ’16 has established himself as a major force on the men’s tennis team.
“When you play number one you play the best that every team has, and every team has a good number one player even teams that we beat easily so to carry that load through the year,” head coach Chris Drake said.
The sophomore started at number one singles and took home the title Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Sakinis was the first Dartmouth player ever to win the award. He was also named first-team All-Ivy, the first Dartmouth selection since 2008.
Overall, Sakinis points to just being able to play as a personal highlight of the season but he also took home a key victory against then-No. 79 Francisco Dias from George Washington University and the deciding victory in a dramatic third-set tiebreaker to defeat then-No. 59 Princeton University in Hanover.
“It was really close and really exciting,” he said. “I was dreaming about this experience at some point and it happened.”
SILAS TALBOT ’15Cross country, track and field, Nordic skiing
4xmile relay, 800 meters, 1,500 meters
Silas Talbot ’15 demonstrated his flexibility by contributing in three varsity sports, at least two of which qualified for NCAA championships. His 29th-place finish at the NCAA cross-country regional meet helped the team qualify for NCAAs for the first time since 2005.
“It was sort of the year where I stepped up and made it to the team that contributed to the points,” Talbot said of his experience on the cross-country team this year. “When we were driving back from our regional meet it was a question of whether we were going to be the first team out or the last team in, and we were on the phone with people, and we found out that we made it, and it was a really cool moment.”
In the winter, he transitioned his endurance abilities to the snow in a ski season that culminated with an 11th-place finish in 20-kilometer freestyle race at the NCAA skiing championships. He also earned winter academic All-Ivy recognition. This spring, Talbot helped break a 26-year-old Dartmouth record in the 4xmile relay at the prestigious April Penn Relays.
DALYN WILLIAMS ’16
While the football team officially left the pre-season with two options under center, Dalyn Williams ’16 took control of the starting job early in the season and recorded one of the most productive offensive campaigns in Dartmouth history. Only a sophomore, the dual-threat signal-caller notched 2,685 yards of total offense — the fourth-highest tally in Dartmouth history behind two seasons from ex-NFL quarterback Jay Fiedler ’94 and one from former Arena Football League quarterback Brian Mann ’02. He also finished fifth in the Ivy League in passing and rushing yards per game which earned him an honorable mention All-Ivy.
“He’s a dynamic athlete and is very talented,” passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Chris Rorke said. “He has all the leadership characteristics and a good work ethic as a sophomore. He’s just ultra-competitive, he’s going to leave it all out there and I think the players really respond to that.”
Williams’s personal highlight of the season was the team’s win over then-unbeaten Princeton University, he said.
“They came in expecting to be called the best team in Ivy history after going undefeated,” he said. “It was really exciting to come out and win that game.”
Williams threw for 92 yards and one touchdown in the game in addition to rushing for another 57 and two scores.
NEJC ZUPAN ’14
100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard IM, 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard medley relay
Nejc Zupan ’14 concluded his historic Dartmouth career with another season full of championships and pool records. The senior was named Harold Ulen Career High Point Swimmer at the Ivy League Championships for tallying 361 points in four seasons at Dartmouth. He defended his title in the 200-yard breaststroke and added an Ivy Championship in 100-yard breaststroke for his sixth and seventh career Ivy titles.
“It was sort of a closure to the four years of competition I had with the team,” he said of his competition in the 200 breaststroke at the Ivy championships.
Both times marked new pool records at Harvard University’s Blodgett Pool. Zupan also finished 13th in the 100-yard breaststroke at NCAAs despite missing the A final after falling in a swim-off for the eighth spot. He finished 18th in the 200-yard breaststroke. Zupan also won academic All-Ivy honors.
Head coach Jim Wilson said Zupan “moved us to a position to be competitive in the Ivy League,” noting that the team had perennially been in last place, but that Zupan inspired the team to continue to improve.