Five seniors reflect on careers, banner year for Big Green

by Gayne Kalustian | 6/7/14 6:07am

After thousands of hours spent practicing, Dartmouth is saying goodbye to over 180 seniors who have contributed to Big Green varsity athletics. Athletes found success across the field, courts, ice and track.

And in many sports, recognition took the form of titles and championships — softball took home its first-ever Ivy League championship, baseball won its seventh consecutive Red Rolfe title and women’s sailing successfully defended its national title. These titles came alongside defining moments for team play, including football blocking Princeton University from grabbing a perfect conference season and the women’s track and field team claiming its best result since 1996 at the Indoor Heptagonal Championships. The Dartmouth sat down with five graduating seniors who recounted their last four years in the green and white and discussed future plans.

Taylor Boldt ’14: Men’s Ice Hockey

Honored by his teammates this season for his strength of character and spirit as the McInnis Award recipient, Boldt finished his Dartmouth career having played 129 games — the seventh most in team history. While at the College, Boldt, the assistant captain, said he learned to balance the demands of a Division I team and an Ivy League education.

The team caught fire at the end of the season, giving seniors a memorable finish to the year. After defeating Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the first round of the ECAC championship tournament, the team lost to would-be national champions Union College in the quarterfinals.

Boldt’s greatest memory, he said, was making it to the ECAC Final Four his freshman year.

After a lifetime on the ice, the economics major will head to Connecticut after graduation to work for GE Capital.

“For me it was kind of time for a change,” Boldt said. “It’s been hockey for all these years, but now it’s time to move on and find something else.”

Annie Hart ’14: Nordic Skiing

With five All-American honors under her belt, Hart has been a presence on the Nordic ski team since day one. At the NCAA Championships this season, she finished eighth in the 15-kilometer freestyle and took 11th in the 5-kilometer classic.

The NCAA Championships her sophomore year, Hart said, marked her favorite skiing memory. Hart and two other Dartmouth female athletes scored in the top six in the 15-kilometer classic, which she called “just amazing.”

After graduation, the government major will join a ski team based in Stratton, Vermont. She said she hopes to make the U.S. National team in the coming years.

Dartmouth will leave a lasting impression, Hart said, noting that she appreciated being able to take classes with people who “challenge how she thinks.” Learning to keep herself balanced and happy has been integral to her success.

“The ski team has really helped me to find my own balance and relay that balance to other people,” she said. “You’re only going to be going fast and doing well if you’re happy and in balance, which means sometimes skiing takes a back seat.”

Jeff Keller ’14: Baseball

A two-time captain for the Big Green, Keller became Dartmouth’s 10th most reliable batter ever with a .352 career batting average. Keller also holds the record for most doubles in both a season and career, with 21 and 53 respectively. Selected for the All-Ivy First Team as a junior and finishing the 2013 season 10th in the nation in doubles per game, Keller became a cornerstone of Dartmouth baseball. His experience on the team, he said, was shaped by both the team’s domination of the Red Rolfe Division and the bonds he formed on the diamond.

“I think honestly if I picture it I just see all the guys I play with,” he said. “You spend so much time with them. Those guys become your best friends.”

In 2014, Keller was selected as an Academic All-American for the second year in a row. He is the first Dartmouth student to receive the honor. If offered a contract during or after the MLB draft early this month, Keller said, he will choose to continue playing baseball. If not, the economics major with a 3.96 GPA will work for Bain and Company.

Dominick Pierre ’14: Football

With 1,064 yards in the 2013 season, Pierre powered the Big Green to a 5-2 season in the Ivy League. Dartmouth was the last team standing between Princeton University and an undefeated record at the conclusion of the Tigers’ season, besting Princeton at home by a score line of 28-24.

The victory, with snow falling on Memorial Field, was Pierre’s most memorable experience on the team, he said. At the time, Princeton had a 6-0 record in the Ivy League, and the Tigers averaged almost double the points per game of their opponents.

“There was a lot leading up to that,” Pierre said. “They were talking about how after they beat us they would go down as the best team in the history of the Ivy League.”

Alongside his team, Gamma Delta Chi fraternity provided him with an important community at the College.

The sociology major, who is involved with Athletes United and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, is currently in talks with professional football teams in the U.S. and abroad.

Janna Wandzilak ’14:Equestrian

Wandzilak came to Dartmouth looking for a great education, not a place among the nation’s elite riders. Her freshman year, she did not place at regionals, and her junior year, the team did not see a single first place finish during its season.

By her senior year, however, the team had dramatically improved, placing no lower than fifth in any competition during the regular season, placing first through its first four shows and taking second and third in the next couple competitions. In the Ivy League Championships, the team defeated Cornell University by six points with Wandzilak taking third in the open fences championship.

The team, which took first at Zones by beating Mount Holyoke College, advanced to the IHSA Championship for the first time in its history and finished its season in 10th. At the tournament, Wandzilak scored 11th in open fences.

Passionate about sustainability, Wandzilak is majoring in environmental studies and plans to pursue that interest after graduation.