The D Sports Awards: Hughes '15 voted best male athlete

by Joe Clyne | 5/25/15 6:01pm

After we published our nominees for The Dartmouth Sports Award for best male athlete on Friday, we asked our readers to cast their votes. With more than 500 votes collected over the weekend, Madison Hughes ’15 was chosen as Dartmouth’s best male athlete of the 2014-2015 year, taking a resounding 65 percent of the votes.

In addition to being chosen as Big Green rugby’s first junior to serve as the team’s captain, Hughes captained the United States Eagles sevens squad this year and led the team to a 45-22 win over Australia and its first title in a World Series competition. At the tournament, Hughes was chosen the Player of the Year and named to the Dream Team, his first time receiving the honor.

Though Hughes is the youngest player on the team, he still serves as the national squad’s captain.

The United States finished sixth in the international World Series competition this year, an impressive display coming on the heels of a 13th-place finish in the World Series last year. The top four teams in the scoring automatically qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics in rugby sevens, the first Olympic games to feature a rugby sevens event.

Looking forward, Hughes will look to lead the United States team to its own Olympic bid and a chance to take the field in Rio de Janeiro. On June 13 and 14, Hughes and the Eagles will compete in the North American and Caribbean Olympic qualifiers in North Carolina.

The team is favored to win the automatic bid to the Olympics from the North American and Caribbean region, though it will face some competition from a Canadian national team that beat the Eagles earlier this year.

In the past, Hughes had been recognized as a fullback for the U.S. national under-20 rugby union team.

Hughes was also the top scorer at the 2012 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy and led the U.S. team with four tries.

In competition with the Big Green, Hughes, playing at scrumhalf, led the Big Green to its eighth consecutive Ivy League XVs title and its third-straight Ivy League sevens title this past fall.

He was also an important part of the Big Green’s Collegiate Rugby Championship title defense in 2012. Hughes was the tournament’s third-leading try scorer and was named to the all-tournament team, an honor he would repeat in the next two years as well.

Hughes won the Best Male Athlete award over other nominees Patrick Caldwell ’17 (Nordic skiing), Alex Adelabu ’15 (soccer), Dovydas Sakinis ’16 (tennis) and Dalyn Williams ’16 (football). In last year’s inaugural D Sports Awards, swimmer Nejc Zupan ’14 was named best male athlete.

Stay tuned for the nominees for best freshman and best moment coming in this Friday’s paper.