Dartmouth's Newest Recruits
A closer look at Dartmouth’s exciting additions from the Class of 2022 for three select teams
Over the past few weeks, Dartmouth’s athletic teams have been busy finalizing their rosters for the upcoming season, including the addition of the new recruits from the Class of 2022. Recently, three teams have announced the additions to their incoming roster: women’s basketball, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
This year, Dartmouth basketball has added five new players to the team’s roster. The decorated Georgia Alexander, from Victoria, British Columbia, was a four-time Provincial All-Star, two-time Island MVP, and was selected to be part of the 2016-17 BC U17 Team as well as the Canada U19 Assessment Training Camp. Two New Jerseyans, Katie “Dougie” Douglas from Medham and Veronica Kelly from Chatham. The squad was completed with two new guards: Spain U18 Final Four Regional Champion Jimena Fuertes, from Gijon, Spain; and Asha Taylor, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Seven new players make up the incoming class for the Dartmouth women’s soccer team. The new members come from all over North America and beyond and feature power players in several positions on the pitch. Among them is Iceland U-17 National Team member Mist Grönvold, from Reykjavik, Iceland; and Kat Grgic, from Mississauga, Ontario, who helped her team win the Ontario Cup in 2017. The team also features two four-time All-League Honorees: Maddie Mills, from Mills Milton, Massachusetts; and Tracey Mills, from Vienna, Virginia and. Rounding the team out are First Team All-State Izzy Glennon, from Sea Cliff, New York; First Team All-Sunset League player Michael Guptill, from Huntington Beach, California; and First Team All-Inter AC 2016 and 2017 player Grace Rorke, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Class of 2022 also added six new players to the volleyball team’s roster. The incoming class of 2022 features players who have impressive resumes and excel both on and off the court. Nicole Liddle, from Los Gatos, California, was the 49ers Cal-Hi Sports CCS Volleyball Club Player of the Year in addition to being selected for the MaxPreps All-American second team and receiving an honorable mention for the UnderArmour All-American team. The incoming class also features two National Merit Commended Scholars in Emma Moffet from Los Angeles, California and Annemarie Horn from Scarsdale, New York. The volleyball roster is rounded out with Jael Campbell from Palos Verdes, California, Bella Hedley from Los Angeles and Francesca Meldrum from New York City.
Dartmouth women’s soccer head coach Ron Rainey noted that new recruits mark an exciting time for teams as they prepare for their respective seasons.
“I really think this group is going to be eager to fit in with the current team, push the team further and be great students and teammates making the experience better for each other,” Rainey said.
The recruiting process for finding potential athletes happens early for some teams. When asked about the timeline of his recruitment process, Dartmouth volleyball head coach Gilad Doron notes that recruitment is an ongoing process of watching players and communicating with them and their coaches and counselors.
“We start usually around sophomore year in high school. We do an evaluation and if they have an interest we [talk over the] phone. With the new NCAA regulations they can’t come for a visit until junior year, but we can get to know them and they get to know us.”
Doron also highlighted club players as a prime target for recruits.
“We’re mostly looking at club players because players on a club will compete in higher level tournaments and also show their commitment to the sport beyond just the fall season,” Doron said.
Recruits have the opportunity to visit campus during their junior and senior year to begin connecting with the team.
“[It] goes a long way giving them the chance to meet each other and put faces to names,” Rainey said.
Rainey emphasized the importance of chemistry between potential recruits and current players.
“A lot of times we have recruits sit down and have a meal, and go to class with [current players], so our players and recruits are able to just get a feel for each other,” Rainey said. “Our current players are going through the experience at Dartmouth, and it’s great because they get to ask questions and potential recruits get to ask questions. For the most part there is a good synergy.”
Doron shared the same sentiment that in order to ensure a team will be successful in the future, it is necessary to ensure that new recruits get along well with their new teammates and form a cohesive unit.
“Team building is always a challenge,” Doron said. “This is our second recruiting class as coaches here, so you still have players that came here before you and players that came here with you. This is going to be a class that we expect more of because we picked them to come and play for us. Every time you [bring in six new players], it’s a big challenge for us as coaches how we mix them and how they grow as a unit, so, it’s on us to make our team stronger. If the kids are here they ultimately want to get better every day and live in the visions that we set forth for them, that is to get better every day and to believe in the process of what it means to be a Dartmouth volleyball player, then the chemistry will follow.”
Despite limited interactions, many players find official visits give potential recruits an idea of what to expect and also provide a lot of excitement for current players.
“We’ve only met them on their official visit so far,” middle blocker Abby Kott ’20 said. “I know there’s a lot of talent in their class, which will bring some competition on the team, so we’re excited about that. They’re super diverse position-wise, which we definitely need.”
Current tri-captain and right side hitter and defensive specialist Maddy Schoenberger ’20 echoed her thoughts.
“I would say that generally, the freshmen on our team right now have a little bit more access to the incoming recruits because they host them on their official [visits], so they get a little bit more interaction with the [recruits] as opposed to sophomores, juniors and seniors,” Schoenberger said. “[The new recruits] come up for their official visit during their senior fall when we’re in season, and they’ll usually come for a weekend when we have two home games to see what our daily routine is on a game day — eating together, warmups, postgame — so they can get a taste of what they’re going to be coming into.”
Coaches try to make a conscious effort to recruit individuals who fit the team not only in play on the court, but also in their personalities and how well they vibe with the current members.
“I think our coaches do a really good job of recruiting people that fit well into our system both culturally and on the court,” women’s basketball guard Cy Lippold ’19 added. “From meeting the five [new recruits], I think that they all have great attitudes and are very invested with maintaining our system and our culture — staying positive all the time and having a growth mindset.”
When it comes to searching for potential new talent, there are often a variety of factors.
“One of the things we’re watching for is positions,” Rainey said. “Sometimes it’s just the impact when they’re playing. There are also the intangibles: how hard they work, how they react when things don’t go their way, how they play with the other team, how they treat their teammates and how they treat the other team.”
Doron also emphasized the importance of adding depth to the team’s roster during the recruitment process, and how that was particularly important with this incoming recruiting class. According to Doron, the team addressed the middle positions with Moffet and Meldrum as additional middles after Kott went down with injury. In addition, for the outside pins, Horn added depth in the setting position.
Doron described the ideal recruit as someone who is not only a good fit for Dartmouth on and off the court, but someone who is willing to invest in their play and in the program.
“I think since we arrived here, our focus is to find someone that is a good fit for Dartmouth both academically and athletically,” Doron said. “For our team vision of trying to build a winning program here for the long haul is finding players who value their athletic experience here as meaningful and they want to invest in it. Dartmouth offers tons of opportunities in so many ways, but what a regular student does versus what an athlete does is different, and so we’re looking for players who are passionate and committed and have the potential to be great teammates who want to do something special while they’re here in the capacity of academics and athletics and on the social scene.”
Doron also highlighted the importance of finding players who can immediately step up in case of an injury.
“In the process, we want players that will help us get better but can also fit to make us a more balanced team in case of an injury,” he said. “The last couple years, when we lost a player to an injury we had little to nobody behind them, so hopefully when we build going into the future we can sustain a situation where players are able to come in.”
Doron added that he and his team look for players who will make an immediate impact in some way.
“If we want to be more competitive, we want to bring in players who are better than what we already have,” he said. “Obviously as we’re training the kids here they’re getting better. Now I think the depth that we bring will add competitiveness in practices which will eventually elevate everyone who plays.”