The D Sports Awards: 2019-20 Rookie of the Year

by Devan Fink , Olivia Morton , Ethan Strauss and Benjamin Ashley | 5/12/20 2:10am

by Dylan Cerveny / The Dartmouth

At the end of each academic year, The Dartmouth sports section nominates athletes to be voted on by the Dartmouth community as the best of the best. In this year’s sports awards, six of the top rookies, six of the top moments, five of the top female athletes and five of the top male athletes will be pitted against each other over the next few weeks, with the winners emerging after a vote by members of the Dartmouth community. 

This year, we are breaking up voting into three one-week voting periods, with all winners to be announced on Tuesday, June 2. 

In this initial installment, The Dartmouth sports section has selected six nominees for Rookie of the Year. In order to vote, students and community members can click on the link below to cast a single ballot before the next installment of The D Sports Awards on Tuesday, May 19. 

Vote here: 

Nominations are listed in order of last name below:

Makenzie Arent ’23 (Women’s Volleyball)

Hailing from Spring, Texas, Makenzie Arent had quite the resume entering Dartmouth. A three-year captain of her high school volleyball team, Arent was named the 2018 Setter of the Year by The Courier, a local Texas newspaper. She made an immediate impact in Hanover, as she was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week on four separate occasions, including back-to-back honors in the first two weeks of the season. Arent appeared in all but one of the team’s 89 sets this season. She led the team in assists with 636, the 12th-highest single-season mark in program history. In the Big Green’s victory over Columbia University on Nov. 15, she had 51 assists alone, her season high. Additionally, Arent added 21 aces in 2019, ranking second on the team, and 239 digs, ranking third. Behind Arent’s effort, the Big Green finished the season 10-15 — including 4-8 in Ivy League play. Arent figures to play a prominent role on the floor for the Big Green for years to come.

Kristin Bitter ’23 (Women’s Rugby)

As a three-sport high school varsity student-athlete, Kristin Bitter had the athleticism to make an impact on the rugby turf during her first season. Hailing from San Diego, Bitter earned placement on the high school All-American Rugby team and played on the under-18 sevens and fifteens U.S. teams before competing for the Big Green. She quickly showcased her talent on the field; Bitter earned five conversions and a try in her first college game against Brown University. Against Quinnipiac University, Bitter scored a season-high 17 points with six conversations and a try. She ended the year ranked first on the team in points (66) and conversions (19) and third in tries (5), scoring at least two points in every game. Her accomplishments on the field led to an honorable mention to the All-National Intercollegiate Rugby Association team. After the season, Bitter earned a spot at USA Rugby Winter Camp, representing the U.S. in U18 competition. These awards, as well as her team leads in two scoring categories for the nationally successful Dartmouth team, defined an impressive freshman year for Bitter.

CC Bowlby ’23 (Women’s Ice Hockey)

Forward CC Bowlby, hailing from Edina, Minnesota, was named the women’s ice hockey team’s Rookie of the Year, a fitting award for a successful freshman season. Bowlby tied for the team lead in goals (10) and was second in points (16). Her Dartmouth career got off to a fast start, as she scored and had an assist in the season opener. Bowlby stepped up when it mattered most, netting two game-winning goals and recording more than half of her points in Ivy League games. Her best game of the year came against the University of Maine, in which she had a three-point performance, leading to a 5-2 win. She also led the team with three power-play goals. Following an outstanding high school career, including three Minnesota State High School Hockey League championships, Bowlby quickly transitioned into the college game with an excellent freshman year.

Jacob Hudgins ’23 (Men’s Heavyweight Rowing)

Jacob Hudgins came to Dartmouth from Andover, Massachusetts, where he was a four-year member of the crew, swimming and water polo teams at Phillips Academy. Hudgins was a four-time conference champion in swimming while in high school and initially started rowing as a high school freshman in order to stay in swimming shape. But rather than swim at Dartmouth, Hudgins took the crew route and excelled in the fall, earning the three position on the Big Green’s A boat. In late October, his boat collected a victory at the Princeton Chase, finishing the three-mile race in 12:52.745, five seconds ahead of the hosting Tigers. Hudgins was one of five Dartmouth rowers — and one of three heavyweight rowers — to be invited to USRowing’s Under 23 Men’s National Team Selection Camp this summer. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has now canceled this event, Hudgins would have been among those vying for a spot on the U.S. Under 23 National Team. 

Tanner Palocsik ’23 (Men’s Hockey)

Coming off a successful career and regular season title in junior hockey with the New Jersey Hitmen, Tanner Palocsik had a stellar debut season with the Big Green. A two-time all-star with the Hitmen, the Aliquippa, Pennsylvania native hit the ice running upon arrival in Hanover. Palocsik quickly became a team staple, consistently dishing out helpers and eventually scoring his first career goal against the No. 1 team in the nation, Cornell University. By the end of his first season, Palocsik found himself as the nationwide leader in points by a rookie defenseman (24) and the runner-up in points among Eastern College Athletic Conference rookies, independent of position. Not only was he named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week in late January after his contributions at Cornell, but he was also the only freshman named to the All-Ivy League Second Team and one of four freshmen to receive All-Ivy recognition. Retiring head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 called him the next Drew O’Connor ’22. As the runner-up in assists among rookie defensemen, Palocsik demonstrated his skill and prowess on the ice throughout the season. 

Allie Winstanley ’23 (Women’s Soccer)

Allie Winstanley began her Big Green career with a record-breaking season, scoring the most goals by a freshman in school history. The Concord, Massachusetts native earned numerous high school accolades and did not skip a beat in her first college season, leading the Ivy League in goals and points as a freshman. Winstanley’s scoring prowess led to her selection to the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Soccer Association First Team All-Region, the United Soccer Coaches First Team All-Region and the Second Team All-Ivy. She shined with the game on the line, as she co-led the Ivy League with three game-winning goals. While she was a top scorer, Winstanley was also a great passer, tying for the team lead in assists with five on the season. A highlight of her season came against Merrimack College when she scored a hat trick en route to a 4-0 win. With a mother who also played soccer in college, Winstanley has already done an excellent job of continuing the family tradition.

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