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For any kid whose favorite scent is fresh-cut grass mixed with a newly opened package of Big League Chew gum, whose idol is Benny “the Jet” Rodriquez from “The Sandlot” (1993) and whose first love was his very first mitt, making it to the big leagues is the ultimate dream.
In his time away from the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club, Madison Hughes ’15 served as acting captain and played scrum half for the United States national team, the Men’s Eagles Sevens, in the HSBC World Series. For the first time, rugby sevens will be included in the Olympics with the United States officially qualifying for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games. Hughes has been chosen once again to captain the team for the first sevens showing at the Games. With Hughes on campus to finish his degree, The Dartmouth sat down to discuss rugby, college and his future plans.
From the outside, last week’s fourth-place finish at the Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women’s National Championships might look like a disappointment for the two-time defending champion women’s sailing team. It might seem a pity that the team’s sole senior, two-time Quantum Women’s Sailor of the Year Deirdre Lambert ’15, went home without any hardware.
The sports season has ended for all but two Big Green athletes — shoutout to track and field’s Dana Giordano ’16 and Kaitlin Whitehorn ’16 for making it to the NCAA Outdoor Championship — and teams are beginning to look forward to next year when the ’15s will be gone and a new class of ’19s will help propel Dartmouth athletic programs in their quests for Ivy League or ECAC titles. As such, that puts our column in a little bit of a bind. But, as dedicated columnists, we decided to call an audible and change our tactics for our final column.
There’s an immediate quality to the appearance of Dartmouth baseball’s third baseman Nick Lombardi ’15 that tells his story in a second. He has an obvious gap in the coloring of the skin tone on his left wrist where the EvoShield he wears while playing baseball mutes the afternoon sun. A white TaylorMade visor pushes froths of hair out of his face and accentuates the leather-like skin on the back of his neck, shaded so dark it could only have come from weeks spent outside during the first “livable” weeks of the Hanover spring.
In a year of moments for Dartmouth sports that included a last-second layup that ultimately knocked the Yale University men’s basketball team out of qualification for its first NCAA tournament since 1962 and the only shutout victory of the season over the then-No. 1 men’s hockey team in the nation Boston University, one moment ultimately stood above the rest to the readers of The D.
After releasing our nominees for The Dartmouth Sports Award for best freshman athlete on Friday, readers submitted more than 500 votes for their favorite freshman. At noon on Sunday, swimmer Taylor Yamahata ’18 was crowned as the Big Green’s best freshman athlete of the 2014-2015 year. Yamahata won the vote by a solid majority, collecting 321 of votes for 63 percent of the total.
This year in Big Green athletics was jam-packed with exciting, inspirational and historic moments. Teams pulled monumental upsets, inscribed their names in the record books and wowed us all with clutch performances. Over the course of a year’s worth of these memorable moments, the five below stuck out as the best of the best. Whether defined by one moment of athletic excellence or a game-long display of technical skill, these moments will remain in the minds of Dartmouth sports fans for years to come.
When most students arrive at the College, they take a while to adjust to their surroundings and to learn how to succeed in Hanover. It is only later in their Dartmouth careers that they begin to produce true greatness, to excel in their chosen fields. For the below nominees for The Dartmouth Sports Awards for best freshman athlete, the above description could not be more false. Whether in tennis, baseball, basketball or swimming, these talented ’18s showed the Dartmouth community just how great the Class of 2018 could be.
Softball captain Kristen Rumley ’15 has had one of the greatest careers in Big Green softball history. She now holds the all-time records for strikeouts with 669 and wins with 46, has pitched the most innings in program history and was the first player to be named the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year for three consecutive years.
After an impressive spring season, the Dartmouth women’s frisbee team — also known as Princess Layout — advanced to the quarterfinals of Nationals this past weekend before falling to the top-seeded University of Oregon. The team, Princess Layout, went 4-2 overall at Nationals with its only two losses coming to Oregon and Stanford University. Oregon and Stanford met in the finals with Oregon taking home the national title.
This week I sat down with the softball team’s Kelsey Miller ’16. Miller plays third base and started 39 out of the 40 regular season games, batting .216 through the season. In the 2015 season, the softball team won its second consecutive Ivy League title, earning its second straight NCAA tournament berth.
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.
Over 260 readers voted to determine the winner of The Dartmouth Sports Awards’ prize for best female athlete. Big Green field hockey’s Ali Savage ’15 took this year’s prize with an impressive 42 percent of the votes.
In many ways, female athletes and women’s sports defined Dartmouth sports news during the 2014-2015 year. The women’s cross country team defended its Ivy League title, the softball team won its second consecutive Ivy League title under first-year head coach Shannon Doepking and athletic director Harry Sheehy announced the women’s rugby team’s impending elevation to varsity status for the 2015-2016 season. As those programs enjoyed exciting news, the nominees below enjoyed phenomenal success on an individual level.
The Big Green enjoyed a year of firsts this year with a national title in equestrian and a first-ever appearance for the women’s tennis team in the NCAA tournament. Nordic skiing also saw its first national title in four years. Dartmouth enjoyed success in the Ivy League as well, winning the Ivy League softball championship for the second consecutive year and tallying four second-place Ivy League finishes — baseball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and football.
It’s probably safe to say that professional rugby player Madison Hughes ’15 has one of the more distinct D-Plans on campus. He has been off-campus for the last two terms of his senior year, completing his assignments while captaining the United States Eagles sevens squad. This past weekend, the Eagles dominated Australia 45-22 to win the Marriott London Sevens Cup final and claim win their first World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series title.
All three rowing teams were in post-season action this weekend, each competing for a bid to their national championship. The No. 12 heavyweight men earned a bid to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Regatta with a varsity finish of 11th at the EARC Sprints Regatta. The lightweight men saw their season come to an end when they missed their qualification to the IRA regatta by one spot, finishing ninth at Eastern Sprints, less than three seconds behind the United States Naval Academy. The women’s crew team was also disappointed, finishing tied with Columbia University for seventh at the Ivy League Championship this weekend, a slight slip from last year’s fifth-place team finish but not enough to earn a NCAA tournament bid. Brown University ultimately took the Ivy crown for the women.
The month between the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship and the beginning of the NCAA Championships provides the track and field teams with one final chance to chase qualifying performances for the NCAA regional meet over the last week of May. The men’s and women’s teams took advantage of this opportunity this past weekend, sending athletes to both the ECAC/IC4A Championships in Princeton, New Jersey, and the New Balance Twilight Meet in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The No. 95 softball team lost both of its games in the NCAA Regionals, falling to No. 7 Florida State University (48-12, 20-3 ACC) and No. 30 University of South Carolina (38-22, 10-14 SEC), ending a season which saw the team win its second consecutive Ivy League title and qualify for the NCAA tournament. Over the weekend, the Big Green (25-18, 16-4 Ivy) struggled offensively and was unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities.