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Dartmouth’s remote format has posed new challenges for student-athletes. Away from campus, many have to now consider how to both stay in shape with limited resources and engage with their teams through virtual platforms. With the Ivy League’s cancellation of all practices and competitions for the remainder of the academic year, sports that have main competitive seasons in the spring have taken the brunt of the impact. However, other teams still utilize the spring term for development and training, and they are also getting creative to work around these new mandates.
Brendan Barry ’20 is coming back.
After an exciting season, the Dartmouth ski team headed to Bozeman, Mont., to compete in the NCAA Championships, hosted by Montana State University, from March 11 through March 14. While the team arrived hoping to walk away with a national title, they were abruptly sent home after the NCAA suspended the event mid-competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the cancellation, the team was able to fit in two days of skiing and top-ten finishes.
Dartmouth started the 2019-2020 season projected to finish sixth in the Ivy League standings, and it ended there too.
This season, the typical Dartmouth basketball game went something like this: a hot start, a struggle in the middle, a furious comeback, a close loss. It is only fitting that the team’s season would follow the same arc.
Last week, my dad and I started watching “Baseball,” Ken Burns’ great documentary series telling the long and rich story of America’s national pastime.
On March 11, the Ivy League canceled all spring sports in response to the rapidly escalating COVID-19 pandemic. For the Dartmouth men’s and women’s tennis teams, this announcement came during the season’s crescendo, as conference play and the postseason were just about to begin.
In my February 24 column, I complained about the lack of exciting sporting events this time of year as I pondered hobbies to pass the time. Little did I know that March was about to take that one step further.
As the sports world shuts down across the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the success of Drew O'Connor ’22 provides some positive news for Dartmouth athletics. A dominating presence in Thompson Arena these past two winters, the Dartmouth sophomore recently signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. If not for the NHL shutdown due to COVID-19, O’Connor would have finished off this season at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with the Penguins’ amateur affiliate team in the American Hockey League on an amateur tryout contract. Instead, once the outbreak dies down, O’Connor said he will likely head directly to Pittsburgh for the regular season, though the situation remains fluid.
When Kipling Weisel ’18 arrived in Bozeman, Mont. earlier this month, he was ready to compete in an NCAA skiing championship for the last time in a Dartmouth ski suit. On the first day of competition, he placed 11th overall in giant slalom — the highest score of the Dartmouth men’s alpine skiers in that race. With a top-five finish from Tricia Mangan ’19 on the women’s side and a lot of racing left to go, the team was ready to rally to achieve an overall podium finish. A text from Weisel’s coaches before his second and final day of competition, however, brought the team’s comeback aspirations — and Weisel’s Dartmouth ski career — to an abrupt halt. The NCAA had canceled all athletic events for the remainder of the school year, including the skiing championships.
The Ivy League presidents announced their unanimous decision on Wednesday to cancel all varsity athletic competitions and practices for the spring term. This decision preceded the suspension of the NBA season Wednesday night and the cancellation of the Power 5 NCAA basketball tournaments on Thursday along with other conference tournament cancellations. The Dartmouth sat down with athletics director Harry Sheehy Thursday morning for an extended interview about the Ivy League’s cancellation of spring sports and its ramifications.
In response to the growing coronavirus outbreak, the Ivy League announced this afternoon that all athletic practices and competitions for varsity spring sports through the end of the academic year will be cancelled. Following that decision, Dartmouth decided that all practices, competitions and spring break travel for club sports will also be cancelled for the spring term.
Since the start of the season, a digital countdown clock had been running inside Leverone Field House, showing the exact number of days, hours, minutes and even seconds until the 2020 Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships meet. The countdown hit zero this weekend as both the men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Cornell University to compete at Heps, finishing in sixth and last place, respectively.
The Dartmouth women’s basketball team went 1-1 in its last two home games this season, defeating Cornell University (10-14, 3-9 Ivy) in overtime Friday night and losing to Columbia University (17-8, 8-4 Ivy) on Saturday night.
Big Green men’s hockey finished off its regular season at home this weekend with two decisive games against Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After beating Union 5-3 but falling 4-1 to RPI, the Big Green came out of the weekend with two points, solidifying its sixth-place finish in the Eastern College Athletic Conference.
Something is certainly different for the Dartmouth men’s lacrosse team this year. The team’s exciting 3-0 start marks its best start to a season since 2006. After wins over Merrimack University and Bryant University, the Big Green continued its strong performance with a 14-5 win over the University of Massachusetts Lowell this past weekend.
Some words that have been tossed around this college basketball season include “parity” and “chaos,” and the take that there isn’t a “top team” in this season and how that is ruining the game. While this season has been known for its upsets, with the first seven weeks of the AP Poll having seen five different number 1 teams (Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, Louisville and Kansas) and top 10 teams losing a total of 11 games against unranked opponents in the first half of December, the absence of a dominant team and the resulting chaos does not make for a poor season.
Heading into the final weekend of the season, Dartmouth men’s basketball (12-15, 5-7 Ivy) is miraculously still alive.
If the uncharacteristic warmth this past weekend was not enough of a reminder that spring is almost here, perhaps the return of baseball season will be.