BIG GREEN SPORTS NEWS
Big Green Baseball Highlights
Though 1999 was not a banner year in terms of won-loss record for the Dartmouth College baseball team, it was certainly not a season lacking in highlights.
Prior to the spring campaign, expectations were high for a ballclub that returned all eight starting position players. The biggest question was the ninth spot - pitcher - where neither an ace nor a closer had yet to emerge on a staff that returned just three starters.
By season's end, several players had stepped up to take charge, helping the squad to register two more conference wins than in 1998 with a 17-24 record (9-11 Ivy).
"I think our pitchers, both individually and as a staff, made tremendous progress through the course of the year," said Dartmouth skipper Bob Whalen.
Though a conference title was out of reach, the Big Green closed out its Ivy schedule by taking three of four games from Yale and wrestling a win from Ivy League champion Harvard, all on the road.
Dartmouth was 8-5 in the final 13 games of the season.
Against Yale, pitchers Conor Brooks (Plymouth, Mass.) and Jeff Dutremble (Biddeford, Maine) led the way on the mound. Dutremble set the tone for the weekend by opening the four-game set with a two-hit shutout in which he retired 15 Yale batters in a row. He was named the Ivy League's pitcher of the week for his efforts. Brooks followed up the next day by fanning seven Bulldogs for a 7-6 win. He ended the season with a team-best 60 strikeouts.
The two hurlers were aided by Mike Levy's (Atlanta, Ga.) big bat - the sophomore was 9-for-16 with seven runs, 12 RBI, two doubles and one grand slam in four games. Levy recorded a team-best .418 batting average in Ivy play and .373 overall.
One week later, James Little (Portland, Ore.) was 6-for-14 against Harvard with seven RBI, and he single-handedly beat the Crimson, 4-1, on May 2 with a solo blast to tie the game at 1-1 in the sixth and a three-run shot that won it in the seventh.
The Big Green also won five consecutive non-conference tilts, including an 11-2 win over New Hampshire College and a 22-10 drubbing of Plymouth State.
In Big Green baseball history, the 23 hits against Plymouth State were the third most in a single game.
The 1999 team had a collective batting average of .307, the fifth best season effort in the program's annals while the 401 hits and 90 doubles were both the third best outputs.
Other team marks include 30 home runs (matching the highest total ever), 249 runs scored and 219 RBI, both fifth on the all-time list.
Aaron Meyer (Cheshire, Conn.) set school records for home runs (29) and RBI (145) in a career. He also tied his own mark for home runs in a season with 11. Mike Conway (Englewood, Colo.) set the career record for doubles (41). He is also Dartmouth's career batting average leader, hitting .402 over three seasons.
"The nucleus of our staff is all coming back next year," Whalen said. "We are losing some good players and even better people, but we also have a core group of our starting line-up back to couple with greater depth in our pitching."(Sarah Hood)
Earlier this year, the 93rd annual NCAA Convention adopted a memorial resolution commemorating Frank Hershey's distinguished service to athletics.
A longtime assistant football coach at Dartmouth, Hershey died October 15, 1998 after a valiant, year-long struggle against cancer. He was 56.
Louis J. Spry, NCAA associate executive director, wrote the following in a letter to Pamela Hershey, Frank's wife of 33 years: "During your late husband's years of service to intercollegiate athletics, he made a notable contribution to sports and earned the warm friendship and high esteem of his collegiate associates throughout the nation."
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Jake Crouthamel, director of athletics at Syracuse University, will receive the 1999 John L. Toner Award on December 7. The award is presented by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
The honor also will be bestowed upon the late David Nelson, former director of athletics at Delaware.
It is presented annually to an athletic director who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football.
A 1960 graduate of Dartmouth, Crouthamel was an All-America halfback. He later coached the Big Green from 1971-77, leading Dartmouth to three Ivy championships before becoming director of athletics at Syracuse.
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WMUR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, N.H., will broadcast four of Dartmouth's five home football games this season. WMUR can be viewed throughout New Hampshire as well as parts of Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, and the station graciously provides the satellite coordinates for Big Green fans throughout the nation.
Scheduled to be aired this season are Sept. 25 Colgate; Oct. 9 Lehigh;
Oct. 23 Cornell; and Nov. 13 Brown. All four games will begin at 12 noon.
Top Performances at Heps Track & Field
Freshman Lara Niell (Harvard, Mass.) was exhausted as she approached the finish line in the 3,000 meters at the Heps Championship.
Fighting a tough headwind on the final stretch, she wanted to hold on to sixth place and gain a valuable point in the standings for the Dartmouth women.
Niell did it. And then collapsed to her knees on the Columbia University track.
In a split second, teammate Anne Devlin (Wantagh, N.Y.) was at Niell's side. Devlin quickly ran off to find a cup of water, and then got Niell to her feet, urging her to keep moving.
With her arm supporting Niell, Devlin then walked the wobbly freshman back to the starting line to get her warm-ups.
Oh, did we forget to mention it? Devlin won that race.
The senior had a phenomenal showing at the annual championship featuring the eight Ivy League schools plus Navy. Earlier in the day, she had blasted to a 10-second victory in the 5,000 meters, and then showed no after-effects as she won the 3K by three seconds. In both, Devlin defeated Cornell's Emily Germano for the first time in her career. The Dartmouth senior also ran excellent tactical races, letting Germano lead most of the way through the wind before pulling ahead on the final lap.
"Those races were a credit to Annie's character," said coach Ellen O'Neil. "She has had a couple of somewhat disappointing races, and this showed what it means to be a true, competitive athlete."
Devlin continued Dartmouth's dominance in the 5,000 meters as Big Green women have won the event five straight years, including Maribel Sanchez in 1995-96 and Jenna Rogers in 1997-98.
Brown University won the team title for the second straight year with 128 points, followed by Harvard with 114. Dartmouth was fifth with 79.
Also victorious for the Big Green was sophomore Allison Cardlin (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) who uncorked a throw of 47-11 3/4 on her final throw to win the shot.
On the opening day of competition, a pair of runner-up finishes by senior Bethany Crenshaw (Wayne Valley, N.J.) and junior Sarah Jones (Windsor, Vt.) vaulted Dartmouth into the early team lead.
Crenshaw ran 36:20.09 in the 10,000 meters and Jones threw 141-2 in the javelin.
Meanwhile, the Dartmouth men were sixth with 48 points, just four out of fifth place. Princeton easily defended its team title with 181, followed by Navy with 102.
Senior Greg Johnston (Kirkland, Que.) staked his claim as the League's oustanding hurdler. After winning the 55 meter hurdles at the indoor Heps, Johnston won the 110 hurdles in a time of 14.36.
Sophomore Parker Pruett (Birch Harbor, Maine) was the defending champion in the steeplechase, but he had trouble on the final three jumps and finished third. Pruett started to make a move on two other runners, but clipped the hurdle with 300 meters left and then slipped on a puddle, coming out of the water jump. He finished in 9:06.72.
One of the opening day's highlights came in the 10,000 meters where defending champ Chris Banks of Princeton dueled Dartmouth's Don Conrad (St. Louis, Mo.), the 1997 titleist.
The two were even for most of the race before Banks pulled away on the final lap.
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Cardlin had the top showing for Dartmouth among athletes competing at the ECAC Women's Track and Field Championship, May 22-23.
Cardlin was second in the shot put with a throw of 48-10 1/4, a personal best that surpassed her winning mark at the Heps.
The IC4A Championship was hosted concurrently by George Mason. Junior Ben Nastou (Hingham, Mass.) - in a select contingent of Dartmouth men - threw a personal best of 181-1 in the hammer, good for sixth. (Kathy Slattery)
Men's Lacrosse Ends With Feast After Famine
With nine minutes left to play in the third quarter of the Dartmouth men's lacrosse season finale, even the most optimistic Big Green fans had to figure the postgame team banquet - a new idea brought in by first-year head coach Rick Sowell - was going to be more funereal than celebratory.
Who could blame them? Harvard, one of the Ivy League's powerful programs in the last several years, came to Hanover with a most un-Crimson like record of 3-9, including a 1-4 Ivy mark that matched the Big Green's. However, with just 24 minutes remaining in the season, the Chase Field scoreboard read 8-1 in favor of the visitors.
Little did anyone know: the Big Green players had the Crimson right where they wanted them. Of course, among those who did not know was Sowell himself.
"At halftime, I just told them, 'We are still in this game,'" he said after the Big Green had stunned every eyewitness with an incredible comeback and an improbable 10-9 victory. "Even though we were down, we had finally started playing better defense. We gave them some easy looks early. I said we had to make things happen to try to get back into the game, and we did.
"This will go down in at least my book as a very special comeback."
Ross Johnson (Mill Valley, Calif.) was the catalyst. After Georges Dyer (Manchester, Mass.) scored the Big Green's second goal, Johnson scored twice and assisted a Gregg Edell (Glenelg, Md.) tally in a span of 2:19. Harvard got one of the goals back in the final minute of the third stanza, but as the final quarter approached Dartmouth was back in the game at 9-5 and had momentum clearly on its side.
In the fourth quarter, Johnson added his third of the game just 45 seconds in, and then 16 seconds later Schuyler Minert (Upper Montclair, N.J.) netted his first of the day. Nine minutes later, Minert potted his second of the day, and it touched off pandemonium as it gave the Big Green its first lead of the day, 10-9, with 5:23 still to play.
At that point, it was left up to the defense and goalkeeper Andrew Dance (Darien, Conn.). The senior co-captain certainly ended his career on an upswing, highlighted when he stopped a good Harvard chance with 1:03 left to secure the victory.
"This was unbelievable," said Sowell immediately following the game. "What a great feeling - we have our banquet coming up in about half an hour and this win is going to make for a much more joyous environment than if the score had been different."
In other words, bring on the feast.
A change of venue proved to be a wise choice by Sowell. After several years playing on Memorial Field, the players lobbied their incoming mentor to move games back to Chase Field, which they felt would provide a better atmosphere. The result was a 3-1 record in four home games this year - two of them against Ivy League opponents - for Dartmouth's best home mark since 1982. In addition, the Big Green tied with Brown and Penn for fourth place in the league, its highest finish since 1994.
"Winning our last two home games, both of them against Ivy League teams, fosters a positive attitude," said Sowell. "Our guys will just get more confidence from those two games, and obviously the Harvard win was a great way to end the season. Those are the kind of days you want your players to remember as they start looking ahead to next year." (Mike Mahoney)
Lightweight Eight Claims Bronze
For the first time in five years, the Dartmouth lightweight varsity eight can take home some hardware from the U.S. National Championship that concluded May 29 in Camden, N.J.
The underdog Big Green was unseeded for the event and upset former Eastern and national champion Princeton by three-tenths of a second in the morning heats to gain a berth in the grande final.
Harvard (5:39.70) won the championship by length, and Dartmouth was poised to finish second, until catching a crab with 200 meters to go. Rutgers (5:41.7) overtook the Big Green (5:42.1) by a two-foot margin to take the silver medal, while Dartmouth finished up with the bronze.
Yale, Columbia and Princeton - all boats who had beaten Dartmouth earlier in the season - were fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
"It was a great way to cap off an up-and-down season," said lightweight rowing coach Dick Grossman. "We really had a phenomenal race."
In heavyweight action at the IRA Regatta, Dartmouth's best finish was in the freshman eight competition, where the Big Green was third in the petite final (ninth overall). The varsity (14th) and second varsity (13th) both competed in the third level finals.
The Dartmouth lightweights continue their season, traveling to Royal
Henley on June 15.
The Dartmouth softball team wrapped up its most successful season since becoming a varsity sport in 1995.
The Big Green finished the year 18-27 overall, including a five-game winning streak at the season's end. The 18 victories were the most in school history.
Dartmouth did struggle in the Ivy League, finishing seventh with a 2-10 record. That is somewhat deceptive considering that four of those losses were decided by one run.
"Our season had its highs and lows," head coach Steffany Bender said. "We do need to improve in the league, but I am extremely pleased at what this team accomplished. There are a lot of positives to build on for next year."
Dartmouth stood at 10-15 at the season's halfway point before dropping seven straight and falling to 10-22.
The Big Green then managed to win eight of the last 13 to finish a record-setting season.
A key to this year's success came in the form of team offense and defense. Dartmouth batted .255 as a unit (compared to last year's .218) and committed fewer than two errors a game (1.68) to last year's 2.38.
"We were a much more disciplined team in the batter's box," Bender said, "and our team defense certainly stepped it up compared to a year ago. With the same lineup returning next year, we really feel things are only going to get better."
Two players had phenomenal rookie seasons - Sarah Damon (Islip Terrace, N.Y.) and Kristin King (Piqua, Ohio).
Damon batted a team-high .381 while leading the team in hits (51), runs (28), doubles (10), triples (6) and slugging percentage (.567).
King, meanwhile, batted a close second at .376 and had seven doubles, three triples and 13 RBI. King also finished the season with a .980 fielding percentage. She committed just four errors on 199 chances.
Sophomore Carrie Sekela (Mississauga, Ont.) improved with her second season, finishing third on the team with a .274 average. She was second on the team with nine doubles and had a team-best 19 RBI.
Pitching duties for the Big Green were handed to juniors Laura Mills (Columbus, Ohio) and Stacy Sanders (Towaco, N.J.).
Mills finished the season 9-14 with a school record 110 strikeouts while Sanders closed out her third season at 8-8 and had a team best 3.02 earned run average.
"The hardest part now is waiting until we can get back on the field,"
Bender said. "The entire team is excited about starting over again
and breaking even more records." (Bill Garfield)