BIG GREEN SPORTS
Football - Spotlight on Eric Davis
"I'm like a tiger in a cage,
A bomb loaded with rage,
A star that's ready to explode.
And the field is my stage,
traveled long and far, to fulfill my dreams
with a passion so intense, people call me a fiend."
-Written by Eric Davis, prior to the 1988 football season.
"E.D." has waited on the sidelines for his turn to shine. The senior tailback has patiently spent most of the past three seasons watching teammates and learning the game - aging like a fine wine.
"I will do whatever needs to be done to make this team successful, " Davis said. "The hardest thing to do is come and be on the sidelines when you know that you can contribute, but don't really have the opportunity to. A lot of emotions have built up inside of me over the years. I just want to get out there and play."
In his first three seasons at Dartmouth, Davis was used to spell an already deep group of running backs. In his first two varsity seasons, he totaled 34 plays for 177 yards. His freshman year with the junior varsity program, he earned 318 yards on 75 carries.
This year, it will be Davis's turn to look toward the sideline for a breather. In the Big Green's 17-14, season opening loss to the University of Pennsylvania, Davis started at tailback and returned punts.
"In the past, my role has been trying to help out the younger guys," Davis said. "I am not too much of the cheerleading type. I am a quiet person and I like to lead by example. I feel that if I could make a big play then the team can rise around it. I try to lead by example."
His biggest collegiate play came last year in Dartmouth's 35-6 victory at Holy Cross. Davis put the game away with a 35-yard touchdown run.
Following a successful high school career at Weimar, Davis wanted to find a college that would provide him with the chance to play football, but also a challenge academically. He never visited Dartmouth, but after talking to former coach Kevin Lempa, Davis was sold.
"I knew nothing about Dartmouth," Davis said. "I could not even imagine going to an Ivy League school because my high school was all about football. I wanted to go to a college with a good football tradition. I was coming from a small high school and that aspect drew my attention. I never saw the campus or met any of the players before I came here. I just had this strong feeling that this is where I had to be. Obviously, it was the right decision."
Off the field and away from the classroom, Davis is continuing a family interest by learning about collecting wine. His mentor is his uncle, Ray Coleman, who is a knowledgeable collector.
"He has always had this love for wine," Davis said. "I was always impressed with stuff like that. I found myself picking up a bottle here and there and trying it. Another hobby I have is cooking, and I started making wine sauces. I am really in the early stages, but at some point, I would like to start seriously collecting."
Following graduation, Davis will head out to the world - with hopes of landing in sports marketing - with an Ivy League degree, a championship ring in football that came in the Big Green's perfect 10-0 season in 1996 and most importantly, a senior year that moved Davis off the sidelines and onto the field.
After all, some things just get better with time. (Bill Garfield)
Women's Cross Country - Spotlight on Anne Devlin
Cross country runner Annie Devlin has pressure coming from all directions right now.
The senior from Wantagh, N.Y. is the younger sister of Therese Devlin '90, one of the most accomplished runners in Dartmouth women's cross country/track and field history. Therese's footsteps are still pretty large in the program; she's the holder of the outdoor 3,000 meter record.
Annie, on the other hand, is co-captain of a Big Green cross country team that finished fourth at the 1997 NCAA Championship, a feat that the third-ranked team hopes to improve on this season. She also earned All-America honors as a junior with the 21st fastest team time (31st overall) at last fall's NCAA event. Her coaches and teammates consider her a leader of the 1998 squad.
In fact, the pressure on Annie seems to be coming from all directions except one - Annie herself.
"I kind of trust that it is going to come together when it needs to come together," she said. "As long as I take care of my side of the bargain, I put in the work, I keep my head on top of things, the running will come together when it needs to."
So far, Annie's policy seems to have been a good one. She has proven that she has the ability to traverse the peaks and valleys that any competitive athlete faces in a career without breaking stride.
As a freshman, Annie gradually adjusted to the collegiate level, and by the end of her sophomore cross country season, she was a consistent top five scorer for the 1996 team that was Heptagonal champion and an NCAA qualifier. In the outdoor track season that spring, Annie started slowly, but in the last meet of the year, the ECAC Championship, she got back on track, taking second in the 1,000.
It was the same story last fall. Annie struggled to reach her own PR's all season long and finished ninth at the Heps. As expected, however, she rebounded and had the best finish of her career at the NCAA meet.
"Certainly in this sport, with three seasons, you can't dwell on any downfalls you might have in one or another," said cross country head coach Ellen O'Neil. "You have to bounce right back and Annie does that very well. In her sophomore spring and junior fall, Annie was struggling a bit. Sophomore spring she ended up PR-ing twice at the very end of the season. Again in the fall, nobody would have believed that someone who finished ninth at Heps would go on to be All-America."
"I think that it is really dangerous athletically to think 'when is this going to happen,' like it is a passive thing that you don't have to make happen," Annie said. "You have to make sure that you always remember that you're the one who has to take the active step. But on the other hand, I think it is important to be confident that you will be able to make it happen and feel that when the time comes, you can make it fall into place."
The academic All-Ivy honoree and Spanish major looks to the future of the women's cross country team with the same attitude that she has when she approaches her own life.
"I think if everyone can be healthy when it counts, we can be really good this year," Annie said. "I'm always confident in what we can do, though, despite the comparisons between us and the larger schools. I feel like in the end, when it comes down to the races that count, we're tougher. I really think that we have a good work ethic and a good team ethic, so I'm always confident in what we can do at the end of the season." (Sarah Hood)
Annie Devlin's recruiting trip to Dartmouth was made possible by the generosity of Richard B. Swett MD '63 and Robert E. Haynes through the Athletic Sponsor Program.