Athlete of the Week Archive

Each week, DartmouthSports.com will spotlight two outstanding student-athletes - one male, one female - as Dartmouth's Athletes of the Week. Student-athletes may be chosen based upon their efforts both on and off the field of competition.

Any Ivy record-breaker and a red hot rookie highlight another successful week in Big Green athletics, as field hockey player Kelly Hood (Berlin, N.H.) and golfer James Pleat (Nashua, N.H.) picked up Dartmouth Athlete of the Week honors for Sept. 29. Hood led Dartmouth to two victories last weekend, tallying 16 points and broke the Ivy League single-game goals scored record with five against Brown. Pleat flexed his muscles on the golf course, winning just his second collegiate tournament, the Dartmouth Invitational, in playoff fashion.

Dartmouth Male Athlete of the Week:
James Pleat (Nashua, N.H.), Men's Golf, Freshman

Freshman James Pleat quickly established himself as one of the top golfers on the Big Green team by winning medalist honors at the Dartmouth Invitational this past weekend, just his second collegiate tournament. His two-day score of 139 (-3) tied him for the lead before he calmly sank a par putt on the first playoff hole to win the tournament. Pleat was one of five players to score an eagle in the two rounds, and he also sank seven birdies in the two rounds. In the first five rounds of his career, Pleat has carded nothing worse than a 73.

Set the scene for the final hole and what you needed to do to force the playoff, then how that playoff hole played out.
On the last hole, I hit my tee shot pretty good in the fairway, then I found out Peter (Williamson) just chipped in for eagle in the group ahead of me, putting us up three strokes. My approach was a little right, but it was OK. I had to hit a flop shot uphill over a bunker, so all I wanted to do was get it on the green and one-putt or two-putt and we should have the trophy. I did what I was trying to do and left it about eight feet from the hole. But before my putt Coach Parker told me I needed to sink it to tie for the individual lead. Knowing that, I took some extra reads on the putt, and luckily it broke the way I read it. It was great having all my teammates cheering.

On the playoff hole, I got on the green in two while the other guy was off the green. I missed a seven-foot birdie putt trying to put it away, but sank the par putt. He had a shot to tie with a six-footer, but he missed it.

Freshmen aren't supposed to win their second collegiate tournament. To what do you attribute your early success?
Practice, especially with the team and Coach Parker who have all been helpful on how to play at Hanover, which is a bit of a tricky course. When I first started playing there, I wasn't shooting great scores. Coach has given a couple pointers on my swing, and my father has always been one of my teachers.

The weather on Sunday was somewhat miserable. How do you mentally and physically prepare yourself for playing in less than ideal conditions?
Mentally, you have to take out really low numbers. You figure most people will shoot higher than normal, so you lower your expectations. Physically, simply keep your clubs dry and make the best swings you can with all the stuff you are wearing.

Being from New Hampshire could explain how you ended up at Dartmouth, but how did you decide to come here?
I was looking for good academic school combined with a good golf program. It came down to Davidson and Dartmouth, and I felt Coach Parker really wanted me to come here. It's nice to be about an hour and a half from home, which is far enough to be on my own, but close enough to visit when I want.

You've been very consistent in your scoring in the first five rounds you've played, shooting no worse than a 73. What can you do to improve your game even more?
My putting and short game so far have been the best part of my game, which hasn't usually been the case. I am now looking to hit it more consistently off the tee and in the fairways.

Dartmouth Female Athlete of the Week:
Kelly Hood (Berlin, N.H.), Field Hockey, Sophomore, Forward

Kelly Hood (Berlin, N.H.) collected an impressive 16 points on seven goals and two assists. Against Brown in an 8-3 win, she set the Ivy League single game goal record with five goals, all coming on penalty corners, and tied the Ivy record for points in a game with 10. She followed that performance with a six-point game in the 4-2 over Bryant. Hood factored in every score with two goals and two assists. Currently she ranks first in the Ivy League in goals per game with 1.2. She has 21 points on the season, which is a new career-high after collecting 20 points a season ago.

The previous record of goals scored in an Ivy League match was four, which has occurred four times in the history of the League: Penn's Patti Vivial (Oct. 13, 1984) and Judy Jaczun (Sept. 23, 1989); Brown's Tara Mounsey (Oct. 23, 1999) and Dartmouth's Rebekka Stucker (Nov. 1, 2003). Hood's feat also tied the record for total points in a game (10), sharing the mark with Vivial (4g, 2a on Oct. 13, 1984).

Setting an Ivy League record for goals in a game is exciting. How were you so successful against Brown?
Setting an Ivy League record for goals in a game is exciting, but what is even more exciting is how well our team played together as a unit. The reason I was so successful at Brown is because my teammates worked extremely hard for 70 minutes. They played strong defense, looked for the open passes, and battled inside the circle to win attacking penalty corners. In my opinion, every single person on the team contributes to a goal. At Brown, I just happened to be the last person to touch the ball before it went into the net.

The team has shown some improvement over the last two games with two wins, what will the team have to do to keep the winning streak going?
I am a firm believer that winning begins when no one else is watching. So, we will have to continue to put the effort in every day at practice. Along with being prepared, we have to stay composed, play confidently, and remember to play our game regardless of who our opponent is. If we do all of these things, the scoreboard should be in our favor at the end of the game.

You have already eclipsed last year's point total, what have you done differently in getting ready for the year or during the season?
I cannot reiterate enough how vital my teammates are to my success. They provide an incredible support system for me and motivate me every day. Our team dynamic this year is incredible. We have fun together both on and off the field. The intensity my teammates provide at practice has taken my game to another level. We have two incredible goalkeepers who challenge me every day, and my offensive and defensive skills have improved significantly because of my teammates who push me.

Vermont and Penn on the road next, what is the difference on playing on road so much after last year's home schedule?
From my perspective, there is no difference. The game is the same whether we are playing on an opponent's field or on our own turf. As long as we play our game for a complete 70 minutes, we will be able to compete with any team that we play against.