Tradition is hard to kick for some people. The expectations that actions or behaviors should have a feeling of certainty are too much for some to move beyond.
For Hana Bowers, Dartmouth is a tradition.
In the Bowers household, attending Dartmouth is a tradition. Representing the Big Green is almost a near certainty growing up.
The daughter of Kenneth Bowers, a Dartmouth graduate of the class of 1983, and the sister of Austin Bowers, a former soccer player who graduated in 2011, Hana always knew this institute of higher learning was where she wanted to spend the four most formative years of her young life.
“I joke with my dad that he brainwashed me because ever since I was a little girl he took me on multiple trips to Hanover, where I immediately fell in love,” Bowers said. “For as long as I can remember, Dartmouth was my top choice.
“It may be hard to believe, but four years ago, the recruiting process was completely different than it is now. I was very relaxed as I traveled from school to school for junior days (which are now ‘sophomore’ days). I never really gave other schools a chance because I was constantly comparing them to my benchmark — Dartmouth,” the Old Greenwich, Conn., native continued. “I tried playing it cool with Amy (Patton) because I obviously didn’t want to seem desperate, so I worked as hard as I could in school to put me in the best position to be accepted.”
Maybe Patton should have been desperate to get Bowers to campus and part of her team, given the type of player she would prove herself to be over four years.
On the strength of a tremendous final season in a Big Green uniform in which she registered 51 goals and 66 points, Bowers firmly entrenched her name in the program record books.
She leaves Dartmouth 20th all-time in points (124) and 19th in goals (94). Her goals and point totals in 2013 rank as the eighth-best single-season marks in the program’s storied four-decade history. Impressive figures for an individual who was more of a role player the last few years, playing behind Ivy League Players of the Year Kat Collins ’11 and Sarah Plumb ’12.
“Going into my senior season, I kept saying to myself that I wanted to reach my ultimate potential as a lacrosse player. Not once did I compare myself to other players, but I knew I would regret leaving this program not having achieved my personal best on the field in regards to stick work, fitness and game smarts,” Bowers remarked. “I wanted to get better every practice, and take advantage of Amy’s immense lacrosse knowledge.”
Not one to focus too much on the individual accomplishments she was achieving on a regular basis, Bowers saw her role as team captain as a means by which she could motivate and inspire others to help reach collective goals and aspirations.
“I hoped to leave the program a better leader and teammate to the 30 girls by my side. As a team, we knew that an NCAA Championship would be our ultimate goal. Winning the Ivy League and the Ivy Tournament were stepping stones on the way to achieve that. Although we knew those were high standards, we may as well have not stepped on the field if we decided to set the bar any lower.
“These goals were at the back of our minds during hard-run workouts, mentally exhausting drills and the various meetings we had to work through with the team. Unfortunately, we came short of those concrete goals, but in another sense we found great success. This was the most connected team I have ever been a part of,” Bowers continued. “Freshman to senior, this group was united under one common goal, and never wavered in its belief. Sometimes the most skilled teams have trouble achieving that, so we came away with our heads high.”
A loss to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight spring ended Bowers’ collegiate career in mid-May. However, the memories of her time wearing the green and white will continue on with her.
“Just because it is so fresh in my mind, one of my favorite memories is our win against Princeton in the Ivy League Tournament,” Bowers recalled of the game in which she scored five times, including the winner in the second extra session.
“In our previous matchup, they had beaten us in the last few minutes on our own turf. They put on Dartmouth hats and posed in front of the Scully-Fahey scoreboard for pictures. That stung. But there was no better feeling than winning in the tournament in double overtime. When we scored that last goal, my heart literally stopped. The look on Amy’s face when I ran over and hugged her was of pure joy.”
It’s interesting to note that Bowers uses the term ‘we’ when referencing her own goal scored in the sudden-victory period against the Tigers that afternoon in Philadelphia. At one of the highest points of her career, Bowers still views an individual play as a team act.
It will be hard to find someone with a scoring touch like Bowers next season for head coach Amy Patton, but it will be much harder for her to find someone with the same kind of leadership and character that made Bowers one of the best to ever wear the Dartmouth jersey.
(by Pat Salvas)
Hana’s recruiting trip to Hanover was made possible by the generosity of A. Whitman Marchand ’58 as well as Manning J. Smith III ’62 DP through the Dartmouth Athletic Sponsor Program.