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Tom Robbins and Ali Hubbard Tabbed Dartmouth Athletes of the Week

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Tom Robbins (left) and Ali Hubbard (right), Dartmouth Athletes of the Week     By Dartmouth
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Athlete of the Week Archive

Each week, 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.

There were many clutch performances this week, but a distance man and a determined woman stood out as cross-country runner Tom Robbins (Evanston, Ill.) and soccer player Ali Hubbard (Marshfield, Mass.) were named Dartmouth Athletes of the Week. Robbins took fifth place at the Paul Short Invitational, finishing just four seconds out of first. Hubbard, a defensive midfielder, played lockdown defense late and came up with the game-winning goal as Dartmouth defeated Ivy rival Princeton, 2-1 in double overtime.

Dartmouth Male Athlete of the Week:
Tom Robbins (Evanston, Ill.), Men's Cross Country, Junior

Junior Tom Robbins (Evanston, Ill.) led the Dartmouth men's cross country team to a sixth-place finish in the gold division at the Paul Short Invitational with his best race as a member of the Big Green last Friday with a fifth-place finish overall. Robbins finished the 8k course in 23:44, which was only four seconds behind Ryan Hill of N.C. State, who won the event with a time of 23:40. Robbins was right with the pack through the first mile and kept his pace consistently at 4:47. He is one Dartmouth's most talented runners and competes in a range of 800m to 8k and finished second in the 1500m at Outdoor Heps last season and was named second team All-Ivy.

Talk about your race on Friday, how do you feel you did and what was the reason for your success against such a talented field?
I think my race on Friday was probably one of the best races I have ever run. There was very little pressure going into it  (as it was an early season meet) and this allowed me to relax quite a bit. I came through the 5k mark at a personal record pace and continued to roll and actually got a personal record in the final 3k of the course as well. It was the first time I had ever broken 25 minutes in an 8k as well as 24 minutes in an 8k. All around it was a very positive experience.

The reason for my success against such a talented field was certainly due to the months of training I put in this summer. This was the first summer I dedicated myself to running at it is paying off greatly.

As you head into your next race, what are the keys for you to run a great race?I will be joining the "top 7" in Terre Haute, Indiana, the following weekend for the Pre-National Meet. I think the keys to a great race in Indiana will be to get out in the top pack, not worry about pace, and just race my heart out.

Take me through the last few meters of the race? Coach Harwick mentioned you had a chance to come out on top and you only finished four seconds behind.
Coming into the last 1000m or so, I found myself in the top group. I felt pretty good and was surprised seeing as cross-country is not my specialty (I'm more of a 800-1500 runner in track). I got excited and kicked with about 600m to go instead of waiting. A group went past me with about 400 to go and I had already used up most of my energy in that initial surge. It was "holding on for dear life" for the final 400, trying to just maintain my position. It was unfortunate that I hadn't waited (as my 800m speed probably would have taken me to victory) but it was a great learning experience.

Who got you first interested in running and why do you enjoy it?
My brother ran cross-country in high school and played lacrosse in the spring. I decided to follow in his footsteps and quickly learned by my sophomore year that running was my main talent. I enjoy it because it feels as if I'm doing what humans evolved to do: distance running. It makes me feel free and on really good days, weightless.

Dartmouth Female Athlete of the Week:
Ali Hubbard (Marshfield, Mass.), Women's Soccer, Senior, Midfielder
Dartmouth senior midfielder Ali Hubbard (Marshfield, Mass.) put forth a tremendous effort in the 2-1 double-overtime win over Princeton, including scoring the game-winning-goal. It marked the first goal since the 2007 season for Hubbard, a defensive midfielder, and put the Big Green at 2-0 in Ivy play.

Hubbard was primed to get the winner late in regulation and overtime, forcing the Princeton keeper into two big saves in the 88th and 93rd minutes of play. She finally broke through in the 103rd, scoring the game-winner in the box off a corner kick from Melisa Krnjaic (Washington, D.C.). Defensively, Hubbard helped keep the Tigers at bay after a 1-1 first half. Dartmouth outpaced Princeton in both the second half and overtime, with Hubbard's defensive effort helping keep the Tigers to a mere four shots in that last 57 minutes.

After nearly a month of road games, how did it feel to finally be back at home?
Refreshing. Putting on our white uniforms and walking onto Burnham Field generated a strong sense of pride and an intense desire to win. Everyone on the team was excited and ready to play, and I think that was evident through our performance.

Talk about the spread team effort against Princeton and all season with such balanced scoring and defense?
Our team has been unreal so far this season. Everyone knows her role, and isn't afraid to step up and do her job. We're all extremely supportive of each other, and I think that has allowed every player to have confidence to do her part - score goals, stick tackles, make saves, etc. That kind of team effort is what it takes to be successful, and I know we'll continue to play with the same work ethic.

It looked  like you were really motivated to score on Saturday. How did it feel personally to score your first goal since 2007 and have it be an Ivy winner?

I think there was more motivation to win than to score. We all knew how important this game was, and every player was on board to win. Scoring was a result of the team's energy and solid performance. The goal wouldn't have happened without Mel's perfect cross to my forehead, after the team worked hard to get the corner kick. I was just at the right place at the right time. It felt great to score, but it felt even better to be 2-0 in the Ivy League - something the entire team was responsible for.