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Thea Sutton and Nick Schweiger Named Dartmouth Athletes of the Week

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Nick Schweiger and Thea Sutton     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.

Women's soccer's Thea Sutton (San Rafael, Calif.) and football's Nick Schwieger (Norton, Mass.) went above and beyond to lead their teams to inspirational homecoming victories, making them the Dartmouth Athletes of the Week. Sutton paced the Dartmouth defense to a pair of shutouts last week including a critical 2-0 win over Columbia while Schweiger's record-setting rushing day led the Big Green to a 28-6 drubbing of the Lions.  

Dartmouth Female Athlete of the Week:
Thea Sutton (San Rafael, Calif.), Women's Soccer, Senior, Defender

Thea Sutton was solid in the backline and beyond in the pair of shutout wins over Vermont, 3-0, and Columbia, 2-0 this past week. Against Columbia, Sutton came up big, scoring her first collegiate goal and the game-winner late in the first half to propel her team to an eventual 2-0 victory. After a fairly balanced first half, Sutton contributed to a defensive effort that held Columbia to just one shot in the entire second half and five total for the game. The win over Columbia helped keep the Big Green's (8-6, 3-2 Ivy) Ivy title hopes alive. Sutton also contributed solid defense in the shutout of Vermont, holding the Catamounts to only one attempt in 90 minutes of play. The gritty senior has been key in a defense that sports a 1.05 goals against average.

Talk us through the goal against Columbia. It's been four years coming, how exciting was it to score your first collegiate goal and have it be the winner in an Ivy game?
It was amazing. I haven't given our forwards enough credit! Kelsey Quick sent in this great corner kick and the ball came in about two feet off the goal line. A Columbia girl was there trying to clear it but ended up literally trapping it right there instead. I just hit it as hard as I could, I don't think I even knew what was happening until I saw the back of the net move. It was such an awesome feeling.

I heard your parents were here from California for the Homecoming weekend. What was it like to have them see that game and have they seen you play much in college?
I am so thankful they did! It made the whole day/weekend so special. They usually fly out twice during season, one visit to one of our tournaments (such as UVA, Texas A&M, Oregon) because that way they can see two games in one weekend. Then the second visit is to Hanover for a home game. Having them here for senior year Homecoming was great. They had never seen the bonfire and I really wanted them to experience it before I graduated so I asked if their Hanover weekend would be this past one - and what a weekend it was!

Talk about how the team has rebounded from the loss at Penn with two really dominant performances against Vermont & Columbia?
We knew that in the Penn game we did not play as Dartmouth can play. You make mistakes and you learn from them and that was one game where we made many mistakes and Penn was lucky enough to capitalize on them. It was a tough loss but it also fueled us for Vermont. There's nothing better than to be given the challenge of turning yourselves around in such a short period of time. I kind of feel sorry for Vermont - they got the brunt of our frustration! Columbia won Ivies [by one game over us] our freshmen year so there has always been a lot of build-up generated towards that game. This game was also big because it was homecoming and because all Ivy games are big, but mostly because the seniors always want that win over Columbia.

What is the mindset of the team heading into the big game at Harvard knowing that the Ivy Title is still a possibility? 
We are psyched. I think we play our best when faced with a tough opponent or challenge and Harvard is no different. The mindset for this whole week is Harvard - all Harvard, all the time. We have been focusing on one game at a time but I'd be lying to say we haven't been looking forward to this game for a while. They were Ivy champs last year and that always puts a bigger target on a team. All I can say is that we will be ready for the Crimson come Saturday!

Dartmouth Male Athlete of the Week:
Nick Schwieger (Norton, Mass.), Football, Sophomore, Running Back

Sophomore Nick Schwieger set a Dartmouth single-game record by rushing for 242 yards, breaking the record of 229 set 18 years ago and becoming just the sixth 200-yard game in Dartmouth history. His perfomance carried the team to a 28-6 homecoming victory over Columbia to end the Big Green's 17-game losing streak. The Ivy League and FCS National Offensive Player of the Week averaged 8.3 yards on each of his 29 rushes, and sealed the victory with a 66-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. It was the longest run by a Dartmouth player in 19 years.

The team was quite animated at the start of the game. How did everyone prepare emotionally for the homecoming game?
That was definitely the most pumped we have been for a game the entire year. During practice, we focused the entire week on celebrating everything, which built our confidence level up. When you play with that amount of confidence and emotion, it can make a big difference. It certainly showed on the field during the game.

Did you have any idea how many yards you were gaining, and was the key factor in breaking the school record?
Our offensive line played with great confidence and provided a lot of holes for me to run through. But it wasn't just the line - the tight ends and receivers also came up with key blocks. A running back can feed off those kind of blocks and it helps build his confidence. I had no idea how many yards I had at the end of the game. But I knew I had to be close to 100 at the half (ed. note: 128 actually) because were running the ball so well.

Have you ever had games of 250 or 300 yards rushing?
In high school I had a couple game in the 290s, a couple more in the 270s. But the yards I got Saturday were the most satisfying. I'd talk to the other backs, Rob Mitchelson and T.J. Cameron, during the game and they were telling me to keep pounding away. The offensive line, even the defense, they were all coming up to me and feeding off the energy we were building on offense.

It would have been easy to be down with the losses mounting. How important is the support of fans and alumni to the success of the team?
It's very hard to pick yourself up when you're down. Getting the support of the alumni, not just in donations but through their vocal support as well, has been a huge help. I'm so proud we were able to give them the win they deserved against Columbia.

Besides winning every game the rest of the way, do you have any personal goals for the remainder of the season?
I would love to hit the 1,000-yard mark, and I think it's something we can do. It would be a great accomplishment not just for me but the offensive line and the entire offense as well. As an offense, we need to keep the pressure on our opponents by running right at them. We're showing a balanced offense, which will help us continue to score. You can win a lot of games by scoring 28 points.