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Ari Sussman and Mary Beth Winingham Named Athletes of the Week

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Ari Sussman & Mary Beth Winingham     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.

Two seniors showed their experience this week, leading their teams to new heights, making Ari Sussman and Mary Beth Winingham the Dartmouth Athletes of the Week. Sussman scored four goals to lead the men's lacrosse team to an amazing 8-6 upset of #6 Cornell. Winingham won all four of her matches - singles and doubles - to lead the women's tennis team to a 2-0 start in Ivy play with wins over Cornell and Columbia.

Dartmouth Female Athlete of the Week:
Mary Beth Winingham (Carmel, Ind.), Women's Tennis, 3rd Singles/1st Doubles, Senior

Senior Mary Beth Winingham (Carmel, Ind.) has helped the Dartmouth women's tennis team to a 15-2 start and a 2-0 beginning to the Ivy League season with excellent play in doubles and singles. She won all four of her matches in wins over Cornell and Columbia. Winingham won both of her singles matches in straight sets, while her and junior Molly Scott (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) continue to dominated at the No. 1 doubles spot with two convincing wins over the weekend. Since Jan. 24 when the dual match season began, Scott and Winingham are 14-3, including a seven-match winning streak to began the season.

Your team had a successful spring trip, going 3-1. Do you feel the team is at a disadvantage, playing teams out west who have nice weather all year?
It's fair to say that we went out there with a disadvantage, playing against teams who practice outdoors year-round while we are primarily an indoor team. However, I think we succeeded in our goal to be able to manage the conditions and play to the best of our abilities by the end of the trip. It helped, too, that the first team we played (Utah State) is also an indoor team for most of the year.

You started the Ivy season with a pair of convincing wins over the weekend and the team is 15-2, what is different about this team than in years' past?
This year we've really tried to play for "today," and in the moment, rather than emphasizing the results of Ivies. With the determination to improve a little bit every day and then compete your hardest with what you have on that day, I think we are more confident, focused, and having fun.

Princeton poses a tough matchup on Saturday. You beat them at the ECAC Indoor Championships, do you take anything from that match and transfer it to the spring?
What we can take from that match is that we know how to play the team, we know we can win, and we can confidently execute in the same way we did in the winter. However, they're going to be out for revenge, which only requires that we be ready and treat it just like any other match.

Lastly, you and Molly Scott have been a great doubles duo, what makes you so good?
From a strategic standpoint, we work well together because Molly's power and accuracy sets up points in a way that I can finish it off at the net. Together, we are a relatively scrappy team, and we've played together for long enough now that we can sense where the other is moving around the court, allowing us to cover for each other (which we find ourselves doing a lot). From a mental standpoint, Molly and I have a lot of fun together on the court, which makes a huge difference when it comes to relaxing and having the ability to play confidently. She knows how to handle me if I'm frustrated and she keeps me focused, while at the same time making me laugh.

Dartmouth Male Athlete of the Week:
Ari Sussman (New Have, Conn.) Men's Lacrosse, Attack, Senior

With sophomore goaltender Fergus Campbell (New Canaan, Conn.) provided the excitment on the defensive end, the Big Green needed an offensive threat to come through and senior captain Ari Sussman (New Haven, Conn.) did just that with four goals in the 8-6 stunning win over No. 6 Cornell at Gillette Stadium. All four of his goals came unassisted as the 5-foot-8 attackman created his own shots by dodging defenders all afternoon. Sussman is currently in the top-10 in each offensive category in the Ivy League with his highest output coming as points per game at 3.71, which puts him fourth in the conference. He has also jumped up the Dartmouth career points' standings with 144 points for 11th and he is19th in goal scoring.

Many senior classes before you have not had the chance to beat a team like Cornell, take me through the emotions when you the clock is ticking down?
The team has put in a tremendous amount of work to allow us to be competitive with the best teams in Division 1, and it was great to see this work pay off in this game, on this stage, against a team like Cornell. The game was a huge relief for our team and for the seniors. We were going through a tough stretch of games with the losses down in North Carolina and the brutal loss to Harvard last Saturday. This win turns everything around. Everyone has invested so much time and energy into this season, and this win justifies this commitment.

The crowd was the second-largest ever to see a Dartmouth lacrosse game. How was the atmosphere from a field perspective?
Playing in an NFL stadium is a remarkable feeling. You feel like you are under a magnifying glass when you are on the field.  The magnitude of the game, of every possession, of every play seemed larger, and it made the game really exciting to be a part of.

The Ivy League seems wide open this year, especially with the tournament, and with only one team without a loss (Princeton), what will it take to make a run into the postseason tournament?
The win against Cornell allows us to control our own destiny. We have four huge Ivy League games left. If we win all of them, we can win the league. If we lose all of them, we could finish last. We need to continue to take one game at a time and not set expectations for ourselves. Right now, we are focusing on Yale on Saturday.

Many people looked at the schedule and wondered why the team went to UNC and Duke. How much did the experience down there contribute to the win on Saturday?
We train and work incredibly hard to make us not only competitive in the Ivy League, but also competitive nationally. UNC and Duke are two of the best teams in the country. Playing them gives us the opportunity to see the level that we are striving to reach. Unfortunately, we did not play to our potential against either team. In the losses, many problems and weaknesses were exposed. These weaknesses and problems were things we worked on and solved; we are now a better team because of the trip.