HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth College Department of Athletics and Recreation hosted its annual Celebration of Athletic Excellence on Monday evening inside Leede Arena, honoring the achievements of teams and individuals for the 2015-16 academic year.
Dartmouth’s highest athletic honor, the Kenneth Archibald Prize, is presented annually to “the member of the graduating class who has been four years in attendance, who has been the best all-around athlete, regard also being had to moral worth and high standing in scholarship.” The winner traditionally exemplifies all that we hope and expect of the men and women who put on the Dartmouth uniform and take to the field of play. This student-athlete is to be of exemplary athletic skill, of great academic prowess and of high moral character.
For the first time in 17 years, and just the sixth time since the award was first bestowed over 100 years ago, the Archibald Prize was shared between a pair of individual student-athletes as Dovydas Sakinis of men’s tennis and Katie McEachern of the softball team were both recognized.
It’s hard to argue against the accomplishments of McEachern during her four years in Hanover as she leaves an indelible mark on the program’s record book. She hit the most home runs in a season this spring with 12, while also scoring the most runs and recording the best slugging percentage in a season. She also set program records in four batting statistics, most notably 40 home runs and 203 hits.
McEachern was a key component to the Big Green team that won back-to-back Ivy League Championships in 2014 and 2015, leading to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. This spring, the senior from San Diego won her second consecutive Ivy League Player of the Year Award and was named to the All-Ivy First Team for the fourth time, becoming the first player to accomplish that feat in program history. She was also just named to the all-region first team as well as garnering a spot on the academic all-district team.
In singles, Dovydas was an All-Ivy League First Team selection for the third year in a row after playing at the No. 1 position for every match. He finished the regular season with a record of 14-10 and was nationally ranked for the entirety of the two-month season, sitting as high as No. 18 in January. The senior from Lithuania wrapped up his collegiate career as the 91st-ranked player in the nation, while helping the Big Green reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997.
Dovydas also went 12-8 in doubles action, playing mostly at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. At the conclusion of dual-match season, the backbone of the men’s team was named the ITA Northeast Region Player of the Year, adding his list of career accomplishments that also included being tabbed as the 2014 Ivy League Rookie of the Year (the first in program history) and the 2015 Ivy League Player of the Year. Last season, he became the first player on the team to qualify for the NCAA Singles Tournament since 1994. Two weeks ago, during the team’s first trip to NCAAs in nearly two decades, he was leading the third-ranked player in the country at the No. 1 position in the third set when the match went unfinished.
The Class of 1976 Award is presented annually to the most outstanding female athlete of the year. This year, that distinction was presented to senior Kaitlin Whitehorn of the women’s track & field team.
Whitehorn may have been honored for her performance as a senior in 2015-16, but she has been one of the best female athletes in the Ivy League since stepping foot on campus four years ago.
A five-time Ivy League champion and two-time All-American in the high jump, Whitehorn has dominated her respective event this season by winning during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Her title at the most recent outdoor championship at the beginning of May meet made her the most decorated Dartmouth female high jumper in history as she became the first in program history to win not only three event crowns, but three in a row.
Whitehorn is also the only woman in Ivy League history to win the 100m and high jump in a career (a feat she accomplished on the same day in 2014) as she graduates with six Ivy titles to her credit. Her season continues this weekend at the East Regional Meet as she is continuing to pursue yet another high jump All-American honor.
The most outstanding male athlete of the year was presented the Alfred E. Watson Trophy with the honor going to football’s senior quarterback Dalyn Williams.
Williams had numerous individual achievements in his final season, but will perhaps be best remembered for leading the Big Green back to the top of the Ivy League for the first time in 19 seasons. The Texas native and team captain fought through injuries all season, not missing a snap and making critical plays at key moments as Dartmouth finished the season 20th in the national polls.
Williams put the rest of the conference on notice early by completing a Big Green record 92 percent of his passes in a 41-20 rout of Penn on the road to start Ivy play, then set two more program records the following week with 435 passing yards and 453 total yards in a 35-3 blowout of Yale in the homecoming game. He is the Dartmouth career record holder in passing yards, completion percentage, pass completions and attempts, passing efficiency and total offense, and his totals all rank among the top 10 in Ivy League history. An All-Ivy selection for the third time in his career, Williams also received the Bulger Lowe Award as the top offensive player from New England — FBS and FCS
The Class of 1948 Scholar-Athlete Awards, given “to one male and one female of the junior class, who have combined outstanding performance in athletics and significant achievement in academics,” were presented to women’s tennis junior Taylor Ng and junior Spencer Furey of heavyweight rowing.
An economics and anthropology double major with a 3.81 GPA, Ng was named First-Team All-Ivy League for both singles and doubles in 2016, playing at the No. 1 position in both. She wrapped up the regular season with a 10-8 record in singles and an impressive 14-1 in doubles. Ng was recently tabbed as the recipient of the ITA Arthur Ashe, Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for showing outstanding sportsmanship and leadership, paired with scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. She is part of the first Big Green duo to qualify for the NCAA Doubles Tournament that will compete this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Furey is pursuing a dual major in English and history and has a 3.91 cumulative GPA in his three years at Dartmouth. A walk-on as a freshman, he has excelled at his sport to the point where he holds two team records, was invited to the U.S. Under-23 National Team Selection Camp as a sophomore, and can expect to be invited back to the selection camp this summer. A staple in the 4-seat of the Varsity Eight, he helped the Big Green place fifth in the Petite Final at the Eastern Sprints Regatta two weekends ago and qualify for the IRA Regatta, which will take place June 3-5.
The Timothy Wright Ellis 1955 Memorial Award is given to a man showing extracurricular and scholastic drive, spirit, loyalty and amiability and is nominated and voted on by the captains of the men’s teams. Dan Gorman of the football team was named this year’s recipient.
Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens said of Gorman: “I know his time on the field was limited, but he exceeded all others off the field. His dedication to the Special Olympics and his role as Philanthropy Chair in Beta changed countless lives. His comradeship and loyalty to his school demonstrates what it truly means to be a Dartmouth athlete at its highest level. He has made his family and friends proud and as a son of Hanover, and he has made this town proud to call him a Man of Dartmouth.”
The 2015-16 Agnes Kurtz Award, given to “that woman who best combines proficiency in athletics with dedication to the furthering of women’s sports” as nominated and voted on by the captains of the Big Green women’s teams was presented to Tatjana Toeldte of women’s rugby. As a senior this fall, Toeldte played an integral role in getting her team to a varsity sport level and has helped changed the way that women are involved in athletics. Her encouragement of others to participate in her growing sport has also been a big reason for its growth at Dartmouth during her four years with the team. She also cultivated strong relationships within athletics department that helped not only with the team’s transition, but also bred a culture of a winning this year.
Mary O’Connell of the ski team was the winner of the Class of 1950 Award as “the varsity student-athlete who has demonstrated the most extraordinary commitment to community service.” As Dartmouth’s Jaeger Civic Intern, she has been very helpful and worked hard to increase the number of hours all sports team members have contributed to community service. She proved invaluable as she ran the CHaD Hero race and organized ‘Dancing Through the Decades.’ Not only has she excelled in this capacity, but also in her competitive sport, earning first-team All-America honors as a freshman and leading the women’s Nordic team at the NCAA Championship this winter in the 15K Classical race.
Additionally, women’s rugby, men’s soccer, equestrian and football were recognized for having won Ivy championships in 2015-16.