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Dartmouth Athletics held its annual First Year Student-Athlete Dinner in the Hanover Inn Ballroom on Monday night and welcomed over 250 members of the Class of 2020. The dinner served as a special opportunity to address the entire class of student-athletes at once and also helped to set the tone for their next four years at the College.

The message of the night was emphasized through three main pillars: do your best, make your mark, and embrace the challenge. Freshmen were also introduced to the core values of Dartmouth Athletics: Determination, Resilience, Ingenuity, Valor, and Excellence (DRIVE).

Dartmouth’s Director of Athletics, Harry Sheehy, encouraged freshmen to use their time at Dartmouth wisely and to take advantage of the opportunity to build their character, which is foundational to their success.

“Chase the lion. Don’t be afraid of pressure. Seek it out and you will grow. You don’t have to be an intellectual, but you have to be smart. Look for the opportunities to challenge yourself and to represent Athletics well,” said Athletic Director Harry Sheehy.

“We are not a great University because we are a great athletic department, but we are a great athletic department because we are a part of a great University.” 

Freshmen also heard from Dartmouth Peak Performance’s (DP2) nutritionist, Shira Evans, who joined the staff this past summer, and elaborated on the theme “Do Your Best.” Shira shared about the importance of doing the small things right – emphasizing the impact of sleeping enough, eating well, and making the right decisions to reach one’s academic and athletic peak.

As the freshmen begin to embark on their journey at the university, they are in a prime position to have a lasting impact on the fabric, culture, and record books of Dartmouth Athletics. Steven Spaulding, DP2’s Assistant Athletic Director for Leadership, expounded on the concept of “Make Your Mark” and the impact that one’s character has on building a culture of winning.

“Character is built in the dark. It will build the teams that don’t just win once, it builds the teams that win again and again and again and again,” said Spaulding. 

To drive home the third and last pillar of the night, “Embrace The Challenge”, the Class of 2020 heard from Holekamp Family Director of Strength and Conditioning Spencer Brown, who asked the freshmen to think on the question, “If all your teammates were like you, how good would the team be?” With high hopes for the Class of 2020, Brown challenged the freshmen to face adversity head-on.

“Potential is a dangerous thing. You [the freshmen] might have thought you’ve already reached it now that you’re here at Dartmouth, but you’re wrong. We’re here to unlock that potential. We’re going to challenge you, push you every day, and make sure you grow. That’s our job and we’re going to do it.”

To wrap up the night, freshmen on the football team led the group in the singing of the Alma Mater.

For more photos and a video from the night, check out Dartmouth Peak Performance's Facebook page