Standout athletes excel in academics, extracurriculars
By Blaze Joel, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, June 8, 2012
As their seasons and tenure at the College come to a close, senior athletes have had time to reflect on their last moments on the field, track or court. Several have served as leaders on their teams while also maintaining academic goals. These include football team running back Nick Schwieger ’12, women’s hockey team defenseman Moira Scanlon ’12, golf team member Peter Williamson ’12, and women’s cross country and track team runner Alexi Pappas ’12.
NICK SCHWIEGER ’12
After four years as a running back, Schwieger, a history major and member of Gamma Delta Chi fraternity, will be playing for the St. Louis Rams in the National Football League next year.
Schwieger, who arrived on campus in the Fall of 2008, saw his team go 0-10 for his first season.
“We went through a big rough patch freshman year and knew we didn’t want to go through that again,” he said. “We saw it as our job to right the ship.”
The team has improved markedly in the last few seasons, tying for second in the Ivy League this year. Schwieger’s senior season was his best statistically, with 1,310 yards and 10 touchdowns. He became the football program’s all-time leader in rushing and all-purpose yards and ranks second in rushing touchdowns. In a game against Cornell University on Nov. 5, Schweiger set the Dartmouth single-game rushing record with 257 yards on 26 carries, propelled by a 65-yard touchdown.
Schwieger was recently signed by the St. Louis Rams and is contracted through the team’s training camp in August. He will become the first Dartmouth alumnus to play in the NFL since Casey Cramer ’04, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Schwieger, who has already attended a mini training camp, said it was important for him not to be intimidated by others at the practices.
“One day, in stretching lines after practice, I just looked around and started laughing,” he said. “It just hit me — Wow, I’m here in the NFL with people who played for the national championship just a few months ago.”
MOIRA SCANLON ’12
Scanlon’s role as a leader on the women’s hockey team has taught her to push herself harder and be accountable for the team, she said. Scanlon is an economics major and a member of Sigma Delta sorority.
The team won the ECAC Tournament her freshman year and returned to the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament last year. In her senior season, Scanlon notched three goals and three assists.
Scanlon said that winning the ECAC Tournament three years ago was the favorite moment of her career.
“I didn’t even play in that game, but I was so happy,” she said. “It was such a huge accomplishment because we weren’t favored going into the Final Four and ended up winning.”
Scanlon said she is unsure of her future plans but hopes to find a job in Boston.
“The thing I think I’ll miss the most is having all of my best friends in such close proximity,” Scanlon said.
PETER WILLIAMSON ’12
Williamson, a studio art major with an architecture concentration and geography minor, has won Ivy League Player of the Year and the Ivy League Individual Championship three times in his golf career. This season, Williamson led all NCAA golfers in scoring average, besting University of California, Los Angeles student Patrick Cantlay, who has earned low amateur honors in the Masters tournament and the U.S. Open.
Williamson said he values his team’s success as more important than his own.
“When you play college golf, you play as a team,” he said. “We got two team victories in the fall. It was a great individual season, but those are the ones you remember because you’re a team and you all can go back and tell stories about them.”
Williamson said that one of his most “fulfilling” experiences at the College has been mentoring children through the Thetford Mentors program.
“Being a part of a young kid’s life and getting them excited about school is great,” he said. “They’re excited because they get to hang out with the older kids and you just feed off of that excitement.”
Williamson, who is a member of Beta Alpha Omega fraternity, plans on spending this summer on the amateur circuit and attending Q-School, the annual qualifying tournaments for major golf tours, in the fall to earn his Tour Card.
ALEXI PAPPAS ’12
Pappas, an English major with a focus on creative writing, said she has learned what “putting in 100 percent” means over this past year through her involvement in track and field and cross country.
“I’ve been slowly progressing over the last four years,” she said. “I put in the extra pieces and learned how to mentally attack and enjoy the sport.”
Pappas was a member of the distance medley relay team that won third place in the 2012 NCAA Indoor National Championships and qualified for NCAA Regionals both this spring and her junior spring. The third-place team finish is her favorite memory as a member of the team, she said.
“It was just a huge feeling of excitement and accomplishment,” she said. “We worked so hard and to do so well was the greatest thing in the world.”
Pappas, who is a member of Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority, is also involved in the improvisational comedy group Dog Day Players.
“Our senior show was so special,” she said. “It was the culmination of my four years with the seniors. We’ve grown into a little family.”
Pappas plans on heading to the West Coast next year to continue competing and attend graduate school at the University of Oregon.
She said she hopes to become an independent filmmaker and has already contributed to a documentary project with Jeremy Teicher ’10.