×

Dartmouth’s Rothwell Shines at Heptagonals

  • Darmouth assistant coach and former runner Jennie Cunningham hugs Dartmouth runners Bridget O'Neill, left, and Lauren Sapone after they placed 3rd and 5th in the woman's mile during the 2018 Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 25, 2018 (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Cha'Mia Rothwell crosses the finish line in the women's hurdles during the 2018 Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 25, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth supporters cheer their team on during the 2018 Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 25, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth's Ben Colello clears the bar during the pole vault while competing in the heptathlon, a seven event competition at the 2018 Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 25, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth's Cha'Mia Rothwell has her photo taken by family friend Joretha Johnson, left, and her mother, Mia Rothwell, both of Raleigh, N.C. after she won the women's hurdles at the 2018 Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 25, 2018.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Corinne Kennedy talks with her coach Richard Bowman during the 2018 Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 25, 2018. Kennedy returns to the area with Cornell. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, February 26, 2018

Hanover — Sandy Ford-Centonze had a good idea what her Dartmouth College’s women’s track and field team was getting when she recruited Durham, N.C., native and Durham Academy hurdle star Cha’Mia Rothwell. But changing the team’s dynamic with multiple record-breaking campaigns as a sophomore? No one saw that coming.

Rothwell lit it up once again on the final day of the Ivy League Heptagonal championships at Leverone Field House on Sunday, breaking a meet, Ivy League and 37-year-old New England record with a 8.20-second finish in the women’s 60-meter hurdles.

She concluded the weekend with two Ivy League titles — the other in Saturday’s high jump — and took second place in the women’s 200 behind Harvard All-American Gabrielle Thomas, becoming the third Dartmouth female athlete in the last four indoor seasons to win two events at Heps. Rothwell was also named female track performer of the meet for the second straight championship.

“I knew she’d be a top athlete,” said Ford-Centonze, Dartmouth’s 26-year coach. “I was not expecting her to come in as a freshman, win three titles, to come back, repeat and surpass what she did last year. I wasn’t expecting something drastic. But it’s been fun.”

Rothwell now holds a New England record previously set by Boston University runner and British Olympian Sharon Colyear in 1981 in only her second full indoor season with the Big Green. Rothwell’s results helped Dartmouth’s women place third behind Penn and Harvard in the team standings.

“It’s just a rhythm,” said Rothwell of her mindset during hurdle events. “You just zone out for the amount of time you’re running. You cross the line, it goes by so fast. It’s almost like it never happened.

“I’m at a loss for words,” she added on her success over the weekend. “This is such a special experience for me, my teammates, my coaches and my family. I’m really happy. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

Ford-Centonze said she initially recruited Rothwell for her hurdles specialty and began toying around with the idea of her competing in the long jump last summer. The 200 was also a late addition to Rothwell’s training routine. She ended up on the podium in both.

“She didn’t start long jumping until her senior year in high school,” Ford-Centonze said. “(In the 200), she’s just got such power. … I wanted to put quite a few performances out there because, as coaches, we’re all looking at everybody’s stuff. I wanted to have her listed as many times as I could.

As of Sunday, Rothwell was on pace to be one of 16 athletes nationwide to qualify for the long jump at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships, set for March 5 at Texas A&M. She must wait for results from the nation’s other conferences to see if she qualifies for any others.

But so far, so good for Dartmouth’s new track star. No matter the event, it seems Rothwell has another dimension to her athleticism that no one knew was there.

“She’s kind of like Midas,” said Ford-Centonze with a smile.

Whatever she touches turns to gold.

Dartmouth junior Justin Donawa is used to having his athletic mindset in two places at once. He splits his time between being a midfielder for the Big Green men’s soccer team and a jumper for the school’s track and field team. His track practices are limited to only a few times a week, however, and he can rarely make the trip to meets throughout the regular season.

Such was the case this winter. Donawa’s first meet of the 2018 indoor season was the Heps, where he walked away with a triple jump title in his pocket thanks to a day-best launch of 50 feet, 1 inch, on his first attempt.

“I have limited training … but I’ve been working really hard,” said Donawa, a Sandys, Bermuda, native. “For this to be my first meet, to medal even, is crazy. I would have been so proud. To get first is just like, it’s indescribable. I’m over the moon.”

Donawa was named to all-Ivy League men’s soccer first team with three goals and eight assists this fall, helping Dartmouth win its fourth consecutive Ivy League championship. His victory on Sunday snapped Harvard and Princeton’s seven-year stranglehold on the triple jump title. Donawa also became the first athlete to win an Ivy League team championship and individual Heps title in the same year since former Olympian Adam Nelson won a football title in 1996 and indoor and outdoor shot put titles in 1997.

“It was incredible,” said Dartmouth jumping coach Tim Wunderlich. “He put the competition away in his first jump, which is pretty incredible. He’s a really talented kid, a really nice kid. I’m just very proud of him.”

Lebanon High graduate Corinne Kennedy returned to the familiar setting of the Upper Valley with a new team and a new perspective on her sport.

The former Raider track star, now a Cornell University sprinter, saw limited action at the Heps, failing to qualify for the women’s 500 on Saturday before helping Cornell’s 4x400 relay team take fourth behind Harvard, Penn and Columbia on Sunday. She called the return home emotional, saying that the biggest adjustment to collegiate track has been the year-round training schedule, something her body has needed some time getting used to.

“The biggest challenge, I think, has been how long the season is compared to back at home,” she said. “I think I’m still learning how to adjust to competing for such a long time at such a high caliber. It’s a work in progress.”

Kennedy won 19 NHIAA individual state titles, both indoor and outdoor, during her track career at Lebanon, and has had success in her first season with the Big Red. She won the women’s 300 in 40.86 seconds at Cornell’s Marc Deneault Invitational meet last week.

Dartmouth’s Ben Ose, with a new cornrow hairstyle styled especially for the Heps, collected 5,430 points — the third-best mark in school history — to become the sixth different Big Green athlete to win the heptathlon. A Dartmouth athlete has won a league-best 12 heptathlons, twice as many Penn.

“I’ve been growing it out,” said Ose, a junior. “My coach was like, ‘You should cornrow it for Heps. It’ll look super fierce.’ I don’t think he actually thought I’d do it. … It’s not bad. It turned out a lot better than I thought it would.”

Ben Colello was third with 5,202 points and Matt Sindelar was fourth with 4,927 points for Dartmouth to help the men’s team take fourth. Tim Zepf placed second (1:52.76) in the men’s 800, making up ground in the last few minutes to edge Columbia’s Josiah Langstaff by one-hundredth of a second.

Maria Garman (5-9.75) and Camille Landon (5-9.75) were second and third in the women’s high jump behind Penn’s Anna Peyton Malizia to help Dartmouth secure third place. Bridget O’Neill was third (4:51.15) in the mile, and Abby Livingston placed third (2:10.64) in the 800.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.