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A Reflection on a Senior Season Lost


Photo by Sideline Sports/The Ivy League

It's Hard to Imagine Never Putting on a Dartmouth Uniform Again

April 3, 2020
Story by Cha'Mia Rothwell ’16

One of the most painful things to experience as a senior is losing your season prematurely. The irony of the situation is that my teammates and I received this news in the middle of practice.

Looking back, I have to laugh a little as we were so shocked that we continued to train in the moment, completely disregarding the gravity of what we just heard. I distinctly remember reading the email repeatedly after practice in a state of denial, confusion and frustration.

"Wait, what do you mean the season is canceled?"

This was the question that circled through my mind in the days and weeks that followed the initial moment of utter shock.

Even though I've mostly come to terms with this life-changing news, it's still hard to imagine that I will never put on a Dartmouth uniform again. While I'm disappointed by this new reality, I've had a tremendous amount of time to reflect on my athletic career at Dartmouth and the great times that I've spent with my teammates.

As a team, we experienced so many ups and downs this year from both an individual and collective perspective, especially after losing coach Sandy, who was the heartbeat of our program. [Veteran track and field coach Sandy Ford-Centonze died in December after battling cancer.]

During this period of grief, we truly grew closer as a family through leaning on one another in the midst of tough times and for that I am forever grateful. I found so much joy in coming to practice every day and seeing myself and my teammates get better. Track and field had become my place of refuge and I'm sure other student-athletes can relate in a similar fashion. Many of us consider our sport to be an intrinsic part of us, a part that when taken away makes us feel incomplete.

I knew that my farewell to Dartmouth track and field was approaching, so the disappointing aspect was not the "goodbye" itself. Rather, it was the manner in which everything unfolded — completely abrupt and unexpected — that makes this a tough pill to swallow.

If there's one thing that I've learned from this, it's to treat every moment on the track like it may be my last. As student-athletes, it can be easy to take our sports for granted, not knowing that at any moment a part of our lives that we love so much can be ripped away from us due to circumstances completely out of our control.

 With that said: thank you, Dartmouth track and field, for making the last three-and-a-half years so incredibly special. The sense of camaraderie that this team embodies will stick with me forever.

Originally published on

Rothwell Joins Duke Track and Field Team as Graduate Transfer

Cha'Mia Rothwell ’16 will bring her athletic talents to Duke University next year, joining the Blue Devil track and field team as a graduate transfer while attending Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. At Dartmouth, Rothwell won back-to-back Ivy League Outstanding Female Field Performer honors at the 2017 and 2018 Heptagonal Championships. She set personal best times in the 60m hurdles (8.20 seconds) and 200m (23.90 seconds) at the 2018 Ivy League Indoor Championships, winning gold and silver, respectively. She claimed gold again in the indoor 60m hurdles this past season with a finish of 8.31 seconds. In her first year at Dartmouth, she set the Ivy League record in 60m hurdles with a time of 8.30 at indoor Heptagonal Championships. She also set school records in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.23 at outdoor Heps and in the long jump with a 6.17 meter (20’03”) leap at indoor Heps. Rothwell was named Dartmouth’s top senior student-athlete, and the Dartmouth athletics department twice recognized Rothwell as the most outstanding female athlete of the year. At Durham Academy, Rothwell held the 200m North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association champion title for three consecutive years and the 100m and high jump state champion title for a year.