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Jack of Most Trades

Sunday, January 25, 2009

By Bruce Wood
Courtesy Dartmouth Athletic Communications

Hard as it may be to believe, if you are forming an intramural softball team you might want to think twice before using a draft choice on two-sport standout Whitney Douthett.

"I'm horrible at softball. Just terrible," she says with a laugh. "I'm also very poor at swimming."

Oh, and she can't really remember spending any quality time on the ice, either.
So if you are paying attention, you may want to challenge the Dartmouth senior to hit your riser or race to the other side of the pool or lace up the skates.

Under no circumstances would it be advisable to challenge her to anything to do with lacrosse. Or soccer. Or basketball. Or skiing.

Or time management, for that matter. The senior from Newtown, Pa., has all those things down cold. Consider that:

* She was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy League lacrosse team the past two years and is well on her way to leading the nationally ranked Big Green in scoring for the second year in a row despite playing in the midfield. Heading into Wednesday's game against Harvard she had registered at least one point in 50 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in the nation.

* Last fall she earned the Lucinda Fernald Cup presented to the Dartmouth soccer player who best displays ability, leadership, sportsmanship, enthusiasm and dedication to the Dartmouth program for the second year in a row while winning a berth on the All-Ivy League, All-New England and All-Northeast second teams.

* Although she doesn;t play basketball at Dartmouth -- she was tempted to join the team's practice squad -- she started at point guard for New Jersey prep powerhouse Peddie School and drew recruiting interest from several colleges for her skills on the hardwood.

* While a busy schedule and the threat of injury have kept her off the slopes since she's been at Dartmouth, she's a good enough skier to at least daydream of being on the national champion Big Green squad.

* She is so well-regarded by her teammates and coaches that she served as a captain of the soccer team last fall and is a captain of the lacrosse team this spring.

All of which begs the question: Is she a soccer player who plays lacrosse or a lacrosse player who plays soccer?

"Can I say both?" she offers with a smile. "I've been playing soccer all my life, so I don't want to say I'm a lacrosse player playing soccer. I think I'm both. Or I'm a basketball player in the form of a lacrosse and soccer player. My basketball player is waiting to break out."

Call her what you want, you have no choice but to call her busy and she doesn't have a problem with that. In fact, she sees it as an advantage.

"I actually think playing two sports helps me do better in school," she said. "Some of my roommates don't play sports and they tend to waste time and then at the last minute struggle to get things done. Especially playing two sports I really, really have to be on top of everything."

Douthett interned in customer marketing and sales at ESPN in New York -- you might want to give her a call if you didn't get that sweet fleece with your subscription to the magazine -- and hopes to work in sports promotions or marketing after graduation. She will help her chances by studying in the Tuck Bridge program this summer.

She is confident she can handle whatever challenges come her way on the job front after surviving both her grueling Dartmouth schedule and Amy Patton, whom she labels "the best coach I've ever had in my life."

Explains Douthett: "Amy gives Margo (Duke) and me as captains so much freedom and so much responsibility that it will definitely transfer into the work world.

"Talking to (former lacrosse teammate) Lizzy Cuneo, she said when her boss or her superiors come up to her and tell her she is doing something wrong she just brushes it off. I guess for other people who didn't play Division I sports it gets in their heads and they start over-thinking everything. She's like, "If you can play Division I lacrosse with Amy Patton, you could succeed anywhere in the world."

Where Douthett has succeeded is as a back on the soccer pitch, where her charge last fall was to stop people from scoring. She was a prime reason why opponents averaged a paltry 0.58 goals against the Big Green.

Where she succeeds in the spring is largely at the other end of the field as an attacking midfielder, where she does her best to defeat people trying to do what she does in the fall -- protect the goal. "It's sort of strange that I play the two different positions, when you think about it," she admits. "But I think it makes me better."

It probably wouldn't help her in the batter's box, but you really should see her on horseback. She was awfully good as a young girl, but that's a story for another day.

- A.S.