At only 18 years old, Rowmarker Mary Bocock has already had an impressive skiing career.
In addition to her achievements as a top Rowmark Ski Academy athlete, Mary had the chance to compete with the US Ski & Snowboard Team in Europe in January 2021, an opportunity that led to her first nomination to the US Alpine Ski Team later that year. Earlier this month, she was nominated to the US Ski Team for a second time. And prior to sustaining a knee injury in December, Mary was ranked first in super-G, third in giant slalom, and eighth in slalom in the United States for her age.
Mary will soon add another achievement to her resume—college athlete—when she joins the Dartmouth College women’s ski team next year. She plans to enroll as a first-year student in fall 2023, after taking a gap year to continue her healing and focus on her commitment to the US Ski Team before she dives back into a routine of balancing school, training, and racing.
“Joining the Dartmouth ski team has been one of my athletic goals since I started thinking about colleges,” said Mary, who long considered the Ivy League school not only because it offered a top ski program, but also because of its academic excellence.
“This is a great fit for Mary on all levels,” said Todd Brickson, Rowmark Ski Academy program director. “Dartmouth has a long history of developing world-class ski racers within their storied NCAA Division 1 ski team, in conjunction with their flexible academic structure and top-notch education.”
To celebrate Mary’s plan to attend Dartmouth, we asked her a few questions about her decision and her journey as a skier. The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
When did you find out that you have a spot on Dartmouth's ski team? How did it feel to receive that news?
I started talking to the coach about a year and a half before I committed to skiing for him. I knew the coach was interested in me, but I knew that I shouldn’t get my hopes up because there could be other girls out there. So when he told me he wanted to offer me a spot in the fall of 2023, I felt relieved and excited that I didn’t have to worry about my college experience.
You'll be taking a gap year before heading to Dartmouth. Why did you make that choice?
I will be taking a gap year after I graduate in the spring so that I can focus on my commitment to the US Ski Team and take advantage of all the resources they provide. Throughout my whole racing career, I have always had to balance traveling and school, so I want to experience the sport without having to balance the stresses of high school alongside the pressure of performing well in races and traveling. The Dartmouth coach actually offered me a spot to start in the fall of 2022, but I decided that I want to take a year to mature as an athlete and really focus on racing to make the most of my opportunity with the US Ski Team.
You've been offered a spot on the Dartmouth team and you're on the US Ski Team—basically, you've achieved two of your dreams. While you can't know what lies ahead, how are you approaching these two amazing opportunities?
I feel very lucky to have these two incredible opportunities ahead of me. I am trying to stay present and not worry about how I will balance the two programs. I am just trying to take advantage of the places and lessons I am experiencing. I always try to not take anything for granted—especially after COVID—and make the most of my time traveling and exploring new mountains and countries.
Focusing on your time at Rowland Hall, what moment as a member of Rowmark are you most proud of?
I’ve had a lot of great experiences on Rowmark, so it’s hard for me to pick my favorite moment. But if I had to, I would say one of my favorite memories is when I won a GS [giant slalom] race in Breckenridge, Colorado, at the end of my junior year. It was that race that helped me lower my points enough to make criteria for the US Ski Team. When I came down and everyone was cheering for me, I was so excited that I couldn’t stop smiling. Then, a few minutes later, my coach came down and gave me a hug (which is rare because he’s not one for hugs), and I started to experience an overwhelming amount of emotions because it all felt real.
On the other side, some of the most memorable experiences from Rowmark have been off the snow. The conditioning/team bonding week is always a highlight of the year because the whole team comes together to compete with each other in a very cohesive way. Competition is one of my favorite aspects of ski racing, so I always have a lot of fun on the camping weekend when the whole trip is just filled with competition.
Tell us about the skills you built at Rowland Hall and on Rowmark that you'll be taking with you after graduation.
One of the most notable skills I’ve learned from being on Rowmark while attending a challenging high school is time management and communication. In order for me to keep up with my work while I’m gone, I have to be very diligent with letting my teachers know when I will be gone and updating them on my progress throughout my trips. My first few training camps with the US Ski Team have been very different compared to those with Rowmark because nobody else in my group is in school. I am the only one trying to keep up with classes while skiing at a high level. I have to find time to separate myself and sit down and do school work while my teammates do their other activities. However, I have actually started to really enjoy Zooming into my classes while I'm away on ski trips because it is an opportunity for me to take time off from thinking about skiing and still feel connected with my life at home.