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Feature Friday: Sandy Love (Barbut) Hunt

Hello faithful readers! It's FRIDAY and I'm so excited today to share the perspective of my college teammate/best friend/roommate/co-captain/soul sister! Sandy Hunt is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she was a 4-year starter on the women's volleyball team. Sandy was a captain her senior year, earned all-tournament honors at the Crimson Classic, and was once named to the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll. Sandy still ranks in the Dartmouth record books for career kills (14th), career aces (6th), career digs (6th), and blocks in a season (21st). Sandy graduated with a degree in Psychology, was a C. Everett Koop Scholar, French Tutor & TA, and member of Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority. Sandy is now an ER Nurse Practitioner, while raising 2 kids with her husband. Sandy has some great advice and perspective on her time as a college athlete, so pay attention!

Sandy, her husband Steve, and their 2 kids Madi and Ben

GamePlan: If you could sum up your college athletic experience in one word, what would it be?

Sandy: An uphill battle

GamePlan: What are some lessons you learned while playing college athletics? Sandy: I learned to compete harder than I imagined. I learned what it means to be a leader. I learned the humbling experience of a tough loss. I learned the exhilaration of a hard fought win. I learned the value and meaning of playing on a team I believed in.

GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while playing college sports, and how did you get through it? Sandy: The hardest moment of my college career was the moment I realized we wouldn't be able to compete for the Ivy League Championship. We had built a team to win and were all committed to this goal. It was a tough pill to swallow.

I overcame this feeling of defeat mid-season by finding my love of the game and focusing on that. Taking the pressure away and really taking in every moment with my teammates.

GamePlan: I would answer this question the same way. And finding that joy and love for the game again allowed us to find big successes at the end of the season, which allowed us to end our careers on super high notes!

GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while going through the recruiting process? Sandy: One of the hardest aspects of the recruiting process for me was overcoming the fact that I was not necessarily considered to be a "tall" outside hitter, but I still wanted to play both offensively and defensively at a division 1 volleyball program. It is hard to convince schools to recruit you based off unteachable skills like court communication, work ethic, athleticism or athletic intelligence. Understandably, competitive programs like to know concrete facts i.e you are 6ft 2in with a massive vertical, and that you can block someone equally as tall. I think what helped me was playing on a competitive high school team where the passion of the players was visible and we were very fun to watch.

GamePlan: I love this!

GamePlan: What is your favorite memory from playing college sports? Sandy: My favorite memories from playing are the gigantic celebrations we would have together. The excitement everyone showed after winning a big point still gives me goosebumps. I also love to think about the brief moments between points when I was exhausted, drenched in sweat, at the peak of my endurance ability. At the start of a match point, I would look at my teammates on the court and we would grin in such a way that we knew we had already won.

GamePlan: 😍👊😼

GamePlan: What advice do you have for student-athletes who are trying to play at the collegiate level? Sandy: 1. Film a recruiting video and send it EVERYWHERE you are interested in.

2. Consider going to college in another state! You can always go back to your home state, but give yourself the chance to spend 4 years in a new place.

3. The coaching staff is important, make sure you feel a connection to them.

4. If you are picking between more than one school, go for the better education. This is what will follow you in your life after sports.

GamePlan: 🙌🙌🙌

Sandy in the glory days. Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics

GamePlan: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything? If so, what would you do differently? Sandy: I wouldn't change a thing.

GamePlan: What are you up to now?

Sandy: I am finishing my advanced practice degree as an Acute/Critical Care Nurse Practitioner program. At the same time, I am working at Boston Medical Center in the Emergency/Trauma department as an ER nurse. I have a 3 year old and 2 year old, Madison and Benjamin, and my incredible husband Steve.

GamePlan: What role did athletics play in helping you get to where you are now? Sandy: Athletics has given me so much to be grateful for and has been an integral part of creating my identity. In high school, athletics gave me confidence in myself, a tough as nails attitude, an incredibly successful team (ranking 2nd in the country) and best friends who I still have to this day and who I consider to be like family. In college, athletics gave me an education I otherwise may not have been considered for, the opportunity to play internationally, a best friend (Katie Hirsch!) who I had the privilege of being a captain with my senior year, and, perhaps most significantly, it brought me Steve, my husband!

GamePlan: 😻

So much gold is this post! If you are a prospective college athlete, you should re-read this post more than once. Sandy's insight is really valuable on so many levels - from creating a "tough as nails attitude" (this is HUGE) to learning more about leadership to furthering your education farther than you might have thought possible, to finding a spouse - it's applicable for us all. Thank you, Sandy, for your incredible words! Tune in next week!


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