Dawn Cartwright carries the distinctions of being the only four-time first team all-conference volleyball player in school history, as well as just the third former volleyball standout to be individually enshrined into the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.
The 1990 graduate and West Linn, Ore., native played four years as outside hitter for the Wildcats, capping off her career as a member of Linfield’s conference co-championship and NAIA District 2 playoff-qualifying team as a senior in 1989.
With Cartwright in the lineup, Linfield finished no lower than third in the league, including a co-championship and two consecutive runner-up finishes, while compiling a 31-13 record against conference opponents. In all, the Wildcats won a total of 77 matches between 1986 and 1989.
The team’s best season came in 1989, when Linfield went 10-2 in the league (23-12 overall) and qualified for the NAIA District 2 playoffs for the first time in two years. There, the Wildcats lost a pair of one-set heartbreakers to Pacific and George Fox.
Head coach Shane Kimura remembers Cartwright’s tremendous all-around skills that allowed her to rotate through multiple positions and maximize her contributions to the team.
“She could do a lot of things for us on the court,” Kimura said. That ability perhaps shone through most during one of Cartwright’s early seasons, when the 5-10 outside hitter stepped into a setting role. Kimura had to laugh, however, when he recalled Cartwright’s concern for spreading around assists to all of her teammates. “I had to remind her that it’s not an equal opportunity…”
As for Cartwright, some of her greatest memories of Linfield volleyball include playing in the new Ted Wilson Gymnasium during her senior season and reaching the conference tournament finals. But more importantly, Cartwright treasures her experiences as a student-athlete at Linfield, as well as the relationships she formed with her teammates and coaches.
“It made it very easy for me to transition into school. I had instant friends,” she said of her membership on the volleyball squad. “It really helped to connect with the school, having that opportunity to be on the team and have people that I immediately made connections with.”
Cartwright, who maintained a high grade point average throughout her time as a business major at Linfield, also valued the opportunity to be a true student-athlete.
“Academics were high priority,” Cartwright added. “That was important, to come to someplace that respected sport but not at the expense of academics.”
Since graduating from Linfield, Cartwright has assumed managerial and directorial roles in risk management and human resources for several large companies in the Northwest. She currently works for Vigor Industrial, a ship and repair construction company located on Swan Island, where she is the director of human resources.
She and husband Chris Brown ’92, whom she met playing in a recreational volleyball league as students, married in 1995. They adopted a son, Owen (7) in 2006 and currently live in the Sellwood area of Portland.