1-on-1 with Abbey D'Agostino '14
This week, I sat down with cross country and track star Abbey D'Agostino '14 to discuss the season, her performance at the Olympic trials and her future in running.
When did you first start competitive running?
AD: I first started competitive running my freshman year of high school. Both of my parents are runners, so I had grown up around it, and when high school came around I decided to start competitively. I had heard the team was pretty close-knit, and it was nice not having to try out.
You broke your personal record in the Olympic trials 5,000 meters with a time of 15:19.98. Why do you think you performed so well there?
AD: I think a big part of it was due to having less pressure than a lot of the other athletes. Coach Mark [Coogan] had said to Alexi [Pappas '12] and I that being at the trials was like the icing on cake. We were there to have fun and get the experience of competing against the top Americans. We didn't feel like we needed to prove anything, and I think that led to a solid performance.
You compete year-round running both cross country in the fall and track in the winter and spring. Which do you like better?
AD: Cross country has always been my favorite season. I love the terrain, and it's just a much different feeling than track. The feeling of racing requires more concentration. I also really like being able to race with the team. In cross country, we all run together, but in track everyone is competing in their own event. I also think it feels more rewarding finishing a difficult hilly course than a run on the track.
In the Paul Short Run two weeks ago, you soundly defeated the rest of the field. Is it hard to push yourself when you have a significant lead?
AD: I always like to run the last 1,000 meters hard regardless of the circumstances. Racing is what we train for, and the last [kilometer]is where we can push for the best time. I love the course at the Paul Short. It was where I ran my first true cross country race sophomore year, since I was injured freshman year. To be back there and feel much better was great. I think the race showed that we have a very promising team and shows that we're going in the right direction.
The team recently switched its sponsorship from Nike to New Balance. How does the gear and shoes you run with affect your performance in races?
AD: We're all really excited that we switched to New Balance. We all get a free pair of trainers and racing shoes. To have that at your fingertips is nice. We didn't have quite as good of a deal with Nike. I think we're unified and more intimidating at races.
The team has had a lot of success lately with you and Alexi Pappas being among the best in the country in your respective events. How do you think that has affected recruiting and the future of Dartmouth track?
AD: I definitely think we have a much bigger pool of recruits, and they're more talented than they have been in the past. We had two recruiting weekends this fall and made sure that the recruits had a quality experience and showed them how good of a dynamic our team has. That's why I came here, and I think showing that to recruits is important. They're the future of the program, and we want to make sure we can get the best recruits we can.
What are your long-term goals for running?
AD: Well I think the goal for the rest of the season [for the team] is making the national meet at the end of the fall. Personally, if I get the chance to run professionally, I would love to do that, but I'm taking one step at a time. I really enjoy the team experience in college, and it's a motivating force. I don't know exactly what I want to do with running long-term, but I'm just going to keep working hard and the rest will take care of itself.