Abbey D'Agostino repeats as Northeast Regional champion

by Kelly Hanen | 11/11/12 11:00pm

The Dartmouth men's and women's cross country teams closed out their seasons on Friday at the NCAA Northeast Regional at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Conn., where the men took fourth and the women finished 10th. Even though she missed the last two races due to injury, Abbey D'Agostino '14 showed no signs of rust, repeating as individual champion and advancing to Saturday's NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky.

The Big Green men's total of 144 points was good for fourth behind Iona College (45), Columbia University (72) and Syracuse University (73). Iona and Columbia automatically qualified for nationals by placing in the top two, while Syracuse secured an at-large bid and will also race in Louisville. As he has in every meet this season, Will Geoghegan '14 finished as the Big Green's top runner, taking 17th place in a time of 30:37 on the 10-kilometer course. The next Dartmouth runner, Dylan O'Sullivan '15, crossed the finish line half a minute later in 25th place with a time of 31:04. Both Geoghegan and O'Sullivan earned All-Region honors for their performances. Dartmouth's final three scorers packed in closely behind O'Sullivan, as Jonathan Gault '13 (32nd, 31:09), Steve Mangan '14 (34th, 31:11) and Phil Royer '13 (36th, 31:12) all finished in the top 40 places. Iona's Mitch Goose claimed the individual title in 30:04.

"For the team, it would have been nice to make nationals," O'Sullivan said. "We ran well, but not as well as we could have, and it just wasn't enough to overcome Columbia."

Poor weather conditions were initially a concern, but the course cleared up before the race on Friday.

"The day before the race, we arrived at the course to jog it," Geoghegan said. "There was a ton of snow and mud on the ground. By the next day, it had cleaned up a lot more than we thought. There were still some mud and puddles, but mostly it was just windy."

The team was disappointed to not make nationals, but the squad returns five of its top seven runners, not including John Bleday '14, who was one of the team's top runners early in the season before spraining his ankle at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in October and missing the rest of the season.

"Overall, our season was pretty good," O'Sullivan said. "We ran our best two races at [the Ivy League Heptagonal championships] and Regionals. Unfortunately, the way the season works, you need to run well at the big invitationals early on. We're in such a tough region that it is hard to be in the top two to get an automatic bid to nationals. In the future, we'll need to work on getting at-large points at the beginning."

On the women's side, D'Agostino defended the NCAA Northeast Regional title despite not having competed since Sept. 28. D'Agostino beat out over 250 other runners with a time of 19:51 on the six-kilometer course to claim the top spot. As a team, the Big Green finished 10th overall with 234 points and last among the six Ivy League teams competing. Providence College won the race with 46 points, placing four runners in the top eight places. Dana Giordano '16 came in second for Dartmouth, crossing the finish line in 29th place with a time of 20:48. Hannah Rowe '14 (54th, 21:15), Kate Sullivan '13 (56th, 21:19) and Alison Lanois '15 (94th, 21:58) rounded out the scoring for the Big Green.

"We gave everything we had on Friday," D'Agostino said. "We were unfortunately still coming back from a few injuries as [coach Mark Coogan] said, we were rolling the dice' on some of the runners who had been cross-training up until race day but we were incredibly impressed with their contributions given the circumstances. People were gutsy, and that's all we can really ask for."

Rowe said that injuries have plagued Dartmouth the entire season.

"Looking back, the season was tough, for sure," Rowe said. "But I think we've all gotten a lot stronger from it. It's facing those types of adversities and still persevering that makes for a good team in the long run. Now, going forward, we just need to stay healthy. If we do that and train hard, things will take care of themselves."

D'Agostino will be back in action on Saturday to compete in the NCAA Championships. D'Agostino, who won the NCAA 5,000-meter crown on the track last spring, finished third at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last fall. D'Agostino said she will continue training as usual during preparation for the race.

"[I'm not doing anything] different," D'Agostino said. "I'm just trying to get as much work done as possible before I leave on Wednesday so I can really focus on the race while in Kentucky."

Gault is a member of The Dartmouth Senior Staff. Sullivan is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.