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The Dartmouth
February 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Track team continues to succeed


Leading the Big Green men was John Bleday '14, last season's indoor 3000-meter individual Ivy League Heptagonal Championships winner, who took the top spot in the same event with a 7:59.33. Jonathan Gault '13 outpaced most of his opponents with a 14:25.81 to grab second place in the 5000-meter run. Connor Reilly '13 continued his trend of strong performances with a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter dash, with a 6.93.

Gault is a former member of The Dartmouth Senior Staff.

On the women's side, twin sisters Abby Markowitz '16 and Liz Markowitz '16 placed second in the 1000-meter run and 16th in the 800-meter run, respectively, while both Kate Sullivan '13 and Alison Lanois '15 set personal records in the 3000-meter run among a field of nearly 90 competitors.

Sullivan is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.

"The Terrier Invitational is the type of meet where it's not so much about winning as it is about gauging the level of competition," women's head coach Sandra Ford-Centonze said. "We accomplished what we wanted to, in terms of getting [personal records] and seeing how we compare to other collegiate and professional athletes."

Unlike the team's meet in New Haven, Conn. against the Bulldogs and Lions, which typically had only two or three heats for each event, the Terrier Invitational had around 41 heats per event, allowing for more participants, assistant coach Scott Phelps said.

"Across the board we have been consistently improving at each meet, and that's really great to see, especially at this time of the season," co-captain Arianna Vailas '14, who placed 10th in the women's mile with a time of 4:56.46, said. "There were a lot of great performances and [personal records] in some of the mid-distance and distance races, and it was exciting to see everyone competing against talented women from a lot of different schools."

While the Big Green thrived in Boston, Abbey D'Agostino '14 competed in the 3,000-meter run at the University of Washington Invitational in Seattle, an event reserved for the country's most elite runners. D'Agostino ran a personal best with a 8:55.41 to grab the top collegiate runner position, outpacing her University of Oregon competitor by more than three seconds.

Assistant coach Mark Coogan, who accompanied D'Agostino to the meet, lauded her ability to stay focused and remain confident despite the number of professional athletes present.

"Her mental toughness and dedication is really something to aspire to," Coogan said. "A lot of the other runners on the team can definitely learn from her."

D'Agostino's performance and commitment to the team has been essential, especially in a year that has seen many young new faces the Big Green boasts a strong contingent of freshman and sophomore runners.

"There is always room to improve for everyone on every event," men's head coach Barry Harwick said. "That's why events like the Terrier Invitational are so important to provide those chances to improve technique and confidence boosts."

Collegiate track and field is a big adjustment coming from high school athletics, Phelps said.

"These kids used to be the best runners on their team with relatively little effort, but now that they are here, everyone is really good so they have to be that much more competitive and work that much more harder," Phelps said. "They have to learn how to race by putting themselves in the right place throughout the race instead of burning out easily."

Though relatively inexperienced at the collegiate level, the younger members of the Big Green have already begun contributing to the teams' success.

"Usually freshmen don't affect the team score, but a lot of guys have stepped up and made big impacts, even in their first year," Bleday said.

Ford-Centonze said that the Big Green is driven, focused and competitive and thrives as a team rather than as individuals.

"The type of athlete that we have here is one that contributes, gives more than 100 percent and leaves it all on the track," Ford-Centonze said.

For many Big Green competitors, the Terrier Invitational served as a stepping-stone to Heps in four weeks, where Big Green runners have a chance to compete against strong athletes from the Ivy League and other schools. But in the short term, Dartmouth is focused on next weekend's competition at the New Balance Collegiate Invite in New York before hosting the Dartmouth Classic on Saturday.