The cross country teams had strong showings this weekend at the Ivy League Cross Country Heptagonal Championships in Princeton, N.J., with the women taking home the Ivy title in a 6K race and the men finishing third in an 8K. The women ran away with the competition, defeating second-place Cornell University by 28 points.
The women’s team won the Ivy League Championships for the first time since 1997. Led by an individual win and Ivy League record of 19:40.8 by Abbey D’Agostino ’14, Big Green runners finished in first, fifth, seventh, 12th and 13th to take the race with a total of 38 points. D’Agostino’s time demolished the Ivy League record time by 48 seconds, pacing her safely to her second win in three years.
“We had big goals for the season, but they didn’t seem tangible until Wisconsin,” D’Agostino said. “The past two weeks we have been talking about the meet and visualizing it. The energy we have as a team brings together an unprecedented vibe that I’ve never felt before. We didn’t want to talk about it anymore, we just wanted to do it. It’s an incredible feeling to come so far, especially after finishing in seventh last year.”
D’Agostino also set an Ivy League record for largest victory margin, with her 39.2 second win over junior Waverly Neer of Columbia University. Dana Giordano ’16 was the second runner for Dartmouth and the top sophomore in the field with a fifth-place finish in 20:29.
“The game plan was for Abbey to go out fairly hard and make the pace quick,” women’s coach Mark Coogan said. “We were hoping that a few other people would go out with her, and since Abbey is so much better, they would get tired and die a little. A few people did die, and the Dartmouth women moved smart through the field the entire way.”
The Big Green was the first team to have all five scoring runners across the line, with all five in the top 13. Sarah Delozier ’15 finished third for Dartmouth, running 20:33 for seventh place, followed by Alison Lanois ’15 in 12th with a time of 21:01. Elizabeth Markowitz ’16 rounded out the scoring with a 13th place finish in 21:09.
“The number two and three runners were supposed to be around fifth place,” Coogan said. “They ran together around 10th place and moved up. They worked really well together. Whenever there are Dartmouth kids around, they communicate and give encouragement. Elizabeth Markowitz was a little bit of a surprise. We thought she could do that, but she’s never done that before. She gave herself a shot.”
Dartmouth was so dominant that if D’Agostino did not run the Big Green would still have won, thanks to the 22nd place finish of Hannah Rowe ’14 in 21:32.
“It was indescribable and surreal,” D’Agostino said. “Everyone was equally invested, whether they contributed to scoring or were just supporting us. One of my favorite parts of Heps is getting to the starting line and seeing the sea of color. The environment is dripping with pride and positivity, and it helps us get into the right mindset.”
The men’s team also had a strong run, good enough for a close third-place finish behind Columbia University and Princeton University, nationally ranked 10th and 15th respectively. The top three teams were separated by 16 points, with the Lions taking home the title with 48 points, the hometown Tigers in second with 56 points and the Big Green third with 64 points. Harvard University took a distant fourth with 103 points, despite having the individual champion.
Only 13 seconds separated all of the Big Green men’s scoring runners, and none finished outside of the top 18. John Bleday ’14 led the Big Green with a ninth-place finish in 23:57. Dartmouth benefited by a breakout performance from Tim Gorman ’16, second for the Big Green and 10th overall, just 0.4 seconds behind Bleday.
“Tim Gorman ran a big PR, which was huge,” Will Geoghegan ’14 said. “This is a different race from most of the ones we run, because the field is smaller and you know everyone in it. Other than me and John, everyone wanted to pack up and run together. It was by far the best pack of the season, and people worked really well together.”
Geoghegan and Henry Sterling ’14 crossed the line together after 24 minutes in 13th and 14th, respectively. Steve Mangan ’14 was the final scoring runner for Dartmouth finishing in 18th in 24:10.
“John and I went out at the start and ran hard,” Geoghegan said. “We wanted to string it out and hopefully get away from the top runners. I faded pretty badly, but everyone else ran fantastic. We were closer to Columbia than we have been all season, so we are going to try to close the gap and maybe even beat them at Regionals.”
Both teams have two weeks off before competing in the NCAA Northeast Regional at Van Cortlandt Park in New York. The top two teams on the men and women’s side advance to the NCAA national championship in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 23 automatically with 13 at-large bids also available on each side. There are also 38 spots available for individuals of each gender not on qualifying teams. The teams will head into regionals with the women ranked second in the Northeast and the men ranked fifth.