XC teams compete in nationals

by Jordan Einhorn | 12/3/13 4:36am

Abbey D’Agostino ’14 won the NCAA Division I championship in cross country, Saturday Nov. 23rd in rain soaked conditions in Terre Haute, Indiana. The senior’s efforts propelled her team to a 16th place finish while the men’s team finished 24th overall thanks to a 14th place finish by Will Geoghegan ’14.

D’Agostino became the most decorated Ivy League athlete ever when she crossed the line in 20:00.3, 3.6 seconds ahead of second place finisher junior Emma Bates of Boise State University. The win, which was D’Agostino’s fifth career national championship and tenth All-American finish between cross country and track and field, came after finishing second in the race in 2012 and third in 2011.

The favorite all season, D’Agostino did not take the lead early, as eventual third place finisher sophomore Kate Avery of Iona College had a 20 meter lead over the chase pack from the beginning of the race. Four kilometers through the six-kilometer race Avery still had a three-second lead over D’Agostino and the rest of the pack, but the gap was slowly closing.

“I was a little bit worried at this big u-turn right before the 4k mark because [Avery] started to open it up a little bit,” D’Agostino said. “But I knew that right around the turn was a gradual incline. That was where we stopped as a team the day before to visualize the race and recognize the advantage we have on the uphill coming from Hanover. When I got there I felt this surge of confidence.”

D’Agostino entered the final straightaway of the course with a clear lead, but still had to hold on for 400 meters through the rough conditions before she could relax.

“Coach Coogan and I had talked about the final straight away for a while,” D’Agostino said. “We talked about running the final straight like my life depended on it and right before the finish line I could hear coach yelling at that. I knew this would be important especially because Emma Bates, another one of the girls in the conversation to win, had a strong kick. I wanted to make sure I finished with no regrets.”

Joined at the meet by her teammates for the first time, D’Agostino was not the only member of the women’s cross country team to finish with All-American honors as Dana Giordano ’16 finished in 31st place in 20:41.

“I was so proud of Dana, she carried a lot of weight on her shoulders last year as a freshmen since she led the team when I was injured,” D’Agostino said.

The Big Green women proved they belonged at the national championship, finishing in 16th place with 369 points. Sarah Delozier ’15 was the third Dartmouth runner to finish, running 21:30 for 129th followed by Elizabeth Markowitz ’16 five seconds back in 140th place. Hannah Rowe ’14 finished the scoring for The Big Green finishing in 21:49 for 172.

The University of Providence won the women’s title with 141 team points. The Big Green were first in the Ivy League.

The Dartmouth men’s cross country team embraced their first return to the national championship since 2001 with a 24th place finish, good enough to beat Heptagonal champion Columbia University and finish second out of the Ancient Eight. The Big Green’s performance was highlighted by 14th place finish of Geoghegan, good for All-American honors.

“I went out pretty well and was around 17th place at the 3k, which was definitely higher up than I thought I’d be,” Geoghegan said. “I felt pretty good so I hung in there and was slowly moving up. I thought top-40 was a good goal and it worked out better than that. I’m just glad that I felt good on race day.”

None of the men’s team had been to cross country nationals before and they tried to maintain their focus on the race, instead of being overwhelmed by the new experience.

“It was cool to be there but we really wanted to surprise other teams with our performance,” Geoghegan said. “We didn’t want to be a team that is just there for the experience. We had a lot of time to adjust and take in the environment.”

Henry Sterling ’14 finishing in 31:24 for 110th followed by Steve Mangan ’14 in 31:55 for 165th. John Bleday ’14 and Brian Masterson ’16 in 32:01 for 174th and 32:23 for 204th, respectively.

“I was really proud of Henry Sterling,” Dartmouth men’s coach Barry Harwick said. “He was very consistent all season and for him to finish as our second guy was excellent.”