Coming from behind on the final lap, Abbey D’Agostino ’14 added another brilliant chapter to her storied Big Green career as she captured the 5,000-meter NCAA title at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., on Friday. The defending national champion in the event, D’Agostino nabbed the win on top of her pair of national championships titles from the indoor season to cap an impressive 2012-13 campaign.
As she neared the last lap of the race, D’Agostino trailed the University of Oregon’s Jordan Hasay by just a few steps. But D’Agostino kicked into another gear in the final 400, crossing the line with a time of 15:43.68, almost seven seconds ahead of second-place finisher Betsy Saina, of Iowa State University. Saina had already won the national title in the 10,000-meter and was the last year’s NCAA cross-country champion.
The race developed uneventfully as a large pack of runners jockeyed for position, with 14 of the 23 runners spaced within two seconds of the leader through the first 3,000 meters. The pack slowly thinned, and at the split heading into the last lap, the top group had whittled down to five runners within striking distance of five seconds.
It was D’Agostino’s blistering last lap of 1:06.74 that ensured another national title.
She became just the fifth woman in NCAA history to win back-to-back titles in the 5,000-meter and the seventh to win the indoor and outdoor 5K in the same academic year.
D’Agostino completed one of the most impressive seasons in NCAA history, winning national titles in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter during the indoor season, an unparalleled feat, and adding a third national title this week.
D’Agostino is just the fourth Dartmouth athlete to claim a track and field national title, and the first since Adam Nelson ’97 won the shot put in 1997. Nelson later won the gold in the event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. D’Agostino is the only woman in the program’s history, and the only Big Green athlete to win multiple national championships.
Next up for D’Agostino is the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa at the end of June, where she will look to compete for a spot on the national team that will head to the world championship meet in Russia later this summer. Last year, D’Agosino missed qualifying for the Olympics in London by only half a second in the 5,000-meter race.