By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Additions by LetsRun.com.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (23-Nov) — Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino capped her NCAA cross country career in style as after finishing third in 2011 and second in 2012, she earned her first NCAA cross country title by pulling away from the rest of the field on a day that featured sub-freezing temperatures, strong winds, and a muddy course. In the team battle, Ray Treacy‘s Providence Friars delivered him his second team title during his illustrious 30-year career.
D’AGOSTINO RUNS SMART RACE
In the women’s 6-K contest, Iona College’s Kate Avery –who has won two international track medals for her native Great Britain– launched to the lead right from the gun. Wearing a bright yellow top and a black headband, Avery jumped to a modest early lead over the main group which included Kentucky’s Cally Macumber, Providence’s Sarah Collins, Butler’s Katie Clark, Boise State’s Emma Bates, Dartmouth’s D’Agostino, and Florida State’s Colleen Quigley. Avery said she hadn’t planned to take the lead so early.
“It just turned out that way,” she told reporters after the race, saying that the pack was running just a little slow for her taste.
Surprisingly, Avery had a three-second lead through 4000 meters 13:07.2, but D’Agostino said she wasn’t worried. Her face and legs greased with olive oil to protect her skin from the cold, she moved gently to the front of the chase pack, then picked up her pace to catch Avery.
“We had talked about that, and we knew that sometimes that’s happened before, (like) when I was a sophomore here,” D’Agostino said. “We just kind of eased our way up and we knew the gap was closing. The pace didn’t feel out of control to me. I knew there was 2-K to do it, and it just had to be gradual.”
Within minutes, D’Agostino –who had finished second at these championships last year– passed Avery and was quickly running alone. Striding smoothly through the muddy grass, she held her form to finish in 20:00.3, much to the delight of her coach, Olympian Mark Coogan, and her parents. D’Agostino said her victory was particularly sweet because she got to share it with her Dartmouth team who finished 16th.
“It’s incredible,” said D’Agostino. “I know that I couldn’t have done it without my team here, because that was like the one missing piece when I was here the last couple of years. We were talking about it last night. To have these girls with me on the line was like… there’s nothing to worry about. You know your family is here.”
Behind D’Agostino, both Emma Bates and Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe were taking full advantage of their sprint speed to advance their positions. Bates blew by Avery to take second (20:03.9), Avery got third (20:05.4), and Cuffe finished fourth (20:09.3). Bates, who told Race Results Weekly yesterday that she sometimes had trouble believing in her own abilities, was thrilled with her runner-up finish.
“I could see the finish line and I just wanted to pump as hard as I could for as long as I could and get there,” Bates explained. “It was really tough.”
Avery said she hoped to be selected for the British Team for the European Cross Country Championships next month in Belgrade.
“If they pick me,” she said.
Ray Treacy’s Providence Lady Friars were led by senior Emily Sisson (7th place), and won easily with 141 points to Arizona’s 197. The concern coming in for the Friars was that they might not have a fifth woman but senior Grace Thek came through and finished 76th (54th team scoring) and finished ahead of the fourth runner for Arizona.
Defending champions Oregon –who lost Jordan Hasay to graduation– finished 14th.