Marielle Hall Arrives, Prevents Abbey D’Agostino From Ending Her Career With NCAA Title #8

June 14, 2014

EUGENE, Ore. — The storied NCAA career of Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino, a seven-time NCAA champ, came to an end today at Hayward Field with an upset loss in the women’s 5,000 at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The surprise winner was Texas senior Marielle Hall who went to the lead just before the bell and sprinted away from Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe during the final 200 to win in 15:35.11 to  Cuffe’s 15:37.74. Hall ran her final 200 in 30.4 to finish off a 63.64 final lap. D’Agostino, who had struggled to maintain contact with the leading duo for much of the last few laps, running  2-3 meters behind second, ended up third in 15:43.54. Boise State’s Emma Bates, the 10,000 winner on Thurday night, was fourth in 15:51.87.

Top 3 at the Bell Top 3 at the Bell (click for photo gallery)

The Race

After an opening 1,600 of 5:19, Stanford’s Cuffe went to the lead at 2k and pushed the pace to make things more honest and perhaps try to take the kick out of D’Agostino. Cuffe immediately strung out the field as she ripped off a series of 72 and 73 laps. From 2400 it went 72.28, 73.57, 72.58, 72.76, and 72.81 until 800 remained. By 3k (9:41.87), the race for the title was down to the eventual top three.

Entering the next-to-last lap, Cuffe squeezed it down some more to a 71.73 – the fastest lap in the race up to that point – but she didn’t even have the lead at the bell as Hall was feeling good and got impatient and went to the lead earlier than planned, just before the bell (Hall said after the race she initially planned to go with 250 remaining). Cuffe kept it close for the first half of the final lap but on the final turn it became apparent that Hall was your champion.

At the finish line, Hall didn’t celebrate and was very subdued as she crossed the line. The win may have been a shock to track pundits but not to Hall.

Marielle Hall Wins Marielle Hall Wins (click for photo gallery)

Act like you’ve done it before

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“I feel like everyone tells me that (that I don’t celebrate),” said Hall after the race. “But I try not to be too surprised by myself when I perform well, because that’s what I want – those are the thoughts I run through my mind when I’m preparing (for a race), ‘I should win. I should be there.’ So when I do it, it’s more calming for me than ‘Ahhh exicitement’.”

“It’s about (having) confidence in yourself. I’m happy to be where I am.”

Results and quick takes with post-race interviews below.

Place Name Affiliation Time

1 Marielle Hall SR Texas 15:35.11
2 Aisling Cuffe JR Stanford 15:37.74
3 Abbey D’Agostino SR Dartmouth 15:43.54
4 Emma Bates JR Boise State 15:51.87
5 Juliet Bottorff SR Duke 15:55.94
6 Dominique Scott SO Arkansas 15:57.79
7 Elinor Kirk SR UAB 15:57.96
8 Kate Avery SO Iona 15:58.73
9 Rachele SchulistFR Michigan State 16:05.68
10 Waverly Neer JR Columbia 16:06.23
11 Laura Nagel JR Providence 16:09.98
12 Mara Olson JR Butler 16:11.58
13 Jessica Tonn JR Stanford 16:19.13
14 Elvin Kibet JR Arizona 16:20.30
15 Frida Berge FR Oregon 16:25.59
16 Sarah Collins SO Providence 16:25.97
17 Carrie Verdon SO Colorado 16:28.60
18 Rosa Moriello JR Boston U. 16:31.13
19 Cally Macumber SR Kentucky 16:38.81
20 Monika Juodeskaite JR Oklahoma State 16:40.25
21 Diane Robison JR Arkansas 16:41.51
22 Dana Giordano SO Dartmouth 16:47.81
23 Katy Moen JR Iowa State 16:55.02
Kelsey SantistebanJR California

Quick Thought #1: This was a great win for Hall to end an amazing senior campaign.

Entering the 2014 track season, the senior Hall had a 16:22.83 5000 pb. Now she’s a 15:19.26 performer who is an NCAA champ. That’s a storybook senior year if we’ve ever seen one. She said that this was the first year that she was on the top of her game both mentally and physically and it clearly paid dividends today.

Next up for Hall is USAs and then hopefully a pro career although she said she hasn’t yet really spent time thinking about who she’ll run for next year. Hall should get a nice contract as she’s faster now than D’Agostino was in 2012 when D’Agostino nearly made the Olympics.

Quick Thought #2: Aisling Cuffe planned to make her move with 7 or 8 laps to go and was pleased with her second place. 

Many viewed D’Agostino as the favorite (including us), but Cuffe actually has a faster 5,000 pb (15:11.13, #3 all-time NCAA) and has been running really well in 2014 and was the one who controlled the race today. It should be a great battle in cross country this fall between Cuffe and Bates.

Quick Thought #3: D’Agostino wasn’t crushed after the loss.

One might think that D’Agostino would be distraught after ending her storied NCAA career with a loss considering she hadn’t loss a NCAA track championship since March 2012, but that wasn’t the case. While disappointed that she lost, D’Agostino said she gave it her all and that she can’t be upset with herself if she gave it everything she had.

As for what’s next, D’Agostino said she’s keeping her options open on the sponsorship front (many assume she’ll sign with New Balance to stay with her coach Mark Coogan who now works for New Balance) and that she will run USAs.

Quick Thought #4: Coogan believes she’s in great shape but feels that perhaps all of the graduation-related activities that D’Agostino has been participating in in recent weeks as the face of Dartmouth sports had perhaps worn her down.

We talked to  Coogan off-camera after the loss. He said that D’Agostino’s training has been going well and she recently had a very good workout but D’Agostino said she felt tired during it.

Quick Thought #5: Emma Bates was happy with her 4th-place finish as it marked more improvement from last year.

Last year, after finishing 2nd in the 10k, she was seventh in the 5,000. Next up for Bates is either the 5,000 or 10,000 at USAs. Bates said she’ll run whichever one is most competitive as her coach Corey Ihmels wants to try to raise her profile so she’ll get a good sponsorship when she graduates next year.

As for training under Ihmels this year for the first time, she said the training is similar to what she’s done previously but that Ihmels has really helped her improve her confidence.

Check out the interview below.We asked her about her early-season loss in cross country to high school sensation Alexa Efraimson (who ran a 4:07 1500 in the New York Diamond League meet on Saturday) and Bates revealed she thought the high school junior was a pro runner.

Quick Thought #6: Duke’s Juliet Bottorff was really tired coming back from 10k so she was satisfied with a fifth-place showing in the 5k. She knew there was no way she’d be top three with the Hall, Cuffe and D’Agostino all coming in fresh, so when they broke away she was content for fighting for fourth. She said she might have been able to beat Bates for fourth if she ran differently.

Quick Thought #7: Arkansas’ Dominique Scott of South Africa was sixth in 15:57.69. There’s been a lot of turmoil involving the South Aftican athletics federation recently and we wanted to get Scott’s take on it. She said she’s not happy with the federation and that she wants her boyfriend to propose to her so she can become an American citizen. The end of this interview is worth a watch:

Click below Final Day Photo Gallery:

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