Two local athletes had outstanding performances at the NCAA national championships this past weekend.
Dartmouth college junior Abbey D’Agostino made history by winning both the 3000 and 5000 meter events at the Division 1 championship meet, hosted by the University of Arkansas. The Topsfield native and former Masconomet star became the first American woman to ever win two distance events at an NCAA championship and only the third ever in the world.
D’Agostino, an eight-time All-American, won her third national title and earned 20 points to help the Big Green finish 11th. She will now set her sights on repeating as national champ in the 5000 outdoors. Her fastest time of 15:19.98 came in the Olympic Trials where she was fifth last summer.
The Dartmouth women have won three individual national titles, and all belong to D’Agostino, who just keeps getting better and better.
Former St. John’s Prep star Sean Enos of Lynnfield also had a strong showing for Bates in the Division 3 NCAAs in Naperville, Ill. The sophomore thrower almost didn’t qualify for the event, but a strong showing in the last meet of the season at Tufts enabled him to represent the Bobcats in both the shot put and weight throw.
“I went home to visit my parents before the Tufts meet and looked online at the list of qualifiers,” said Enos, the NESCAC Rookie of the Year last season. “I found out I had been knocked out of 13th spot in both events, so I needed a big weekend. My main goal was to make it in the shot, and I knew it was going to take a strong performance.”
Enos came up with two huge throws to qualify in both events. In the shot he recorded a personal best of 56 feet 4 inches to move up to ninth, and tied for the 12th seed in the weight throw with a 59-7 ¾ toss.
At Nationals Enos went to the finals in the shot put and just missed making All-American. He finished ninth (one spot out) with a throw of 55-1 ½ and WAS 11th in the weight throw (56-6 ¾). Bates sent its largest group ever with eight athletes competing and posted its best finish as a team, taking fifth out of 63 teams.
“I’m so glad I had the chance to go,” said Enos. “I used to get nervous before big events in high school, but my college training has taught me to use pressure situations to help me. It was cool to get a chance to go up against the best athletes in the country.
“If I had thrown my personal best I would’ve tied for sixth in the shot, which would have been great. But I’m going to use it as motivation for next year. This was my first time — but I hope to have many more, and I definitely want to go back for outdoors. It’s a little easier because they take the top 20 instead of only 13.”
Enos has already set a goal of qualifying for the outdoor nationals in three events: shot put, discus and hammer.
“The discus has always been my favorite, but I got a good start with the hammer last year and am looking to build on that,” said Enos, who is following Prep great throwers Rich McNeil and Chris Murtagh in representing Bates at Nationals. “It’s a short season, so I’ve got to start working hard now.”
Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at email@example.com.