By Jean DePlacido
---- — It took a great push on the final lap for Dartmouth junior Abbey D’Agostino to overtake Oregon’s Jordan Hasay and successfully defend her national title in the 5,000 meter race at Hayward Stadium in Eugene, Oregon this past weekend.
The victory marks the fourth NCAA Division 1 title for the Topsfield resident, who put on a great burst to finish almost seven seconds ahead of Iowa State’s Betsy Saina and Hasay with a very fast time of 15 minutes 43.68 seconds.
After the race, D’Agostino told the Oregon Daily Emerald that the heat bothered her. “I didn’t really anticipate it being this warm, but you have to be ready for anything,” she said.
D’Agostino also said her strategy on the final lap was to get in a position where she could make a move.
“(Hasay) looked strong, but I think coming around that corner I knew that I could dig down a little bit deeper,” she said, “and she looked like she was slowing down a bit, so it was time to go.”
D’Agostino became the fifth woman to ever win back-to-back titles in the same event and the seventh to take both indoor and outdoor crowns in the 5,000 in the same year. She did it against very tough competition, beating 23 others including Saina, the 10,000 meter champ and Hasay, who is a highly regarded distance runner.
The former Masconomet Regional standout continues to put her name in just about every record book. D’Agostino is the first collegiate woman since 2010 to win three individual national titles in one year, and has now racked up twice as many individual crowns as any Ivy League athlete ever.
She had an unbelievable spring, going undefeated and during the 2012-2013 season, in which she entered 18 races or heats going against other collegiate runners and won 16 times. Dartmouth now has seven national champions and four of those honors belong to D’Agostino, who holds the third fastest time in season ever run in the 5000 (15:11.35) which she set in April.
D’Agostino was just named Northeast Region Track Athlete of the Year by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. She received this honor in both cross country and indoor track as well and was selected Women’s National Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and National Female Scholar of the Year (for cross country).
Her time in the 5000 outdoor nationals was 28 seconds faster than last year, and she will now prepare for the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa June 20-23, with hopes to make the American team that will travel to Moscow, Russia for the World Championships this summer.