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EUGENE, Ore. - Dartmouth women's track & field sophomore Abbey D'Agostino (Topsfield, Mass.) is one step closer to representing the United States after winning the first semifinal heat in the 5,000 meters at the US Olympic Trials Monday night.

With temperatures dropping below 60 degrees and a light raining falling at Hayward Field throughout, D'Agostino used a late surge in the final 50 meters to overtake the lead from Julie Culley and claim the top spot in the first heat in 15:41.14. That time was just over 30 seconds faster than one posted two weeks ago in Des Moines that earned her an NCAA national championship in the event. Culley qualified second in 15:41.29.

 The second-year runner and already five-time All-American with the Big Green, D'Agostino posted the top qualifying time in the event between both heats and will now move on to the finals Thursday night against a field of 15 other competitors vying for a spot in London.

"I'm really happy with how well Abbey ran tonight," assistant coach Mark Coogan said. "We came into this race with a game plan and I think that she followed through and it worked out. But, tonight is over and we are focused and excited for Thursday's race."

For D'Agostino, the Olympic dream continues, while for teammate and recent Dartmouth graduate Alexi Pappas (Alameda, Calif.) the road to the Summer Games in 3,000-meter steeplechase ended Monday night. Pappas, the third-place finisher and First-Team All-American at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in this event, was unable to crack the qualifiers as her 10:17.09 had her in 23rd place.

The finals for the women's 5,000 meters are set for Thursday night at 10:15 p.m. ET.