NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In pursuit of its first title in nearly four decades, the Dartmouth women’s track & field team currently sits seventh with 14 points after the first day at the 2014 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Championship.
The Saturday portion of meet — held this year at Yale’s Cuyler Field & Dwyer Track — saw the Big Green lead the way with 13 individuals advancing from preliminary heats through to Sunday’s finals, setting themselves up for a dramatic final day of competition and a strong chance to make major moves up the leaderboard. Harvard and Cornell each had 11 qualifiers to tie for second.
The biggest thrill of the day for the women’s side was senior Abbey D'Agostino winning her 14th career Ivy League title (across all three seasons) with a championship effort in the 10,000m late in the afternoon.
For D’Agostino, Saturday’s race marked the first time she ever ran the 10K. That inexperience at such a long distance did little to slow down the now 14-time Ivy League Champion as she crossed the line in 33:10.38, more than 14 seconds ahead of the second-place runner from Princeton.
Her time was also the third-fastest in Heps meet history and marked the first win in the event by a Dartmouth woman since 1998 when Deirdre Milligan won her second career 10K title.
The senior from Topsfield, Massachusetts, will now take her 10 points from Saturday and look to build on it as she is entered into the finals of the 3000m and 5000m on Sunday, two events she has already claimed national titles in this year during indoor season.
However, it was a total team effort from the Big Green on the first day of competition, and not just a display of one of its members.
The 200m perfectly exemplified that team mentality as three individuals will be moving on to the finals on Sunday. Sophomores Sara Kikut (23.70) and Kaitlin Whitehorn (23.89) were first and second, respectively, while classmate Jennifer Meech (24.01) was fifth.
Meech will also move on in the 400m after a fifth-place showing in 54.88. Both Whitehorn (4th, 11.81) and Kikut (7th, 11.89) will also race in the finals of the 100m.
With the reigning champion D’Agostino not competing in the event this year, the door was opened for sophomore Dana Giordano in the 1500m. She seized her opportunity with the top qualifying spot on Saturday, running a 4:23.85 in her heat, nearly two seconds better than the next-closest competitor.
Elizabeth Markowitz is also in Sunday’s final of the 1500m after her 4:27.33 earned her the fourth-best time of the preliminary heats.
Heading into the final three events of the heptathlon, senior Janae Dunchack has put herself in good position with 3,176 points to sit first after one day and four events. Dunchack won both the high jump and the shot put, while taking second in the 100m hurdles and fifth in the 200m.
Looking to defend her crown in the 400m hurdles, senior Megan Krumpoch got off to a strong start with 58.52 in Saturday’s prelims, the top time in the event so far. She will be joined by freshman Katy Sprout who claimed the last qualifying spot in 1:03.04.
Meggie Donovan was another one of the Big Green individuals to post a top qualifying time as her 2:06.99 in the 800m bested a field of 24 other runners. But it won’t be just Donovan in the event finals as Meghan Grela’s 2:10.10 secured the eighth and final berth into the field.
D’Agostino wasn’t the only one picking up points on this day for Dartmouth either. Senior Cathy Liebowitz earned four points thanks to a fourth-place showing in the hammer throw early in the day. Liebowitz’s fourth throw of the day was measured at 172-5.0/52.55m.
Though she did not score, Stephanie Brown’s eighth-place finish in the pole vault was the best by any member of the Big Green. Brown cleared 11-9.75/2.60m on her third attempt at the height.
Sunday’s events will be carried live on the Ivy League Digital Network.