EUGENE, Oregon – Thursday was the first day when the full contingent of Dartmouth student-athletes and staff were present in Oregon. It was also the only time during the four-day meet that no one from the Big Green would be competing at Hayward Field and the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Late Wednesday night saw the arrival of assistant coach Mark Coogan, seniors Abbey D’Agostino and John Bleday as well as sophomore Dana Giordano to our hotel in Springfield, rounding out Dartmouth’s 10-person travel party.

Giordano and D’Agostino slept in a bit — trying to adjust to the time change — before they headed out to Amazon Park in Eugene for their first workout along with Coogan. Meeting up with the trio was former Big Green All-American Alexi Pappas ’12, a steeplechase standout in her time in Hanover, who went on to run at Oregon in grad school and still lives in the area.

Senior Megan Krumpoch used Thursday morning as a chance to recover from Wednesday night’s 800m semifinals. Krumpoch advanced to Friday night’s final, so her workout on this day was much like it was on Tuesday when we first arrived in town, a routine that appears to be working for her this season. She joined the distance runners at Amazon Park, but did not partake in the same training as those preparing for the 5000m.

Running with alumni was  the theme for Dartmouth on Thursday as The Marjorie and Herbert Chase ’30 Head Coach of Men’s Track & Field Barry Harwick ’77, sophomore Curtis King and Bleday were joined by John Gault ’13 on Pre’s Trail. Gault is now an intern for LetsRun.com and is in Eugene covering the meet for the track-based website fresh off finishing graduate school at Syracuse.

The men’s group ran roughly five miles as they prepared for Friday’s final in the 5000m that will see Bleday and King take to the track at 6:10 p.m. local time (9:10 p.m. EDT).

In the morning, The Marjorie and Herbert Chase ’30 Head Coach of Women’s Track & Field Sandy Ford-Centonze, assistant coach Scott Phelps and myself left our hotel just after 6 a.m. and made the two-plus hour drive to Crater Lake National Park.

By my count, we drove through six national forests on the way to the country’s fifth-oldest national park that featured breathtaking views of  caldera lake more than 7,000 feet above sea level. We drove on the newly opened western rim road that featured no railings, no breakdown lane and hundreds of feet of rock face below, causing Ford-Centonze some discomfort during the time in the car.

Our visit packed in four different sites around the rim where we stopped to get out and take photos, but lasted less than an hour as we headed back to Springfield to allow Ford-Centonze and Phelps to meet up with the student-athletes at the hotel.

In the early afternoon, D’Agostino had a scheduled interview with ESPN at Hayward, so a group of coaches and runners made their way over to the historic stadium to take in the day’s events.

Krumpoch (800m Final/8:25 p.m. EDT), Bleday and King (5000m Final/9:10 p.m. EDT) will be on the track Friday looking to make a splash on a national stage. Both races will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

Abbey D'Agostino talks with ESPN.
Phelps, Ford-Centonze and Salvas on the southern rim of Crater Lake.
Jon Gault ’13 in the Hayward Field press box, writing for LetsRun.com

- Pat Salvas, Assiatant Director of Varsity Athletics Communications