Updated: August 2014
Sandra Ford-Centonze enters her 23rd year as head coach of the Dartmouth women’s track team in 2014-15. Ford-Centonze’s position was endowed thanks to the generosity of Herbert and Marge Chase. Herb, a member of the Class of 1930, was manager of the team and then a track and field official at Dartmouth meets for many years. The Chase endowment is the first for any athletic program at Dartmouth. This very special support will add to the prestige of a program that has been in existence at the College for over a century.
In 2014, Ford-Centonze led the Dartmouth women to all new heights. The Big Green finished tied for seventh at the NCAA Indoor National Championship, a new program best for Dartmouth and the highest finish ever by an Ivy League team on either the men's or women's side.
During the course of three seasons of competition in 2013-14, Ford-Centonze guided five inidividuals to All-America status, earning 11 seperate honors in that time (2 in XC, 7 indoor, 2 outdoor). During indoor season, the women's DMR finished eighth, while Megan Krumpoch claimed sixth in the 800m. At the outdoor meet, Krumpoch moved on one spot, taking fifth in a program-record 2:03.42 at Oregon's Hayward Field.
In addition, Abbey D'Agostino became the first Ivy Leaguer male or female to win the NCAA Cross Country individual Championship in 2013 at Indiana State's home course in Terre Haute. She would go on to win two more national titles during indoor season to finish her career with seven, the most by any Ivy League student-athlete in the history of the conference.
Capping off the successful stretch of 2013-14, the Big Green under Ford-Centonze's guidance finished fourth in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) final standings for the Terry Crawford Division I Women's Program of the Year Award, the best placement ever by an Ivy League school.
In 2012, the Dartmouth women's DMR team earned All-American honors after taking third at the NCAA Championships in Boise. Also during that year, Ford-Centonze was a part of of coaching Abbey D'Agostino to three track All-American honors, including the program's first ever individual national championship as D'Agostino claimed the top prize in the 5,000 meters.
In the year that followed, D'Agostino won three more titles and the Dartmouth women set numerous sprints, hurdles and relay program records during the 2013 track seasons. Some of the records that were broken had stood for more than two decades, including the 100m, 200m, 4x100m, 4x400m.
She has led the Big Green to unprecedented heights in the ECAC and Heptagonal championships in the past sixteen years. During the 2002 outdoor season Ford-Centonze saw her first All-American Heptathlete when Shaina Damm placed eighth at the NCAA championships. The 2003 outdoor season was the start of the the NCAA Regional competition, and the Big Green women have had qualifiers for the meet each year. Since 2003, the Big Green women have been named as one of the nation's top All-Academic Team by the US Track & Field Coaches Association. The 2006 season was a record breaking year for Coach Sandy’s sprint/hurdle crew. In all they saw five records fall, with Fatih Stanley ’06 making history at the outdoor Heptagonal Championships by being the first athlete to win both the 100m and 200m, and the first Dartmouth athlete to take home the 200m crown. The women’s team brought home the third place 2007 New England trophy with a total of 18 women.
The women’s records continued to fall during the 2007-09 campaigns. In 2008 the 4 x 400m relay broke a six year old record with a time of 3:49.78, and again in 2010 with a time of 3:48.41. Natalie Todd-Zebell ‘09 continued to rewrite the pole vault records each of her four years. Emily Daly ‘’09, broke both the 20lb wt. and hammer records during the 2009 season.The twenty-two year old 400im record fell as Alexandra Tanner ‘11 posted a time of 59.04 on her way to qualifying for the NCAA regional meet.
Coach Sandy has seen her women’s team be named All-Academic Team by the United States Track and Field Coaches Association since 2003. During the 2008 season, they were ranked ninth out of 117 honored teams in the country.
Ford-Centonze came to Hanover from the University of Vermont, where she spent six years as head coach for track. Under her guidance, the Catamounts captured three straight New England outdoor championships, from 1987-89. Vermont also finished second in 1988 and third in 1989 at the New England indoor championships. She was named New England Coach of the Year for outdoor track in 1988 and 1989 and the North Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year in 1992.
Within the coaching profession, Ford-Centonze has served on the ECAC technical committee, the ECAC running jury and the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Cross Country and Track and Field Association standards committee, as well as the NCAA protest committee. She is a past president for the ECAC Track and Field Association. At the beginning of the 2000 track and field season, Sandra was chosen by her peers to be the District I NCAA Representative for Women's Track and Field. Ford-Centonze has been an instructor at the Stowe (Vt.) Summer Sports Festival since 1991 and during the summer of 1996 she directed a speed development camp for a group of 30 Japanese football players who came to the United States for training. In 2000 she added Dry Land Ski training to her camp duties. She has been a member of the Bates Track and Field Camp since 1997, coaching both sprints and hurdles. During the summer of 2003, Sandy started a track and field day camp for the town of Lebanon. The summer of 2005 saw Coach Ford-Centonze make a move to the Dick Fosbury Track Camp at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
Coach Ford-Centonze stays active with Girls and Youth in sport, having been a past clinician for the NCAA Youth Education Through Sport(YES), as well as a panelist at the Patrina Foundation Leadership Conference at The Ethel Walker School. During the summer of 1999, Coach Ford-Centonze was an instructor and panelist at the Girls Scouts of the USA National Sports Event.
Ford-Centonze started her coaching career at her alma mater, Appalachian State University, where she was assistant track coach from 1984-86. She also holds a master’s degree in Athletic Administration from Appalachian State. As an undergraduate, she captained the 1981-82 and 1982-83 Mountaineer track squads and was chosen Appalachian State’s Most Valuable Performer as a junior when she went undefeated in the 400 in just her second year of track competition.
She and her family live in Lebanon, NH. She is the proud mother of Christian and Antonio.
* - Set Record