HANOVER, N.H. - Saturday at noon, Dartmouth junior Abbey D'Agostino will once again step up to the starting line of the NCAA Cross Country Championship. A year removed from a third-place finish in just her first season of collegiate competition, the Topsfield, Mass., native hopes 2012 will be her year.
Now a two-time Northeast Regional Champion, D'Agostino heads to Louisville and E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park for a shot at her second individual national title following last spring's triumph in the 5,000 meters during the outdoor season.
After missing more than a month recovering from an injury, D'Agostino was back competing last Saturday in Madison, Conn., as part of the Northeast Regional. Her first meet since a Sept. 28 win at the Paul Short Invitational, the Big Green harrier again proved that she is one of the nation's elite runners with a first-place showing in a field of more than 250 competitors, crossing the finish line in 19:51.
Her win on the Hammonasset State Park 6K course earned D'Agostino the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Northeast Regional Women's Athlete of the Year award for the second time in as many seasons.
Saturday's race will feature the top runners from across the country. Teams as well as individuals who qualified with strong showings at their respective regional meets will be in Louisville vying for a shot at the titles.
One of those harriers will be former Dartmouth teammate Alexi Pappas, running as a member of the Oregon Ducks as a post-grad.
Last season, D'Agostino made a late surge in the final 150 meters, but came up just short of the individual crown, taking third. In 2012, D'Agostino has competed just three times since the start of the fall season and won each (Dartmouth Invitational, Paul Short, Northeast Regional).
Fans interested in watching the race can do so HERE via the NCAA live webstream of the race.