HANOVER, N.H. - With the NCAA Championship Meet approaching this week, in Des Moines, Iowa, two members of the Dartmouth women's track program were honored with regional accolades for their part in the success of the 2012 season.
Sophomore Abbey D'Agostino (Topsfield, Mass.) was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Northeast Region Female Track Athlete of the Year on Monday afternoon.
For his part in helping D'Agostino on the track this year, Mark Coogan was named the USTFCCCA Northeast Region Women's Track Assistant Coach of the Year.
All regional awards for both student-athletes and coaches were voted on by the nation's head coaches.
D'Agostino will head to Iowa to compete for a national championship in the 5,000 meters, an event that she holds the top time in the nation this season, running a 15:23.35. That time was a new Dartmouth record, a feat that was nothing new to the sophomore this year as she also broke the program mark in the 1,500 meters to win the individual title at Heps at Penn in early May by running a 4:16.15.
Not only did D'Agostino take down the school record in the 1,500 meters at Heps, but also the meet record in the 3,000 meters en route to her second title of the weekend in Philadelphia. For her efforts, she was named the Female Athlete of the Meet at Franklin Field.
"The past two years have been a wonderful experience getting to know and helping Abbey reach some of her goals in running," Coogan said. "She has all the ingredients of a great runner, including the most important one: mental toughness. We have a lot of fun together preparing for competition and I hope Abbey continues to improve and have a great deal of success both on and off the track. Dartmouth is wonderful place for both Abbey and me."
Coogan has been instrumental in getting Dartmouth's women's distance runners back to elite form over the course of the last year. He has not only helped turn D'Agostino onto a perennial national contender in several events, but has also coached senior Alexi Pappas (Alameda, Calif.) to a spot at NCAAs in the 3,000-meter steeplechase this spring.
A former Olympic marathoner, Coogan has brought experience and accountability to the Big Green staff that has paid off with D'Agostino and Pappas' trips to Des Moines this week.
"Mark has changed this program and developed us into athletes, but is also an incredible motivator in terms of the mental aspect of the sport," Pappas said. "He believes in us, which means a lot coming from such a highly-accomplished athlete like he was. He is there to push us and get the most out of everyone on the team, but will also be the first to remind you that this is something we should be having fun doing.
"As a team, we've been very lucky to have Mark here," Pappas added.