Big Green track athletes break individual, school and meet records at Heps

Mulin Xiong / The Dartmouth

Competing in the capstone meet of the indoor track and field season, the Big Green men's and women's teams traveled to Harvard University this weekend for the 2013 Ivy League indoor heptagonal championship. The two-day meet at the Albert H. Gordon Track was a tremendous show of athleticism and dedicated training. From the start of the first events on Saturday morning to the completion of the relays on Sunday afternoon, the Big Green had numerous strong individual performances, winning event titles and breaking various records.

The women finished the weekend in fifth with 72 points, behind Harvard's first-place 117 points, Cornell University's 112.66 points and Columbia University's 85 points. The Big Green men finished in sixth place with 38.50 points, with Cornell University winning the team title with 157 points, just edging out Princeton University, who finished second with 156 points.

"We've been working hard for so many months now, and Heps was about going out and competing as hard as we could, focusing on this one meet," men's tri-captain Brett Gilson '13 said.

On the women's side, day one on Saturday was highlighted by several Big Green individual titles. Tri-captain Janae Dunchack '14 swept her competition to claim first place in the women's pentathlon, winning the event for the third straight year.

"There definitely was a lot more pressure this year, since when people expect you to win, if things don't go your way, it is a big shock," Dunchack said.

As well as completing her three-peat championship performance, Dunchack also set a new Dartmouth record, earning 3940 points en route to her individual title. Of the five events of the pentathlon the 800-meter run, 60-meter hurdles, high jump, long jump and shot put Dunchack finished first or second in four of these events.

Fellow team member Abbey D'Agostino '14 also won an event title on Saturday, taking first in the 5000-meter run. Last year at the Championships, D'Agostino was just beat out for first, finishing in second by one-hundredth of a second. This year she finished over nine seconds ahead of her closest competitor and set a new Heps record with a 15:47.02.

The third Big Green athlete to earn points for Dartmouth on Saturday, Mollie Gribbin '16 finished fifth in the long jump. She also set a new program record in the 60-meter dash as she qualified for the finals with a 7.70.

The Big Green's first day performance left them heading into Sunday's events tied for fourth place with Columbia, the defending champions. Sunday's events saw continued success for the Big Green women, with more records falling, as they drew off the team's successes on Saturday.

"The pentathlon was the very last event on Saturday," Dunchack said. "We left the meet on a very good note on Saturday night and going into Sunday we were able to carry that energy over."

D'Agostino took first place in the mile for the second year in a row, defending her title and setting a new Heps record in the process with a 4:32.42, eight seconds ahead of the second place finisher. Lindsay Walsh '14 also earned points in the mile run, finishing in fifth with a 4:43.41.

Gribbin continued to contribute to the team scores on Sunday, beginning with her fourth-place finish in the 60-meter dash on Sunday, breaking the school record she had set Saturday with a 7.64.

Competing in her first Heps, Jennifer Meech '16 took fifth place in the 200 meter dash with a 24.98 to contribute to the team's totals for the meet.

The 4x800-meter relay team of tri-captain Megan Krumpoch '14, Caroline Buck '13, Elizabeth Markowitz '16 and D'Agostino '14 finished third in their event with a 8:47.28.

"It was the first time that this group of people had gotten together as a relay, and though I think we were expecting to do a little better, overall we were really happy with how we did," Krumpoch said. "We all did what was expected of us and unfortunately it didn't quite work out the way we were hoping."

The Big Green also took the title in the high jump on Sunday, with Kaitlin Whitehorn '16 taking first.

In the shot put, Emmaline Berg '13 took second place for the second year in a row, as she competed in her final indoor Heps championships.

Though the Big Green women finished lower than last year's third place finish, the team was proud of their achievements.

"We didn't necessarily talk about specific team performance going into the meet, we just wanted to go in there and compete," tri-captain Arianna Vailas '14 said. "We had great performances from individuals, and we also had an incredible amount of team support."

On the men's side, the conclusion of day one also saw Dartmouth sitting comfortably in fourth place following strong individual performances. Dartmouth's performance on Saturday was highlighted by Gilson in the pole vault, as he tied for second with Cornell's David Kim, clearing 4.70 meters to earn points for the Big Green.

"I was excited because I got to put all my energy into one event," Gilson said. "I'm used to doing the decathlon and the heptathlon, but it was nice to perform in one event, and I'm going to bring that energy and excitement to outdoors with javelin and pole vault."

The Big Green also saw success on Saturday in the 3000-meter run, as John Bleday '14 took fourth place in 8:09.83. Jeremy Thibodeau '14 earned points for the Big Green with a fifth place finish in the long jump and Thomas Servino '15 placed third in the weight throw.

Dartmouth also had strong performances in qualifying events on Saturday. Connor Reilly '13 had an especially strong performance as he set a new Dartmouth record in his qualifying race for the 60-meter dash with a 6.77. He broke his previously held record by six-hundredths of a second and earned the top qualifying time for Sunday's final event. Reilly false started on Sunday, however, and was unable to compete in the event.

Heading into Sunday in fourth place, the Big Green men struggled to keep pace with their Ivy League competition. Edward Wagner '16 placed fifth in the 400-meter dash, while Will Geoghegan '14 took third in the one-mile run with a 4:22.03 and Bleday built on his Saturday success with his fourth-place finish in the 3000-meter run.

Bleday, along with Wagner, Henry Sterling '14 and Lukas Zirngibl '14, took second place in the distance medley, one of the highlights of the meet for the Big Green men, with a 9:53.57.

The Big Green men's sixth-place finish this weekend matched their performance at last year's Heps, where they also finished sixth.

"There were some solid performances on Saturday, with big personal records set, and throughout the day the team energy and cheering along the sidelines really pumped everybody up," Gilson said. "Each race was fed off of the success of another race or jump or throw, and this domino effect really transferred throughout the whole team."

While some Big Green athletes will continue their season in the beginning of March at the IC4A championships for the men and the ECAC championships for the women, for most, this weekend marked the highlight of the indoor season as they look forward to the outdoor season's start.

"I think this weekend definitely helps set the mood for outdoor, since I think some people didn't do as well as they wanted and will be more motivated starting the outdoor season," Krumpoch said. "It was definitely good for a lot of the freshmen to get to see the atmosphere and environment of Heps."

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