Abbey D'Agostino '14 won the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Saturday, setting a new course record of 19:31 and leading the women's cross country team to a strong seventh-place finish.
D'Agostino stayed with the lead pack of runners through the slow first mile and then began to push the pace, eventually winning by 14 seconds over senior Emily Sisson of Providence College.
"We knew this would be a competitive race both team-wise and individually," D'Agostino said. "The plan was to go out and stay with the lead pack and start pushing the pace a mile and a half in. The course is set up with sharp turns, so I took advantage of those and took gradual surges going around those. I had no idea what the course record was before but somewhere during the race someone told me I was close."
In the field of 288 runners, including six teams nationally ranked in the top 10, the top five runners for the Big Green all finished in the top 100 for a total score of 246 points, good enough to beat No. 7 the University of Washington by 62 points. Dana Giordano '16 finished second for the Big Green, coming in 29th in 20:22, followed by Sarah Delozier '15 in 39th in 20:32. Alison Lanois '15 and Hannah Rowe '14 rounded out the pack, finishing 77th and 100th, respectively.
"We definitely had a lot of confidence because of the Paul Short meet a couple weeks ago," D'Agostino said. "Beforehand, our coach said top-10 would've been great running for us, so seventh was the cherry on top of already good performance. Teamwork was a huge element to this race: we had set very specific goals based on our workout buddies. At any given point when we are in a race we know that we are doing it together, whether we are physically together or not."
The women's team is seeing success from a unified approach to the season both on and off the course.
"I think everyone has really committed to the same goal and is invested in all the little things," Dana Giordano '16 said. "Things like trying to sleep, which can be hard around here sometimes. We want to win Heps and we want to go to nationals. We know we can do it and it's not out of our reach. We have never had this much confidence before, which makes us a really positive team."
Led by John Bleday '14 in 73rd with a time of 24:11, the men's cross country team also fought hard in an equally competitive field for a 21st-place finish. Silas Talbot '15 finished second for the Big Green in 93rd place with a time of 24:20, followed by the final three scorers in close proximity: Henry Sterling '14 in 102nd with a 24:23, Steven Mangan '14 in 126th with a 24:31 and Will Geoghegan '14 in 145th with a 24:36.
"The plan was to have our first two, Will and myself, run together and be up with the top 40," Bleday said. "Then we wanted our three, four, five and six guys to pack it up and have them run in the 80-90 range. Big races like this are more mental, and the mental side of running is enormous. You have to get comfortable with people running around you the whole way."
Usually the first runner, Geoghegan was sick and finished fifth, forcing others to step up.
"We had one bad break that our top runner had been sick all week and struggled, which hurt our team score," men's head coach Barry Harwick said. "He had a cold earlier in the week and we thought it was getting better so we rolled the dice. Our goal was to score under 400 and we scored a little over 500, so we weren't too far off. With Will healthy and if a couple other things go our way, we will do even better."
With only seven runners allowed to enter the Adidas Invitational, other members of the men's and women's cross country team competed at the Rothenburg Run in Warwick, R.I., on Friday.
"It was a kind of unusual weekend since only the top seven went to Wisconsin," assistant coach Scott Phelps said. "We wanted to have another race for those not in the top seven. For the guys, it was a lot of their last race. For the girls it was their last chance to earn a spot on the Heps roster."
Led by individual champion Elizabeth Markowitz '16, the women's team finished second, 26 points behind first-place Brown University. Markowitz won the race, a 5-kilometer rather than a typical 6-kilometer, in 17:20, two seconds over sophomore Heidi Caldwell of Brown. Helen Schlachtenhaufen '17 was the second member of the Big Green to cross the finish line, with a 10th-place finish in 18:13, followed closely by Erin McConnell '17 in 11th with an 18:13 and Arianna Vailas '14 in 12th with an 18:17. Claudia Pham 15 rounded out the scoring for the women in 14th with an 18:33.
"I'm approaching all races this season with an open mind," Markowitz said. "Races are just a fun way to get out there with your best friends. I tried to stick with the front pack and I had two of my teammates with me which is great and we can help give each other positive words. It was the perfect day to run with great weather and the course was next to the ocean which was gorgeous."
The Dartmouth men's team also finished in second place at the Rothenburg Run, led by Matt Klein 16 who finished second in 25:38. Matthew Pierce '14 finished sixth in 25:52, Peter Geithner '16 finished 12th in 26:04, Julian Heninger '17 finished 13th in 26:21 and Daniel Salas '17 finished 14th in 26:27, rounding out the scoring for the Big Green.
Both teams are off next weekend before they compete in the Ivy League championships in Princeton, N.J., on Nov. 2.
"Wednesday night is the Michigan workout, which is our last tune up before Heps," Henry Sterling '14 said. "After that, we stay healthy, recover and get ready to get after it."