For Willy Wood, the Columbia men’s team title at the Heps Cross Country Championships was kind of a surprise, maybe. But there was little surprise on the women’s side as Abbey D’Agostino powered her Dartmouth Big Green to the team championship and, barring something unexpected, a team bid to the NCAAs.
After the Lions took second, fourth and fifth ahead of all Princeton runners, the Tigers blanket finish with six in the top 20 was not enough for claim another title. Columbia wound up with 48 points to Princeton’s 56 and Dartmouth’s 64.
Asked immediately afterward if the victory was expected, Coach Wood answer, “Yes. No. Well, I don’t know. We seem to never beat these guys (Princeton).”
But his Lions had a different plan on Saturday as senior Nico Composto was second overall, 16 seconds behind Harvard individual champion Maksim Korolev, who won in an impressive 23:28.2. Behind Composto was Penn sophomore Thomas Awad in third and then teammates John Gregorek and Daniel Everett. Tyler Udland was the first Tiger across the finish line in sixth, about a second ahead of teammate Chris Bendtsen.
Dartmouth seniors John Bleday and Will Geoghegan ran with Korolev early, but wound up fading a little (Bleday, ninth; Geoghegan, 13th). That allowed Princeton to finish second. Harvard was fourth, even without James Leakos in the lineup.
For D’Agostino, the celebration was hardly her own. She blazed through 6,000 meters unchallenged, winning in a course record 19:40.8, 40 seconds ahead of Columbia junior Waverly Neer and Cornell senior Rachel Sorna.
But then it was soon evident that Coach Mark Coogan’s Big Green were to be an easy winner with all five across the line before any other squad posted three finishers. Sophomore Dana Giordano was fifth, junior Sarah Delozier seventh, junior Alison Lanois 12th and sophomore Elizabeth Markowitz 13th.
That likely assures the Big Green a team trip to the NCAA Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., later this month. “That’s all Abbey’s been talking about,” said Big Green men’s coach Barry Harwick. With a decent finish at the regionals in Van Cortlandt Park, it won’t just be Coogan and D’Agostino hanging out together.
Dartmouth won with 38 points followed by Cornell’s 66, Harvard’s 73 and Princeton’ 95. Following the top three were Princeton rookie Megan Curham, Giordano, Cornell senior Emily Shearer, Delozier and Harvard teammates Viviana Hanley and Morgan Kelly.