iHeps14 — Women’s Distance

One of the amazing things about the women’s distance races is its appearance. Last spring in Princeton it looked like Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino — the most decorated runner in Ivy League history — ran away from a weak field in the 1,500. Appearances are deceiving. She did run away from the field, winning by 14 seconds, but the field was far from weak. In fact, it included several All-Americans.

ht-iheps-caldwellWe don’t yet know which events D’Ags will contest, but the mile is expected and then either the 3k or 5k as well. Whatever the combination, expect certain victory as she has the nation’s top time in all three heading into the week. Her mile time (4:28.31) is 12 seconds faster than the rest of Heps. Her 3k time (8:51.91) leads by 25 seconds and her 5k (15:40.55) by 33 seconds.

“She’s very smart; she thinks during races,” says Coach Mark Coogan. “She’s patient. A lot of people can’t run a 5k; they are wasting all this energy, zigzagging in and out, instead of just running for 2 miles to get where you belong. She’s really good at that. She trusts that it’s all going to happen, which is cool.”

Her nearest competitor in the 3k is sophomore teammate Dana Giordano, but last year’s indoor and outdoor champions are also back. Rachel Sorna of Cornell won the indoor 3k and became an All-American while Columbia’s Waverly Neer, once a high school national record holder, won the outdoor event. And that doesn’t account for four others who’ve dipped below 9:30 this winter — Brown’s Heidi Caldwell, Harvard’s Morgan Kelly, Yale’s Kira Garry and Princeton’s Megan Curham.

Many of those same athletes are the top threats in the 5,000, but also keep on eye on Cornell’s Caroline Kellner and Devin McMahon as well as Harvard’s Viviana Hanley and Princeton’s Kathryn Fluehr. Those runners as well as D’Ags, Caldwell, Curham and Sorna have run under 17 minutes this winter.

— Brett Hoover

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