oHeps14 – Women’s Distance

oHeps-Neer
Nathan Crumpton Photo

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oheps-dags-smallOkay, writing about Abbey D’Agostino is both easy and fun. She’s won seven national titles, after all, and she missed making Team USA for the 2012 Olympic Games by a hair or two. Last time out, she ran anchor on Dartmouth’s distance medley relay at the Penn Relays and split under 4:10. The last — and only other — runner to do that was Wisconsin’s Suzy Favor (be nice) more than two decades ago.

D’Ags is legend, this is her final Heps (sniffle) and we could go on and on, but it needs to be pointed out that Heps is loaded, simply loaded, with talent in the women’s distance races. We are hoping for a huge showdown in the 5k as there could be three previous 5k champions and five of the Ivy League’s all-time top 10 in the race. D’Ags won in 2011 and has the best time of the season (15:30.93), but defending champion Waverly Neer is not far behind, running 15:37.85 at Stanford this year. That is, by a wide margin, the second-fastest time in Ivy history. In 2012, Brown’s Heidi Caldwell clipped an unsuspecting D’Ags at the tape in the 5k. But there are three others — Dartmouth’s Dana Giordano, Cornell’s Rachel Sorna and Princeton’s Megan Curham — who could also help make this a very quick pace. This could be the race of the meet.

oheps-sornaSorna, though, might do the 3k-steeple double instead. She has the League’s best 3k time this year (9:09.45) as well as a new League record in the steeple (9:43.48). That steeple time would be a top-10 3k time without the barriers, but D’Ags — the two-time defending champion in the 3k — has yet to run it this year. It will be interesting to see who is slotted where when the entries are released on Friday evening.

Cornell racked up more than 20 points in the 10k last year in Princeton and could do the same with four of the top five runners so far this spring. The Big Red feature Devin McMahon, Caroline Kellner, Elizabeth Simpson and Maggi Szpak, but the Harvard Crimson will try to break up the stronghold with Emily Reese and Viviana Hanley. All six of those runners — plus Yale’s Emily Stark — have run in the 34s this spring.

While we expect Sorna to dominate the steeplechase, the chase for second should be close as Dartmouth’s Sarah Delozier (10:16.38), Princeton Elizabeth Bird (10:16.47) and Yale’s Kira Garry (10:21.01) have all been close this season. Also watch for Big Red runner Claire DeVoe, who scored last year.

These are some ‘can’t-miss’ races.

— Brett Hoover

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