In Praise Of Greatness

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We aren’t used to seeing her “not have it,” but Dartmouth senior Abbey D’Agostino — chasing her third straight 5,000-meter victory at NCAA Outdoors and eighth national championship overall — came up just a bit short.

But keep in mind, that on a day that she admittedly “didn’t have it,” she still ran 15:43.54 to finish third in a stellar field and earn All-America status yet again.

D’Agostino, Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe and Texas’ Marielle Hall had broken free of a tight pack with about three laps to go. While they had separated themselves by 12 seconds by the bell lap, D’Ags seemed to be laboring much more than usual. As Cuffe and Hall sped up on the final lap, it was clear that the Dartmouth star, who usually runs away from the field in the final lap, couldn’t respond. Hall ran a 63.6 final lap to pass Cuffe and win in 15:35.11.

“It’s obviously disappointing, but I gave everything my body had today,” D’Agostino said afterward. “That’s just the way the sport works sometimes and you just have to roll with it.

“I just feel so blessed when I think about all Dartmouth has given me in my time here. I felt like a true student-athlete in my four years and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have represented the college in that time.”

Columbia junior Waverly Neer was in position to earn All-America honors at the bell, but she too tied up on the final lap, finishing 10th in 16:06.23. D’Ags sophomore teammate Dana Giordano kept pace early before falling off and finishing 22nd in 16:47.81. Being just one of seven freshmen or sophomores in the race, the experience will certainly help her moving forward.

Another Ivy Leaguer earned All-America status, but in some unfamiliar colors. Princeton grad Peter Callahan, who anchored the Tigers to the NCAA title in the distance medley relay in 2013, took fourth in the 1,500-meter run in a personal-best 3:39.90 for the University of New Mexico, where he is pursuing a graduate degree in environmental science. He has petitioned the NCAA for one more outdoor season of eligibility.

“Literally doing a stride before the starting lineup today, I saw Michael Williams, Eddie Owens cheering for me and Vig [Jason Vigilante],” Callahan said. “That’s huge for me. I have my Princeton family cheering me on, I have my actual family here today. The past four years that I had at Princeton set me up really well. I’m super thankful. I talked to Coach [Fred] Samara before the meet and I talked to Vig before the meet and that’s something that’s going to be a part of me forever. It was exciting to see those guys this weekend and to see them around the country as I was competing. It was a privilege to be a part of the program, so it’s fun to still be a part of it now.”

Other Heps competitors on the day were Princeton senior Damon McLean and Harvard freshman Efe Uwaifo in the triple jump. McLean leaped 15.85 meters (52-0) to finish 12th, missing three additional attempts by less than five inches. Uwaifo, the only freshman in the field, was 24th with a best mark of 15.24 meters (50-0).

In all, the League had nine All-Americans (yes, Callahan included!). In addition to D’Ags and Callahan, there were Princeton sophomore Julia Ratcliffe (hammer, first), Cornell junior Stephen Mozia (shot, second), Cornell senior Rachel Sorna (steeple, fourth), Penn sophomore Sam Mattis (discus, fifth) and Dartmouth senior Megan Krumpoch (800, fifth) while Cornell senior Montez Blair and Penn senior Maalik Reynolds tied for seventh in the high jump.

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