How do you recognize one of the best female athletes to have ever come out of the Ivy League?
It’s a challenge, as you could solely focus on the individual achievements that Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino (Topsfield, Mass.) has earned this past year – three NCAA titles (including a conference first for cross country and defending her indoor 3,000m and 5,000m titles), a NCAA record (indoor 1,500m – 4:09.77), regional and national USTFCCCA accolades for runner and scholar athlete of the year, earning the Honda Award for cross country and 2015 NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award, and making the top-30 cut for NCAA Woman of the Year. Oh, and this is on top of her seven conference titles (cross country, 3 indoor, 3 outdoor), two new conference records (indoor mile and 3,000m), and two Heps MVP awards.
But if you ask her herself, she will likely answer something along the lines of the team accomplishments. Under Abbey’s leadership, the Big Green women was in contention for three Heps titles (winning the Heps Cross Country team title and finishing a well-earned runner up position to Harvard at both Indoor and Outdoor Heps), earned a team berth to NCAA in cross country, and sent relay teams and individuals to NCAAs during the two track seasons. This strength of the Big Green’s year resulted in Dartmouth being recognized as the fourth best women’s track and field/cross country program in Division 1 athletics (which is based on the team’s scoring/finishes at each of the NCAA championships), a new conference best. Some of Abbey’s best performances from this past year have been in the name of the team – at Outdoor Heps, Abbey accomplished a phenomenal distance triple (3km-5km-10km) in order to keep her team in contention for the team title. It was her first time ever competing in a 10km, where she managed to run the 6th fastest time in conference history.
Still – she is quite an individual. She graduated this past June with quite a collegiate running resume: 7 NCAA titles, 1 NCAA record, 13 All-American titles, 16 Ivy League conference titles, 6 conference records, 6 additional top-10 all-time conference marks, and 5 Heps MVP awards, as well as many other accolades that are too many to list. And now she starts a new chapter in her running career as she will be representing New Balance on the professional running circuit. We may never have another athlete exactly like Abbey, but we will be seeing more athletes aiming to be “the next Abbey”.
Cornell’s Rachel Sorna also had quite a senior year. Sorna dominated the steeplechase scene on the East Coast, running a new personal best of 9:43.48 that is both a conference record and sits just outside the NCAA all-time top 10 for the event. She earned All-American honors in cross country (14th overall), outdoor track (4th place in the steeplechase), and in academics (cross country, outdoor track).
photo by Sami Aziz