Ben True (Dartmouth ’08) and Abbey D’Agostino (Dartmouth ’14) both represented Team USA this past summer for the first time at the IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
True has previously worn the Team USA uniform as a part of the Team USA Cross Country team, where he led the team to a silver medal team finish at the 2010 World Cross Country Championships, but this was his first time being a member of the official Team USA track group. True earned his uniform by finishing in second place in the 5,000m at the USATF National Championships, outkicking Galen Rupp, Lopez Lomong, and Bernard Lagat in the final 100m in the tactical race. True was in the medal hunt in the World 5,000m final for the majority of the race but ultimately finished in 6th place, a result he felt was because he made his move too late. Regardless, it was the best overall American finish in the 5,000m world final as American runners went 5-6-7 and bested many African runners in the process.
True was considered by the distance running website Letsrun.com as the #1 American 5,000m runner and fifth best 5,000m runner in the world for the 2015 year for multiple reasons: he was the first American male to win a 5,000m Diamond League contest (New York back in June), he was the fastest American for the year in this distance (13:05.54 PR set at the Diamond League Brussels meet), as well as finishing in second place in both the 5,000m and 10km distances at USATF Nationals. True did get a national title to his name as he won his third USATF 15km Championship at the Gate River Run in March.
D’Agostino’s qualification for the World Championships was a bit more exciting. Starting off the year overcoming injury, she slowly adjusted back to her winning form in time for June’s USATF National Championships. In the fast 5,000m final, D’Ags was able to keep up with the top 4 and displayed enough of a kick to claim third place with a then PR of 15:06.59. “It’s surreal,” she said of making Team USA afterward. “There’s no way to describe the emotion … It’s still sinking in.” Her first World Championship was quite a learning experience as both the heat and the fast qualifying pace in the trial rounds got the best of her. She did finish the race but well out of qualifying contention. ”No matter what, you got to hang on and give every ounce you have on the day. It was a good lesson in doing that.” she told Letsrun.com at the time.
The rest of her outdoor season was a good one as she set multiple personal bests as she traveled across Europe, including the 5,000m (15:03.85) and 1,500m (4:08.78) . Letsrun.com honored D’Ags as the #4 American 5,000m runner for the year 2015 earlier this week.
Honorable Mentions: In case you forgot, we did have two world records this past year and the HepsNation members of both of those teams deserve shout outs.
Back during the indoor season, Megan Krumpoch (Dartmouth ’14) ran the 800m leg of Team New Balance distance medley team at the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston that helped the team win the event in 10:42.57, besting the former indoor world record of 10:50.98. Krumpoch’s 800m time of 2:05.68 was the second fastest 800m split of the night. Other members of the team included Sarah Brown, Mahogany Jones, and Brenda Martinez.
Meanwhile, Kyle Merber’s (Columbia ’13) entry into the world record books was a bit tighter as his Team USA distance medley team only edged out the previous record by 0.06 seconds. But going into the IAAF World Relays event in May, Merber knew that it was possible for his team to best that mark and he told them so. Merber led off the team with a 2:53 1,200m leg, and his teammates Brycen Spratling, Brandon Johnson, and Ben Blankenship continued the plan and ultimately won the gold medal in the crazy race with a time of 9:15:50, holding off Kenya and Australia.