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Who knew? Olive oil – unquestionably not a banned substance – apparently is performance-enhancing. It worked like a charm for Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino – individual titlist at the NCAA DI XC Championship race. Before stepping out onto Terre Haute’s frozen tundra, the pre-race favorite smeared on a little olive oil to take the sting out of the biting northern wind. “I put olive oil on my face. It's just awesome." What? “It was Mark Coogan's idea. He has the plan experience with crazy conditions." Why olive oil? “It's Italian. Olive oil is our thing."

The eclectic topical dressing was not the only thing D’Agostino had going for her. The Dartmouth senior also had fitness, experience, patience, confidence – and family. “I know I couldn't have done it without my team here,” explained the new champion as she reflected upon the presence of her Dartmouth teammates competing alongside her. “That was the one missing piece over the past couple of years: to have those girls right there on the line. There's nothing to worry about. You know your family is here.” It was the final piece for her mosaic of cross country success. “This was my last cross country race running for Dartmouth, so I had to give it all I had."

The remainder of her senior year will provide more clarity for her post-collegiate future. “I'm definitely going to run in some capacity. I'm not going to settle for anything less than what I know I want: to be a part of a team. I'm going to find that in the professional world."

Dartmouth coach Mark Coogan – quietly enjoying the afterglow of D’Agostino’s victory – provided insight on his athlete’s 5th individual NCAA championship title. "Abbey ran great. She stuck to the game plan,” said the former Olympian. “It has been an unbelievable four years to be able work with such a great kid and now a buddy of mine." Oh, and coach, what about the 11th hour addition of the protective olive oil? “That,” confided Coogan with a smile, “is an old trick I learned from Ed Eyestone back in 1989.”

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Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.


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