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2015 Today’s Top 10: Abbey D’Agostino

The seven-time NCAA champion now runs professionally and has her sights set on the Olympics

More than 460,000 student-athletes compete in college sports each year. Of those, fewer than 2 percent go on to become professional athletes, but Abbey D’Agostino is one of them.

As a child, D’Agostino dreamt of winning an Olympic medal in swimming. As a high school athlete, she decided to give distance running a try, and discovered not only that she loved it, but that she excelled. As a college athlete, D’Agostino missed qualifying in the 5,000 meters for the 2012 Olympic Games in London by two-tenths of a second. Now that she is running professionally, D’Agostino is training for the World Championships and a chance to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

D’Agostino dominated NCAA cross country and track and field during her four years at Dartmouth. She earned seven individual NCAA national championships – the second most all-time by any NCAA student-athlete. She is also the only woman in NCAA history to win both the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter races twice at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

She says her experience as an Ivy League student-athlete equipped her to run professionally. In Dartmouth’s demanding academic and athletic environment, she had to learn to push herself and work in concert with professors and coaches who wanted to get the most out of her in the classroom and on the track.

“Running is my job – my existence – now, and it’s my job to build a team of supporters who know what I need and how I feel and want to help me achieve my goals,” D’Agostino said.

She continues to work with her former college coach after establishing a strong relationship with him during her four years at Dartmouth. She also lives and trains with her new teammates – brought together thanks to a shared apparel sponsorship – in Boston, and attends Bible study and church events with one of them.

“(Our team) is much smaller than some of the other professional teams, and the athletes have become a family,” she said.