When there is not an indoor track to practice on, the Rowan University women’s indoor track and field team endures practicing in the cold by staying focused on one thing only and that is to make this year one for the books. On Feb. 5, three Rowan indoor track and field athletes competed in the pentathlon at the Bomber Invitational, a two-day meet held at Ithaca College.
Pole vaulter/hurdler Kari DiTonno and sprinter/hurdler Amanda Brown were selected by head coach Derick “Ringo” Adamson based on their unique position and the success the women are having this season.
“I think that what I’ve created here at practice time in the evening, it’s not dreary because they all come,” Adamson said. “If you come to my practice you best believe there’s going to be a smile on your face because this is your sanctuary. This is the place where you come to release stress. They love being around their mates.”
More than just a women’s track team, it’s a home away from home, by helping and supporting each other, these athletes see each member of their team as motivation to keep working hard and achieve a goal.
“We are constantly helping each other even though we are competing with each other,” said junior Kim Johnson.
Johnson, a hurdler, from Dumont, New Jersey says her style of competing is more of a serious kind. When it comes to a race day, she can’t help but get butterflies.
“I get nervous during the bus ride going on that I have to get in the zone by doing my warm ups and staying focused,” Johnson said. “It’s nerve wracking because you have one shot at that one meet to really do it. I try to be really serious about it but I also try to have fun.”
There is always competition between teammates. Nobody likes to lose and someone always thrives to be the best, however, these women don’t let that get in the way of being supportive of each other.
Johnson said that competing alongside her teammates DiTonno and Brown in the pentathlon was a little nerve-wracking because she thought they would do better than her. However, Johnson’s self-confidence and having her teammates’ support helped her do her best.
“Having them there was really helpful because I wasn’t as nervous because they had my back,” she said. “They told me, ‘Do what you do every time, get a good start and go fast.’”
Brown, a senior, agrees that having her teammates alongside her helped her stayed focused. She says staying focused on the goal, at least on her side, is not hard because she doesn’t like to lose.
“I hate losing,” Brown said. “It’s not that hard to stay focused because I don’t really like to lose so I just look at Ringo and listen to what he has to say. I just always think about being the best.”
There are younger athletes on the team that want the same things and have the same goals as their older teammates. DiTonno, a freshman on the team, says that competing alongside her teammates Johnson and Brown was a cool opportunity for her.
“They really helped me out. Kim gave me so much advice, like how to focus on one event at a time and not worry about the next thing. I was glad I got to experience that,” DiTonno said.
Johnson and Brown both want to make it to nationals. To stay focused and not get distracted with meaningless obstacles that can get in their way of going to Nationals, both Brown and Johnson use their teammates’ support to stay on track.
“I want to make it to Nationals. At least one event. I want to be conference champions at least one event,” Brown said. “I’m going to work really hard like I do all the time in practice. Put all the pain in the back burner and just go for it.”
“I just work! I work hard but I just remind myself every day,” Johnson said. “The background of my phone is actually the marks I need to get for all five of my events to get to Nationals, it’s a constant reminder every day how I want to work hard.”
The group will get another chance to compete in their events at the upcoming NJAC, ECAC and NCAA championships.