Athletics at Division III institutions never get the attention that their Division I counterparts get, but they still have the ability to fill bleachers on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons. For most schools, it will be the football team doing this, and if not them, then the basketball teams.
At Rowan, it is not much different.
Esbjornson Gym is filled to almost capacity whenever the basketball teams play, and Richard Wackar Stadium draws a respectable amount of fans for football games.
However, right now, the best groups of athletes at Rowan are the ones that get little to no recognition. So now is the time for us to give it to them.
The track and field teams have quietly been built into a dynasty of sorts at Rowan, but get treated like they belong to a low-level program.
The women’s indoor track and field team won their fifth consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship on Feb. 20. They have also had nine All-Americans since 2011. Senior Amanda Brown was named this indoor season’s G. Larry James Most Outstanding Athlete, the conference’s highest honor.
Their coach, Derick “Ringo” Adamson, was named NJAC Coach of the Year for 2016, and in fact received the honor the previous three years (2015, 2014 and 2013), as well as receiving the conference’s 2015, 2013 and 2012 outdoor track and field coach of the year awards too. If that wasn’t enough, he was named the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Atlantic Region Head Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2012 for outdoor track and field.
The men’s indoor team won the NJAC for the third-straight year, and did so by 100 points. They have had 12 All-Americans since 2000. This year, the team already has three athletes qualified for five events at nationals.
The two teams have amassed all of these accolades despite not having an indoor track facility, and it’s much of the same success for the outdoor slate.
The women have captured the NJAC title three of the past four years (all but the 2014 season). Since 2000, they have had 19 All-Americans. Last year the team finished first at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship, the final meet of a regional conference that features more than 100 DIII programs. They capped the season off by tying for 20th out of 143 teams at nationals.
The men’s outdoor track and field team has had 24 total All-Americans, spread across several different events, since 2000. Rowan is currently the two-time defending NJAC champion. In 2016, the team took first at ECAC’s while finishing 18 out of 141 teams at the national level.
However, just like with the indoor season, the groups outdoors face as many obstacles as they do hurdles on the track.
When meets have been held at Rowan as of late, athletes taking part both in track and field events needed to be shuttled between Richard Wackar Stadium and West Campus due to the separation of the required facilities.
This year, Rowan will play host to not only its annual Oscar Moore Invitational meet but also the conference championships on May 6 and 7.
It appears that the NJAC and other DIII programs recognize how talented the track and field teams in Glassboro are. It is time for the university to follow their lead.