Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams were off to the races this past Saturday, as they hosted the Inter-Regional Border Battle for the third consecutive year.
The men’s team finished fifth in the event while the women’s team took 15th. A total of 250 runners and 28 schools participated for men’s cross country, with 239 runners and 27 schools logged for women’s.
Senior men’s captain Kevin Veltre captured his third top-finish of the year out of the four total races the team has had, finishing the 8K race with a time of 24:44. Junior captain Dan “Fitch” Henry took 21st with a season-best 25:23 recording. Sophomore Matt Russo finished 48th, as six other Profs were able to take spots in the top-100. Veltre was also named New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the third time this season.
“I’ve been working the hardest I ever have,” Veltre said. “Mainly, I’m just trying to keep my mindset right, staying positive and incorporating every bit of training I’ve done into my races. I’m almost surprised about everything. [This season] has been pretty good so far, to say the least.”
For the women’s team, junior captain Jennifer Klavens finished 41st with a time of 23:05. This tops her season best from last year by just over 30 seconds (23:38) and triumphs her best from 2015 by almost a minute and a half (24:31). All of these personal records have been set at the Inter-Regional Border Battle. Senior captain Emily Acton took 69th place, running in 23:32 and freshman Alyssa Sanders followed shortly after in 79th with a time of 23:42.
“I love showing off this place,” said women’s cross country coach Derick “Ringo” Adamson. “Especially when it comes to running cross country. This place is one of the very few places, until you hit North/Central [Jersey], where these things are done. I came up in the old regime from when coach [Bill] Fritz was here, so I’m gung-ho to keep this whole thing going. I feel like we can take these things to new heights.”
The invitational has boosted the amount of eyes that are set on Rowan after a 2016 season that saw the school host the NCAA Atlantic Region Championships for the first time in school history.
“This builds up Rowan’s reputation a bunch to be able to get all these teams out here,” Veltre said. “And I’m pretty sure these are the coolest prizes that any racer has. I mean, having a sword is pretty awesome. It raises a lot of money for Rowan and promotes the program more. It helps us print our hand in the nation as a good team that can host teams and as a team that is respectable.”
Now, both teams await the NJAC Championships, which will take place at Stockton University on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 10:30 a.m. Last year, the women’s team took third place in the competition out of seven teams, and the men’s team took second out of eight teams.
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