The Rowan Men’s Cross Country team was back in action last weekend for the first time since fall of 2019. The team opened up their 2021 season with a second place finish at the Salisbury Fall Classic, keeping it close with Division 1 Navy.
The team had 13 runners clocking in personal records. The team was recognized by the conference with Justin Kelly being awarded New Jersey Athletic Conference [NJAC] Runner of the Week and his teammate Jacob Riley was awarded NJAC Rookie of the Week.
“They put in the work,” Head Coach Dustin Dimit said. “We don’t expect them to be at their best right now, but it was exciting. And the results were great.”
Dimit added that he believes it was the fastest opener ever for them based on team average.
“It was great — really exciting to get back out there and see the guys compete and put in the work,” Dimit said. “These guys really missed competing last year, and we can’t wait to see what they can do this season.”
Men’s cross country is wasting no time in attempting to reach their end goal of being top in the region. “We really want to qualify for the NCAA meet,” Dimit said. “We last did that in 2017, I believe.”
Dimit discussed how the team has responded to being back to practices and workouts after such a long layoff and praises their self-discipline.
“Everyone is healthy,” Dimit said. “And it’s really thanks to the work they put in during the summer to prepare themselves to make sure they would be able to handle the work we are putting in currently.”
He also mentioned that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing, and that has helped them at practice — and it showed in their first meet.
“We always wish we would’ve won [first place], but it’s always good to get pushed by the competition when we go to meets where that will happen,” Dimit said. “This week is a smaller meet, but coming up we look forward to competing against multiple Division 1 teams, really trying to get pushed and to make sure that we are well prepared for later on in the year when we have top competition.”
The team will compete again this Saturday, Sept. 11, and Dimit mentioned that “Only a partial amount of the team will compete this week, but we want to continue to get used to race tactics and get used to our home course — especially for the younger guys.”
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