Rowan Men’s Cross Country has two Runners Receive Weekly Honors After Their Second-Place Finish at the Bill Fritz Invitational

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The Rowan men's cross country team. They finished second at the Bill Fritz Invitational this past weekend. - Photo / Rowan Athletics

It was another successful week for the men’s cross country team, finishing second at the Bill Fritz Invitational. The team continues to improve and make headlines as they prepare for another big meet this Friday at the Iona Meet of Champions.

This week it is the transfer from Stony Brook, Justin Kelly, who made headlines for being named the National Athlete of the Week for Division III Men by the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Kelly is the first Prof to earn this honor since Kevin Veltre in 2017.

“Justin is a special talent and he puts in a lot of work,”  Head Coach Dustin Dimit said. “Justin came to us this summer and told us he wanted to be great. He did everything we asked of him and his talent with the work he has put in has helped him make great improvements.” 

Freshman Jacob Riley also continues to flourish. Riley was named New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Week for the second straight week and finished third overall at the Invitational, clocking in at 27:03.1.

“We think Jake [Jacob] is just gonna keep getting better,” Dimit said. “And the fact that he was able to beat a bunch of guys who had beat him the week before was really impressive.”

Riley credits his off season work, current practices and workouts to his athletic progress.

“To improve I’ll keep going up in mileage,” Riley said. “And probably try to do some more speed training and always keep a watch on and keep chasing who’s ahead of me.”

As the season continues, so does the perseverance to keep improving.

“I definitely need to look at what I’m running against, don’t want to go out too fast and burn out but don’t want to start too slow and lose them,” Riley said. “All about knowing what myself and the competition is capable of.”

This week, we can expect to see more runners.

“We’ll have a different group running this week,” Dimit said. “We kept some guys out last week to give them more of a rest with a short week coming up and wanted them to be focused on this and not really anything else.”

Dimit added that this will be a tougher course but they are excited to go up against Division I competition and some ranked Division III schools.

“The team is fantastic, they’re really strong,” Riley said. “People have been saying they want to go to Nationals and I think it’s pretty achievable with the group of guys we have right now.” 

The team continues to prepare and hopes for a strong performance at the next meet on Friday morning in New York City at the Iona Meet of Champions.

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