The Rowan men’s cross country team raced again on Friday at the 47th Annual Paul Short Run held by Lehigh University.
The team, currently ranked No. 29 in the nation by the U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), had 20 runners compete in an open race with 380 competitors.
Jeff Stewart was the top finisher for the team for the second race in a row, clocking in at 25:58.4 and placing 68th.
“I’ve really been training hard since last fall and it seems to all be coming together right now,” Stewart said. “The future is bright for me. My best days are ahead of me for championship season and I’m excited.”
Head Coach Dustin Dimit also sees this potential in Stewart’s impact on the team.
“Jeff has been racing really well and really consistently for us and we’re really proud of him for taking that step forward,” Dimit said. “Him doing what he’s doing has us in position for where we want to be at the end of the year.”
As they head for the end of the season, the competition for the team continues to be strong, with many of their opponents being nationally ranked Division I schools.
“Better teams get me excited,” Stewart said. “Makes me think that if I can hang with these guys for a race then that’s a pretty good day.”
This is why it is important to Stewart to keep focused on his next races instead of his past ones.
“I always want to run my fastest at the end of the year,” Stewart said.
Since this was the team’s first meet in a while, Stewart mentioned what he mentality was like during the two-week layoff.
“I like to use that time to stay consistent with my workouts,” Stewart said. “I really focus a lot of time on consistency and being where my team needs me to be.”
When it comes to the team overall, Stewart is really positive.
“If I have a bad day they are there to pick me up and vice versa so it’s a good bond,” Stewart said.
Due to the team being so strong, Dimit has high exceptions for his team.
“We are currently nationally ranked so that’s good, that’s where we want to be,” Dimit said. “We hope to be a top 20 or top 25 team by the end of the year.”
The team will race again next Saturday, Oct. 16, at nearby DREAM Park in Logan Township, where they will be hosting the Border Battle. The men’s race will begin at 11:45 a.m.
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