The Rowan men’s 4×400 relay team has successfully defended their outdoor NCAA Championship by securing the same title for the indoor season.
The championship squad, which consisted of sophomores Marquise Young and Jah’mere Beasley, and freshmen Nana Agyemang and Amara Conte, finished with a time of 3:16.56 on Saturday, March 12, at the NCAA Division III Championships.
“It was very big,” Beasley said. “All week we had been preaching that we’re one of the best teams there, we’ve been proving it all year, we had the number one time in the country all year… The main thing was going out there and proving like ‘Okay, we’ve been doing this all year, let’s just go make it happen, let’s just get on the podium and try to go back to back.’ It was a heartwarming moment for me.”
To get to this moment, it took a lot of dedication from each of these four guys to be at a nationally-ranked level.
“It feels rewarding and encouraging,” Conte said. “The work we put in actually paid off and it actually took us to where we want.”
Conte is keeping a motivated focus on the upcoming outdoor season, letting it be known that they will not become complacent.
“Looking towards outdoor, now it’s like we’ve already built the foundation and the fact that we won the national title should make us want to push because we also understand that other schools will be aiming to beat us,” Conte said. “We’re basically putting extra work in and extra time just to make sure we remain the national champion for as long as we can.”
When talking about their success, Beasley was sure to give credit where it’s due.
“I can credit it a little bit to [Assistant Coach Norm Tate],” Beasley said. “He pushes us to the limit every day. He tells us over and over, ‘You can do it, we train for this and we do this every day, there’s no reason you can’t go out there and show out and go do what we need to do.’”
Conte mentioned that there is also a bond between the team and recognized how their hard work and trust have taken them a long way.
“Since we started back in like September or October, the guys on that 4×400 have been there every single day,” Conte said, “helping each other and trusting in each other’s ability to perform when it mattered. And so building that foundation helped us reach our final goal.”
They also gave some perspective on how it felt after finally accomplishing a goal that they set so long ago.
“The best moment just had to be seeing smiles on everybody’s faces,” Beasley said. “Whether it’s [Coach Tate], [Head Coach Dustin Dimit], my teammates– just seeing everybody smiling to me, it’s very heartwarming and that makes me feel like we really did something special.”
“We proved that we could repeat what happened last year outdoors and that we have the standard to defend our title,” Conte added.
Beasley’s success wasn’t limited to the relay though, as that weekend, he also captured third in the 200-meter event with a time of 21.67, which was also good for his second All-American honors.
“Getting on the podium in general, in any of my events, just means a lot to me because I didn’t run indoor track in high school and didn’t run it until college,” Beasley said. “I went into nationals being ranked fourteenth and to finish third, that’s pretty damn good in my opinion.”
This special season meant a lot to them but they are still looking to improve, knowing that they can get better and still have to continue to learn.
“Indoor track has taught me to be more adaptive,” Conte said, “to not see changes as bad things, see through what it is and just make the best of it.”
“I’m still learning how to run on an indoor track,” Beasley added. “Every race I have is not always the cleanest, but I will say throughout the season, as I started getting faster, you could see that I started getting more comfortable. I was able to relax when I was racing and not really stress and strain my body as hard.”
As for the future, Beasley knows it’s bright.
“We really have something special here,” Beasley said. “We just need to keep building on it.”
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