The Rowan indoor track and field teams are building something of a dynasty in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
Entering the 2016-17 season, the women’s team is seeking its fifth straight conference title; the men are looking to win their third in a row.
“Overall last year we were really happy,” men’s track and field coach Dustin Dimit said. “We had our highest national ranking ever and a ton of All-Americans. It was definitely a step in the right direction and much better than the year before.”
Last season, the men’s team also finished fourth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and sent athletes to the NCAA Division III Championships. Then-sophomore David Benjamin was named an All-American.
Dimit said that this year, the team’s goals are to be a top-10 program in the country and defend their NJAC title. He added that they’d like to be a “trophy team” with an opportunity to win a national title.
The Profs did not lose a lot of athletes from last year’s squad, so expectations are high for the brown and gold.
“What we have returning says we should be able to [repeat], but you never know what other people have,” Dimit said. “We’re really excited with this group and it should be a memorable year.”
Out of those returners, Dimit highlighted Benjamin, Jeffrey Tucker and Glenn Kohles as individuals that he expects to have a big year.
On the opposite side, the women’s indoor track and field team finished fourth in the ECAC Championships while also sending athletes to nationals. Former captain Shailah Williams, who graduated, earned All-American honors.
Head coach Derick “Ringo” Adamson said he knew in preseason last year that the team was going to be successful.
“From the start, we had some dangerous runners,” Adamson said. “I knew only we could beat ourselves. I knew what I had. It’s just human nature when you see you have success at something, you want more and you feed off of it. That happened last season and carried all the way.”
Adamson thinks the team could do the same type of thing this year, even though freshmen make up more than half of the roster. He added that he was excited and curious to see what some of the girls could do.
“I think they can win, I think they can,” Adamson said. “I mean, what the heck, as a human being, in the nasty weather, who would want to come out and practice and run in the rain? They don’t want to go to the REC Center, they want to come out here.”
While the roster is freshman heavy, Adamson picked a few upperclassmen to watch for this season.
Among those mentioned were Amanda Brown, Lexxus Matos, Kelly Vogt, Jessalynn Wright and Claire Corbett. Adamson called them “the nucleus to the whole thing.”
The men’s and women’s teams are preparing for the Lehigh University Season Opener, their first meets of the year.
According to Dimit, his team is just looking to see where they are and trying to get some national qualifiers before a five-week break in the schedule.
“We’re hardly taking any distance runners because they just finished cross country. It’s mainly jumpers, sprinters and throwers that are coming in,” he said. “We’re just going to see where they are and get a benchmark to make sure we’re still there when we get back.”