Men’s track and field win fifth straight NJAC title

The Rowan men's indoor track and field team celebrate their NJAC title. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Back in 2014, Dustin Dimit came to Glassboro after working with both men’s and women’s cross country and track and field at Buffalo State College.

Heading into his first season as head coach for both indoor and outdoor men’s track and field, the indoor competition in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) was dominated by The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). The Lions were looking for their 18th straight indoor conference title in the 2014-2015 season.

Dimit had other plans.

Rowan won its first indoor conference title that year, snapping TCNJ’s 17-year streak.

The Profs then won it again in 2015-2016.

And again in 2016-2017.

And again in 2017-2018.

And again two days ago.

“That’s what we were expected to do,” Dimit said. “The guys went out there and took care of business. We’re proud of their effort and all coming together as a team to accomplish that.”

The winning has come to no surprise to Dimit. When he came in five years ago, this is exactly what he was setting to accomplish.

To create a dominant force not only in the conference, but across the Division III level as a whole.

“The goal is to build a program that every year, you expect that level of success and continuity that young guys come in and expect to win,” Dimit said. “To have that kind of culture is what really helps to continue to get things going as every person coming in expects to win. When you do that, you put in the work to it.”

The Profs hoisted gold in style, claiming first place in five events including the 4×200 meter relay that breaking school and NJAC records with a time of 1:27.69.

Sophomore Justin Bishop and senior Chris Mesiano went one-two in the 400 meters.

Daniel “Fitch” Henry took first in the 3000 meters with junior Dylan Tyrrell following behind with a season best 8:43.09.

The Brown and Gold had three of the top-six finishers in the high jump, including sophomore Earnest Daniel who claimed first.

Junior Matt Russo, who came in second place last year in the 5000 meters, snatched first this time, cutting last year’s 15:29.63 by more than 10 seconds.

Junior Julian Pratt broke Rowan’s school record in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.93. The previous record was 6.95.

“We had a bunch of season bests and moved up on nationals lists,” Dimit said. “We’re really excited for their performances. Yeah, he [Pratt] had a big [personal record] and school record. [He’s] top-20 in the country right now. We’re excited that he’s coming on strong at the right time.”

The Armory College Last Chance meet is the next meet happening on Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. and then the regional championships which, according to Dimit, will be the last chance to qualify for nationals. After that, the outdoor season will commence.

The team faces a short schedule now, with the Armory College Last Chance meet coming up on Friday. Just like the schedule, time to qualify for nationals is running out as well.

Dimit likes his team’s chances of qualifying, though.

Friday’s meet, Dimit said, will allow players to “tune up” for the regionals and to improve their “national performance.”

“Yeah, that’s how we set up our training,” Dimit said. “To run our fastest once championship season starts, so that’s what was expected and you know, they performed as [expected].”

“I think we’ll have some athletes that make the national championship,” Dimit continued. “We have every year I’ve been here and we have a bunch of guys that are in that position. We could have one or two, or we could have 10. We have a lot of guys right on the bubble so we’ll see, but we’re really focusing on the outdoor season and building towards that. So, anything in the indoor season this year is kind of like icing on the cake.”

Rowan heads to Armory Track, New York City, New York, for the meet on Friday. Start time is 3 p.m.

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