A new face has emerged as a leader for Rowan’s men’s cross country team this season. Ben Woodward, who transferred from Rider University as a graduate student, is the Profs’ newest secret weapon.
Woodward had a successful career at Rider, being named a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Academic team last season along with running the third fastest time in program history in the 10,000 meters with a time of 30:22.55. He looks to be a top-five runner for the Profs this year, but his decision to transfer was not all about running.
“I was struggling with a lot of stress and anxiety and some mental health issues,” Woodward said. “One of the plus sides of coming to this school and this program is I feel like they take mental health a little more seriously and I found some better services that could help me work on those issues.”
Since beginning his time here, the team and coaches have loved what they have seen from him and are excited to see what he will accomplish.
“He’s been top seven in our first couple meets so he’s learning his place here still,” Head Coach Dustin Dimit said. “As he adjusts to the new system, I think it’s just going to get better and better for him… he’s been great so far and we love what we’ve seen.”
The Profs are happy and excited to have him, meanwhile, Rider is sad to see him go, as his former teammates will miss his leadership and positivity at practice.
“The team and I miss him,” former teammate Richard Castañeda said. “He was a cool guy to have around, always had good energy, always smiling and it’s nice to have that type of guy at training and team dinners and stuff like that.”
Woodward wasn’t sure if he would continue his career after Rider but remembered some advice that was given to him from former coaches to take the time while he has it.
“I wasn’t entirely dead set on it at first,” Woodward said. “They [former coaches] all kind of told me that I have the rest of my life to work and get real serious about having a career… I only have this little bit of time left to continue being a collegiate athlete. I might as well use it while I still have the opportunity to.”
Now, officially entering his final season as a collegiate athlete, Woodward looks to a certain person for inspiration but also shows some love to his new teammates.
“My dad definitely,” Woodward said. “He’s always been a super hard worker and very on top of things he does in his life and watching him grow and excel and exceed at what he does, I kind of just like to be a hard worker myself and devote my time and energy into the sport of cross country.”
“Going through that pain and suffering and training and racing and just having fun with it,” Woodward said. “That’s what keeps me going and I definitely get inspiration from my teammates too.”
For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.