Rowan Men’s Cross Country Finishes Seventh at Border Battle

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Justin Kelly runs during the Border Battle. Kelly finished first for the Profs at the meet. Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. - Photo / Rowan Athletics

The Rowan men’s cross country team had yet another disappointing performance this past weekend, placing seventh out of 36 teams in a meet that they were hoping could get them out of their slump.

“We were, I guess, satisfied with it, maybe not happy,” Head Coach Dustin Dimit said. “It was better than the week before. We still got out a little slow but we raced really well after that… We saw a lot of growth and improvement so that was good.”

Senior Justin Kelly was the leader of the pack once again for the Profs, finishing 27th with a time of 25:39.8 but was disappointed with the team’s performance as well as his own and expects better moving forward.

“Honestly it was kind of disappointing just because this was supposed to be the race that got us back on track just because we’ve been doing poorly,” Kelly said. “I think I personally have to do a lot better. I just feel like I’ve gotten somewhat complacent in the race and I’ve just kind of let people go by me… I would say overall we weren’t even too happy about it as a team but we’re looking to get back on track at [the] conference.”

Freshman Shane Vostenak, who saw action and finished with a time of 26:40.1, was named New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Week. It is the first NJAC award for the team since Kelly won NJAC Runner of the Week on Sept. 19. 

“It’s great to see improvement,” Coach Dimit said. “It’s just always a great process to see people grow and to see people learn and to see them get better.” 

With the most important part of the season approaching fast, the team is ready for what they’ve been preparing for all season and are looking to execute their game plan for a big day.

“The mindset is just that this is what we’ve been preparing for,” Coach Dimit said. “They’re confident that if we execute our game plan then we can be right in the mix for a conference title and a top-two finish at regionals.” 

“The whole season is kind of culminating up to this point,” Kelly added. “We’ve been talking about this for a while and it’s finally here so we’re looking to just kind of do what we set out to do… We know it’s going to be a tough meet with The College of New Jersey [TCNJ] and a lot of good individual runners so we’re looking to just run our race and do the best we can.”

What they have been talking about all season is finally here. After finishing third in conferences last season, the team is looking to rely on their hard work, take care of business, and bring home a conference championship next weekend. 

“That’s the great thing about our sport is that you kind of get out of it what you put into it and it’s just great to see that hard work starting to pay off,” Dimit said.

“We’re looking to just take care of business this week,” Kelly added. “Go after it next week and we’ll see what happens.”

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