Rowan Women’s Cross Country grabs third place at NJAC Championships

Anna Sasse runs during last year's NJAC Championships. Sasse was the Profs top finisher at the meet this year. Saturday, Nov. 13, 2022. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

Rowan women’s cross country ran at the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship on Saturday, Oct. 29, finishing in third place out of nine other teams competing at the event. The standout performer of the day was sophomore Anna Sasse, who finished fourth overall in the race and received first-team all-conference honors.

“I kind of wish I finished a little better, obviously,” Sasse said. “But I can’t be upset about it. I still did great.”

Head Coach Derick “Ringo” Adamson has been impressed with Sasse throughout her almost year and a half here at Rowan and continues to be.

“I thought she did beyond tremendous,” Ringo said. “The only thing she could have done better is if she won. If you train like you are going to win as she did, then you cannot ask for anything else. If you could move among the top five like that as a sophomore as she did, then that is really impressive. So I give her a whole lot of credit for what she has accomplished. I feel like next year she will be even better because this is still a process.”

Another standout performance was by freshman Gabrielle Pagano, who joined her teammate Sasse in the top ten, finishing eighth. She was named to the NJAC All-Conference Second Team.

“I think Sasse and Pagano have a shot at nationals,” Ringo said “I already checked the numbers and they are already really close, so I tell them to go into race day and do their best because you do not know what might occur. I also tell them if they do not take their shot, you never know where you might end up. Can they do it? Yeah. But if they do not, then they just have to put their best foot in front of the other.”

Even though her coach thinks she can make nationals this season, Sasse is not that stressed about it and is not feeling much pressure

“I think I can get to nationals,” Sasse said. “I already took off work for three days that weekend so if I don’t go, I at least get to rest for three days. It is a win-win. I am just going to go to regionals with no pressure. I am just going to do my best.”

With great performances by Sasse and Pagano, Ringo feels as if the team could have done even better if two of their best runners were not injured.

“Well, we have two people who are pretty banged up,” Ringo said. “[Abbey] Churchill is hurt. I am the kind of person who does not want to take chances with injuries. With her, I am pretty sure it is a stress reaction. She is still so young, so I am not willing to risk her future when she is so young and has so much potential and time left. Cammy [Wright] is also having an issue with the top of her foot.”

The team will now hope for some recovery for their top runners before competing at the NCAA Division III Metro Regional on Saturday, Nov. 12, which takes place at DeSales University.

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