Two 4×400 teams headline Rowan Women’s Indoor Track and Field’s busy weekend

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Nevaeh Lorjuste runs her leg of the 4x400. Lorjuste was part of the record breaking 4x400 team. Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

Over the weekend, the Rowan women’s indoor track and field team participated in the Valentine Invitational and the Alvernia Plex Shootout, where the Profs had standout performances from both 4×400 teams at each meet.

At the Valentine Invitational, Head Coach Derick “Ringo” Adamson had the usual team going for Rowan. The quartet of Kat Pedersen, Molly Lodge, Jasmine Broadway and Nevaeh Lorjuste, who just had their best performance last week, once again topped themselves by having their best performance of the season.

“We went up there for a purpose,” Ringo said. “I told them going up there ‘you do not need to be perfect, but let’s not waste an opportunity.’ I gave each of them numbers on what they needed to hit before we went up there. But once we got up there I did not talk about anything except staying in a positive mindset. I was so proud of them. I did see some things that we could improve on with them. But we will, and they are just gonna keep on getting better.”

With this performance, not only did the team have their best time of the season, but they also broke the eight-year-long school record for women’s 4×400 with a time of ​​3:52.57. This was good enough to place second in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) at the meet and No. 16 overall out of 49 other teams. 

With the Alvernia Plex Shootout taking place the next day, Ringo decided to have the runners who run long-distance and the 4×800 run the 4×400 at this meet instead. The team, made up of Robin Collura, Gabriella Pagano, Sha’Lynn Clarke and Nicole Bertollo, finished first.

“Coming into it, I knew we had a really strong team and I knew we could come in first,” Collura said. “And once we came in first place, we felt that we really earned it. We put a lot of hard work and training into it and coming in first place is always a great feeling. It does not happen very often.” 

With it not being their typical long-distance run, Collura and the rest of the team knew that they needed to make adjustments in order to run a good time in the 4×400.

“I had to work on getting out faster,” Collura said. “And I had to attempt to maintain the speed of a sprinter the entire time.”

While Ringo selected them to run the 4×400 to help improve their speed for the upcoming NJAC Championships, even he was blown away by their ability to adapt to the new challenges the 4×400 offered them.

“I told them they are going to run the 4×400 to help them get faster, sharpening their skills for the NJAC championships,” Ringo said. “I was not expecting them to run that fast. It was incredible. They are usually long-distance runners but they looked like middle-distance runners.”

Ringo’s confidence in Collura’s flexibility to be both a long and middle-distance runner ended up being a pivotal factor in his decision to let his 4×800 team attempt the 4×400.

“For all the time she has been here, I have always felt like she is a very good middle-distance runner,” Ringo said. “But this year she did the cross-country season as well. When she started that season, I told her ‘this would be a point of no return, you are about to get really good.’ And she did. The one thing that I think helps her is that she just always keeps a positive attitude, which I think really helps her be great.”

With it being her final indoor NJAC championship, Collura feels that her and her teammates are ready for the moment that awaits them.

“I feel really good about the NJAC championship,” Collura said. “I know everyone is going to try their best and put in their best work.”

The team will prepare for the NJAC Championship the rest of this week. The championship will take place on Monday, Feb. 20, in Staten Island, New York.

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