Coming off of an eighth consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship, the Rowan men’s indoor track & field team is now entering the most important part of their season.
After five months of training, it all comes down to the All-Atlantic Regional Track and Field Conference (AARTFC) Championships and the NCAA Division III Championships.
Although both meets are important, the team will not be sending everyone to The Armory in New York City in preparation for nationals.
“We’re resting some guys,” Head Coach Dustin Dimit said. “Every time going into regionals, the goal is just to prepare for nationals and for the people who weren’t making it to nationals to end on the best possible note… If we end up winning, great. If we don’t, that’s alright as long as we’re in a position to do what we wanna do next week.”
In preparation for the upcoming meets, the team sent a few athletes to compete at the Boston University Last Chance Qualifier meet and the Fasttrack Last Chance Meet. Among the few were senior Jah’mere Beasley and freshman Kwaku Nkrumah.
Nkrumah wound up hitting a personal best in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.18 and Beasley would bring his 200-meter dash time up to third in the region with a time of 21.58.
“It’s great for them and everybody else,” Coach Dimit said. “They know what we’ve talked about all year and that this is the time of year that we’re supposed to run fast.”
During the past few weeks, the team has broken multiple national records, performed personal best times and have improved weekly. Complacency and arrogance, however, have not been an option for them.
“Arrogance leads to mistakes,” sophomore Amara Conte said. “We know that what we do is important and how much hard work that goes into it. Being arrogant is never an option for us. Our hard work, we let that do the talking.”
The team’s remarkable competitiveness and focus comes directly from their head coach who, although not competing, will never be okay with losing.
“I’m the type of person that is super competitive,” Coach Dimit said. “For me, not getting complacent, it’s just that I don’t care how many times, I don’t want someone else to beat me, especially schools in our conference where we feel we have the talent to always win that. That’s just an expectation for anybody who wants to be part of the program, that you’re gonna come in and try to contribute to that.”
After five months of training and being around each other, Coach Dimit and Conte looked back at what advantages this team might have over the competition that lies ahead.
“Our depth,” Coach Dimit said. “The depth for a regional type thing and then for nationals it’s how many of our guys already have experience being there.”
Conte knows his team has depth, but he believes there is another reason that this team poses advantages to competition that may stand in their way.
“Our dynamic and the diversity that we have,” Conte said. “The diversity, the experience and just the overall support that we have for each other and the love that we have for each other.”
For a team that has proven itself time and time again, they still feel like they may have something more to prove. For Conte, he feels he has something to prove to himself after a disappointing end to last year.
“I feel like I do have something to prove,” Conte said. “Last year’s loss at nationals outdoor kind of affected me… We should not have lost and I kind of blame myself for that as an anchor.”
Last year’s loss in the outdoor season has driven Conte all season and has had him set new expectations for himself to never let it happen again.
“This year, the only kind of pressure I put on myself is to not let that happen again,” Conte said. “If I get that baton in first place, keep that first place no matter what. That’s the expectation I have for myself and I know that the other three guys will run their best and as their anchor I should not be the one being caught.”
For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.