Rowan Men’s Track and Field look to avenge heartbreaking end to indoor season

Jah'mere Beasley runs in a race. Beasley was a part of the 4x400 team that didn't qualify for finals at the NCAA Division III Championships. Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

For Rowan men’s track & field team, the outdoor season has started but the end of their indoor season has lingered in the back of the team’s mind.

On March 10 and 11, the Profs had six qualifying athletes competing in the NCAA Division III Championships. Four of those athletes, Jah’mere Beasley, Amara Conte, Evan Corcoran and Nana Agyemang, were all part of the defending national champion 4×400 relay. 

During prelims, on the third leg of the relay, Agyemang’s leg, the baton was kicked out of his hand incidentally by an opponent in the outside lane, but the Profs were not disqualified. Instead, the Profs would finish the race, failing to qualify for finals.

Despite Head Coach Dustin Dimit’s efforts to protest the ruling, the team was not allowed to compete in the finals and would walk away without a chance to defend their crown.

“I’m upset about it because it was incidental contact,” Dimit said. “In the past, often, if you protest that you get put back in the final… They did that for a women’s team in this national championship but not for us. It obviously was upsetting because we feel like things aren’t done equally across the board.”

Coach Dimit and the rest of the team feel like they had something taken from them and will do everything in their power to make sure something like that does not happen again as they enter the outdoor season. 

“At the end of the day, there is nothing we can do about it,” Dimit said. “We just have to focus on outdoor and come back with a vengeance because a lot, in a way, was taken from us.”

After a disappointing and controversial end to their indoor season, the athletes who competed at nationals were awarded with a week off for physical rest, but more importantly, a mental break.

“Mentally it’s good to take a break,” Dimit said. “Especially with the way it ended where it’s taken away from you. You work all year towards that, and I know I’m in shock from it and I’m not the one who was working hard and doing it every day so for them it has to be even worse.”

The team, which had high hopes after breaking the Division III national record, is ready to move forward and strive towards its goals for the outdoor season.

“There’s only so much we can control,” Beasley said. “I always say ‘control the controllables.’ Yeah the baton got knocked out of his [Agyemang] hand but there’s only so much we can do about that…We mourned on it for a day or two and then after that you really just gotta move forward and just wipe your hands with it and come in with a fresh mind and just go at it.”

Shifting their gears outdoors, the team has already started off strong. Junior Greg Poloso started his outdoor season off with the number two ranked javelin throw in Division III with a mark of 62.95 meters and freshman Jason Agyemang placed first in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.16, which was also good enough for a top 10 rank in Division III. 

“It’s very important,” Beasley said. “Especially for younger guys like Jason. Even Greg, javelin doesn’t compete in the winter so for him to come out at the first meet of the year and him, Edgar and all the guys throwing far like that, it really sets the tone for them to have strong seasons which can be pretty big point scorers when it comes to those bigger meets like NJACs, regionals and nationals so it’s highly important.”

The team has many goals and hopes for the outdoor season but one goal in particular is the real focus.

“We’re hoping to be in the mix and at least get back on the podium as a trophy team,” Dimit said. “That’s the real focus, let’s go out and just have the best season we can… We know what we were ready to do, we saw what Amara ran in the open 400. So, we know what we were ready to do there [indoor nationals] and we know we’ll be ready to do it at the end of outdoors as well.”

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