Rowan Men’s Cross Country is off to a great start this season, and the future looks promising as well, as the Profs had five underclassmen place in the top 20 at their last event.
Right in the mix is a new name in town that is increasingly gaining more traction. Freshman Colin Patterson has already made an impact and has taken home New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Week honors for the first two weeks of the season. Patterson most recently placed sixth in the Philly Metro Classic, which earned him the distinction of being the top freshman runner in the race.
“When we recruited Colin, we knew he was a great high school runner,” Head Coach Dustin Dimit said. “I
think he’ll challenge to be in our top seven guys, but we never expect that from a freshman. Freshman year is adjusting to longer distances and school being different, but he’s done a great job so far and we’re impressed with the results.”
Colin was a standout runner in high school for Haddon Heights, as he recorded the second-best times in school history by a senior for the 3,200 meter and 5k races.
Patterson acknowledged that changing pace from high school cross country to college is a big leap. It’s hard for a freshman to make an immediate impact in this sport, but he is beginning to learn what it takes to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“The biggest difference is that the race is longer, and the race plan is much different,” Patterson said.
“Workouts are more oriented than in high school and there’s more mileage in training, which is hard on
the body, so I just need to mentally prepare for the races and workouts.”
Patterson has already been able make that impact early on. Rowan didn’t race its top seven at the Philly
Metro Classic, but Colin was a big reason why the team was still able to walk out of the meet in the first place. If a runner needs a rest day or is unable to race, Colin has proven he can step up and fill that void well.
Deciding where he wanted to race in college was not hard for Colin, as he immediately noticed the connection this team has when he visited Rowan and got a chance to meet the team.
“Seeing this team bond and seeing how they get along very well, I knew it was something I wanted to be
a part of,” Patterson said.
The team’s culture is something that Patterson experienced right away, and the tight-knit bond is something he already has with his teammates. That paired with his competitiveness motivates Colin to be at his best at all times.
“I’m trying to beat everyone out there during the race,” Patterson said. “And my teammates motivate me to be at my best for them and to not let them down.”
There are high, but reasonable expectations for Colin for his time at Rowan. Even if he does not make
the top seven this season, Patterson is a runner this team can rally around in the coming years.
“He’s done a great job sticking to the plan and not worrying about any of the noise in between,” Coach Dimit said. “There’s a ton of different things that are all coming at you at once, but so far he’s done a great job handling that, and we’re really excited to see what he does this year and going into next year.”
“I just want slight improvements every day, I’m getting used to new things,” Patterson said. “I hope to
be a leader and keep the great culture going that has always been around.”
He may not be racing in the Dickinson Long/Short Run this Saturday, Sept. 23, but keep an eye
out for Colin Patterson to be a top runner for Rowan in the upcoming years.
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