The Rowan men’s cross country team ran in the 8k race at the Lehigh Paul Short Run on Saturday, Sept. 30, en route to a 26th-place finish out of 47 teams.
Now that Rowan has an opportunity to participate in a highly competitive race, the Profs will look to improve on their 26th-place finish when matched against lesser competition.
“There are a lot of things that were really good, we wanted to finish a little bit better than we did,” Head
Coach Dustin Dimit said. “But as long as we’re learning from it and preparing for the next meet then we
got out of it what we needed to and we’ll try to build up to run better next time.”
The race was stacked with over 400 entries from all divisions in the NCAA. Races like this help prepare
the team for the toughest competition at the end of the season.
“With the Lehigh race having over 400 people, we’re not really going to have another race like that,”
junior Caleb Clevenger said. “So that was a tough race but it’s really going to help us prepare for the
Border Battle, Regionals, and Nationals.”
Clevenger was the top finisher for the Profs, placing 116th in a field of over 400 runners. He has been off to a great start this season as he’s found no problem finishing towards the top for the Profs in all of his races.
“I try not to put so much pressure on myself,” Clevenger said. “Even if I wasn’t performing as one of the
best, this would still be the same amount of fun for me.”
As previously mentioned, Rowan will not participate in an event with as many runners as the Paul Short Run for the rest of the season, which should help the team be confident against a smaller field.
“It’s a way different type of race,” Dimit said. “It helps prepare for bigger races like Nationals where the
competition is better and we’ll meet a bunch of Division I teams. I think we’ve already figured out
the smaller races so this was good preparation for Regionals and Nationals.”
This was Rowan’s second race in two weeks, something the team hadn’t done in previous years. Coach Dimit described the team’s approach in that aspect this season and how it will benefit them moving forward.
“This year we’ve done things a little bit differently, which is why we’ve done some shorter races on those
back-to-back weeks,” Dimit said. “So, this week we’ll focus more on the workouts and some more
quality. Going into races we actually do a little bit less, so this week will be more work to prepare for
the most important meets that we have coming.”
Rowan’s remaining races are by far their most important. Their next race is the Border Battle on Saturday, Oct. 14, which will mark Rowan’s eighth year hosting the meet. After that, only the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships, NCAA Division III Regional Championship, and NCAA Division III Championship remain for the 2023 season.
The Profs are set to train hard and stay in the groove this week as they prepare to resume action in two weeks for the Border Battle.