Rowan Men’s Cross-Country gears up for Border Battle

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Jacob Riley runs in a race. Riley ran in the 8k two weeks ago at the Paul Short Run. - Photo via Rowan Athletics

Border Battle is a race that Rowan Men’s Cross-Country hosts annually, and the Profs will stride through the course in Logan Township, NJ, for the eighth time on Saturday, Oct. 14.

After placing 13th in the 2021 Border Battle and seventh last year, the Profs will look to improve their finish amongst plenty of regional foes.  

“We definitely have to get out quick,” junior Jacob Riley said. “It’s a big meet, so it’s easy to get caught behind people. Getting out and settling into our normal pace is important to not get stuck where we don’t want to be.”

Riley is the top returning runner to the Profs from last year’s Border Battle. He has high expectations for the team in their home race.  

“There’s going to be a lot of other teams there that will determine the outcome of nationals and regionals,” Riley said. “It’s a good representation of what’s to come. Everyone is hoping to run well, this is our meet and there is a lot of good people coming so the expectations are pretty high.”

With the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships next up after the Border Battle, seeing regional competition at this race can help Rowan get an edge in the rankings and prepare for the road ahead.  

“It’s important because most of our region is coming, so it’ll set us up well for regionals,” head coach Dustin Dimit said. “Most of our conference is coming so we’ll get a good sense of where we stack up to them as well. As we get later in the season, ‘every race matters’ is how we’re going to execute and prepare.”

With this being Rowan’s home race, the Profs have seen the course many times and have practiced it to get a feel for it. That course knowledge could give the Profs an upper hand over some teams that haven’t been able to see the course or race it in the past.  

“We were out there for a workout last week,” Coach Dimit said. “A lot of the guys have run it in high school and college. Maybe some of the other New Jersey teams ran it in high school, but the teams coming from Georgia, Minnesota and other states haven’t.  It definitely helps to know the course well and have it be at home with our people supporting.”

After the Paul Short Run, Rowan dropped to No. 3 in the Metro Region, behind just TCNJ and Haverford, in the latest United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Polls & Rankings. The Profs look to the Border Battle and championship races upcoming to get back at the teams ahead of them. 

“We knew we were going to drop one spot because TCNJ beat us by five points last week,” Coach Dimit said. “But if it was only division three teams we beat them, and we care about beating them when it matters at conferences and regionals, so hopefully we’ll pull that off. This is one of those races where there are a bunch of teams in our region and around the country, so we get the chance to show that we belong.”

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