The Rowan men’s cross country team is back-to-back champions of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) for the first time in 30 years.
The Profs battled through a freakishly hot October, Saturday to bring home first place in the NJAC Championships, edging second-place The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) by just one point, 34-33.
“I’m super proud of the team,” Head Coach Dustin Dimit said. “Especially because we lost two of our top guys during the race, but the other guys stepped up and we were still able to pull off the win.”
Following through with their season-long motto, Rowan continues to race extremely well towards the end of the season as races get increasingly challenging during the NJAC Championships and with the NCAA DIII Metro Regionals upcoming.
“It’s always important for them to know that they are ready to run fast,” Dimit said. “They embrace that. Some people had their best race, even though the times weren’t great because of the conditions. The execution throughout the race was great and that’s what we were looking for.”
The team buys into that mindset and the importance of training for longevity during the season, not just getting off to a good start and hoping it continues into this time of year.
“Our training has been leading to the end of the season more than having a good performance at the start,” sophomore Scott Hubbard said. “We’re starting to sharpen our training to peak now at the end of the season.”
Hubbard finished second in the 8k championship race with a time of 26:06.6, stepping up when the team needed him most. Without his stellar performance, the title may have slipped away from the Profs.
“I just tried to do what we planned as a team,” Hubbard said. “I saw some of our guys had the heat hitting them, and I just took over the race.”
In his first top-ten finish of the season, Hubbard could not have picked a better time to lead the Profs to victory. His performance earned him the honors of First Team All-Conference, joining Jacob Riley who placed third in the NJAC Championships, and Joshua Cason who placed seventh.
“We’re super proud of Scott’s race and how aggressive he was in it,” Dimit said. “Especially when he saw Caleb [Clevenger] go down to the heat. He knew we needed that great race, and he took the lead up until the end. I can’t say enough about how great he ran.”
Coaches Dustin Dimit, Eric Dubois, and Greg McGuire were also recognized, earning the title of 2023
NJAC Coaching Staff of the Year.
Looking ahead to the Metro Regional Championship, the Profs are as confident as they’ve been all season. That confidence is warranted, as they are putting forth their best at the perfect moment.
“Our confidence is great,” Hubbard said. “I’m thinking we have a good chance to win regionals and beat Haverford. Even though they are ranked number one, we have that underdog mindset going in.”
It will be a tall task for Rowan to take down Haverford, who has been ranked No. 1 in the Metro Region all season long. But with the way the Profs are racing right now, anything is possible.