Rowan Men’s Cross Country placed second in the NCAA Metro Region Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, finishing just six points behind Haverford, who were crowned the champions. The meet marks the end of the Profs’ season in team races.
Rowan did not attain an at-large bid to the NCAA DIII Championships, even after being on the national radar early in the season and putting forth their best regional finish in 30 years.
“We wanted to race the best at the end and we’ve done that,” Head Coach Dustin Dimit said. “The previous time we ran against Haverford we lost by around 150 points, so six points was just a couple of seconds away. Obviously, we would like to win the regional title, but I can’t be prouder of how well the guys ran.”
The Profs’ top runner was Jacob Riley, who finished fourth in the men’s 8k race. This standout performance punched his ticket to represent Rowan individually at the NCAA DIII Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18.
“I am very excited to be going to NCAA’s this year representing Rowan,” Riley said. “This is my first time making it and I’m very grateful, with it being my senior year. We have a great team and I’m thrilled to be the one representing us.”
Riley is a team captain and has been the top runner for the Profs this season. Even with the team not getting to race together, it couldn’t be more fitting than him receiving the honor to suit up for Rowan again.
“Jake has been a great leader as a captain,” Dimit said. “He’s done well academically and athletically, and to see him make the national meet is just great. We would’ve loved the team to join him and we feel like we should’ve gotten the at-large bid. I’m really happy for him and we’ll see what he can do this weekend.”
Running their best has been a reoccurring theme for the Profs this season, as they also won their second consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship for the first time in 30 years. The team gelled together from the very beginning and wanted nothing but the best for each other throughout the year.
“It’s been a very tight-knit group this year, which had some influence over our depth,” Riley said. “The depth is a huge difference between this year and previous years. It’s a lot to ask for everyone to have a good day, and having people that are capable of stepping up when it’s needed is super important.”
This season was a major success for Rowan. They didn’t make the national meet, but the accolades the team received are nothing short of what they sought out in the preseason.
“They had the right attitude from the beginning,” Dimit said. “They put the work in during the summer. They were focused throughout the year and they bought into what we talked about in training. They did everything the right way. It was the best finish in 30 years at the regionals, so we’ll take that.”
Another season is in the books for Rowan, and they will now enjoy a well-deserved break before they come back in 2024. Rest assured; the Profs are hungry to three-peat as NJAC champions.