Despite not coming out on top, the Rowan women’s cross country team put forth a very strong performance in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships on Saturday, Oct. 28, placing third overall on the 6k course.
Leading the way for the Profs was senior Mia Guerra, who placed fourth overall. Guerra feels good about her performance despite the course’s difficulty being heightened compared to the Border Battle.
“I think I did well,” Guerra said. “It was definitely a tougher race than I thought it would be, especially after how good we all felt after the Border Battle. Just going in with the hot weather, it definitely made the race tougher. I still tried to push through it as much as I could.”
Another standout performance was by sophomore Gabriella Pagano, who finished 17th overall and was the fourth Rowan runner to finish the race.
“I think I did well on the effort side of things,” Pagano said. “I worked my way up throughout the whole race so I feel good about that. There weren’t many girls running together so it’s hard to move up during the race. When that happens and you feel like you’re running in no man’s land, it’s easy to give up, but I’m proud to say I didn’t.”
Despite not completing the team goal of finishing first overall, the team feels like they did everything they could and are proud of the effort they put into the race. They also know they’re not done yet and will use this performance to propel them into their next meet.
“Yes, we did want to win,” Guerra said. “Not winning was a little heartbreaking, but we all pushed and none of us ever gave up which is all you can ask for. We had a lot of alumni come which definitely helped push us. Overall, I am satisfied and we’re going to use this to help us for regionals.”
“The amount of effort we put in Saturday was definitely the most we could’ve given due to the circumstances, like the weather and the hard course,” Pagano said. “Placement wise we did good. Although we wanted to win, we’re going to use this as motivation for regionals.”
Head coach Eric DuBois couldn’t be more proud of how his team performed in the NJAC Championships and has an optimistic outlook about his runners.
“We had a really strong showing on a hot, humid day for October,” DuBois said. “A couple slight adjustments and we’re right there in the mix, so I’m looking forward to regionals two weeks from now.”
When discussing whether his team’s expectations were met, DuBois decided to focus on the positives over the negatives and noted that third place is a great accomplishment.
“I think we accomplished a lot of what we set out to,” DuBois said. “The team’s goal was to win NJACs, so we came up short there but top three is still great. So far this season, we have checked every one of the benchmarks we set out during the season, so the future looks very bright.”
There were three more runners that placed for the Profs; Anna Sasse finished sixth overall, captain Cammy Wright finished 14th overall, and Abigail Churchill finished 19th overall. That marks five Rowan runners finishing in the top 20.
With the NCAA DIII Metro Regionals coming up on Saturday, Nov. 11, the team is focused and motivated to come out with a strong performance after their top-three finish in the NJAC Championships.