Both Track and Field Teams Win Silver in NJAC Championship

Last Friday, both the men's and women's indoor track and field teams took home second place at the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships. Both teams had a high number of personal bests and Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) qualifying times as a result of their performance.

"You want to be at your best at your conference championship, and that's what we trained for, so I was very excited to see that happen," said head coach Mike Jackson.

For the men, TCNJ came out on top with a total of 191 points, but Ramapo was not far behind, tallying a total of 165.50 points and crowning five individual NJAC champions in the process. 

"I thought it was a very good performance by our men," Jackson said. "I challenged them this week by telling them that based on the performance list it looked like we were way out and possibly could have even got third, so I thought the guys stepped up."

Appearing in his first ever NJAC championship, freshman Paul Juelis won the mile run with a time of 4:18.18. Junior Jaivon Palmer won for the second year in a row in the 60-meter hurdle event, with his winning time of 8.65 seconds, while also qualifying for the ECAC championships. Senior pole vaulter Adam Lazor jumped 4.70 meters to win the NJAC and qualify for ECACs in that event. Junior Colin English won first in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:54.61.

Senior Ackeme Brown defended his title in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.91 seconds, while also taking home second place in the 200-meter race (22.06 seconds) and placing fifth overall in the long jump, jumping 6.49 meters. Brown qualified for ECACs in all three of those events.

In the field, senior Dillon Rodgers set a new personal best in the shot put, earning second place by throwing 14.14 meters. Rodgers also earned fourth in the weight throw at 13.73 meters.

For the women, Rowan took home first with 204 points, followed by Ramapo with 166 points. Having won the championship last year, the women hoped to repeat their success in this year's NJAC championship, but fell slightly short. Despite that, Jackson was still pleased with their overall performances. 

"We left with our heads held high. Usually after a meet you can go two ways, either a positive way or a negative way, and I think in most cases we have a positive outlook moving forward," Jackson said. "It just gives a chance to evaluate ourselves and what we need to do better, more of, less of, and looking forward to having stuff in the tank for outdoor conferences and try to win then."

Senior Anita Rodgers earned the NJAC title in three individual events, earning a total of 30 points toward Ramapo's final score. In the 60-meter dash, Rodgers finished with a time of 7.80 seconds. Her winning distance for the long jump was 5.65 meters and 11.48 meters for the triple jump. Fellow senior Michelle Favre took home her second NJAC title in the pole vault, clearing a height of 4.00 meters. Also in the pole vault, freshman Emily Shipley took home second place, clearing 3.67 meters.

Taylor Furman, a junior, set a new school record while winning the NJAC in the weight throw with a distance of 15.29 meters. In addition to Furman, Natalie Scanian took home second in the weight throw with 13.31 meters. Furman also captured second place in the shot put at 11.67 meters and earned sixth place overall in the 60-meter hurdles event.

Junior Chelsea Clark finished second overall in the 200-meter dash, setting a new personal best and ECAC qualifying time of 25.93 seconds. Sophomore Jasmine Hammonds also set a new personal best and ECAC qualifying time in the 200-meter race with 26.12 seconds. Clark, along with Hammonds, Brianna Williams and Alicia Green, also took home second place in the 4×200-meter relay.

Sophomores Rachel Herrick and Christa McLeod also set new personal bests in their events. Herrick finished sixth overall in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:19.84, qualifying her for ECACs, and McLeod set a new school record in the mile race with a time of 5:18.73.

With ECACs coming up this weekend, Jackson is getting those who have qualified ready to perform their best and hopefully improve on their NJAC performances.

"We just want to try and have some fun. Some folks are trying to ensure that they get into nationals, others are just trying to win their races and run some faster times," Jackson said. "Our goal is to do the very best we can as a team and see how we score overall. It just shows what you've been able to do as a team to run certain times, or hit certain marks in an event."

Jackson sees the high number of personal bests and ECAC qualifiers as a great way to transition into the outdoor season.

"We looked at it as this indoor championship serving as a momentum going into the outdoor season, and that's going to be our approach," said Jackson.