GLASSBORO, NJ (March 26, 2021)- This season, the Rowan University men’s outdoor track & field team will compete for its sixth straight New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship. The Profs will also look to take the All-Atlantic Region title and they expect multiple qualifiers for the NCAA Division III Championships.
The defending conference champs didn’t get the opportunity to compete last year due to COVID, so they plan on making up for lost time. Head coach Dustin Dimit is excited to be able to compete again. Dimit’s goals for this season are not very surprising.
“This team has 16 returning guys who have been to the NCAA Championships and 14 who have earned All-America status in the past,” Dimit says. “So, we are looking to win the NJAC Championship and challenge for a NCAA title.”
One of the Profs leading the way this season is senior Julian Pratt, who is coming off a very successful 2019 outdoor season and 2019-20 indoor season. He won the 100 meter dash (10.91) at the NJAC Outdoor Championships and was also part of the victorious 4x100 meter team (42.01). He is the only returning runner from that relay, but still Pratt looks to continue his dominance this season. Pratt was named the Co-Outstanding Track Athlete at the conference outdoor championships. At the indoor conference championships, he was the winner in the 60 meter dash in 6.92, which improved on his school record of 6.93 at the 2019 championships.
On top of his success as a runner, Pratt’s leadership is invaluable to the team. Dimit says, “Julian has been to multiple national championships so his experience in championship settings should help the rest of our young sprinters that may be on the 4x100 relay with him. Having someone to ground that group and push them should really help the team.”
Pratt is joined by fellow senior sprinters Vincent Delle and Justin Bishop. Delle and Bishop are the only two returning 4x400 meter runners from the 2019 outdoor conference championship team where they won with a time of 3:23.55. The 4x400 relay came in second at the All-Atlantic Region Championships with a time of 3:14.28. The 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays qualified for the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
This season, senior Francis Terry is coming off the injury list and will help round out the 4x400 relay. Terry will bring a veteran presence to the team. Dimit says, “The extra year has him pushing to be back in the type of shape he was his sophomore year when he was one of the top 400 meter guys at NCAAs.”
Terry participated in the 2019-20 indoor season and qualified for the NCAA Championships on the 4x400 relay. This year, Dimit expects the 4x400 team to have a real chance at the NCAA title.
Jake Kolodziej will lead the 800 meter team. He competed with the Profs last winter and was an All-American as part of the 4x400 meter relay. At the Fastrack National Invite, Kolodziej ran a personal record of 1:56.86 for first place in the 800 meters.
Joining Kolodziej are Mitchel Baron, Esteban Delgado, Joe DeVito and newcomer Zach Voll. During the 2018 outdoor season, Baron recorded a personal best 1:59.24 in the 800 meters at the Swarthmore Final Qualifier. He ran the 800 meters in 2:00.44 at the 2019 Lions Invitational. His best time in the 1500 meters is 4:19.41 at the 2019 Widener Invitational.
At the 2019 Widener Invitational, Delgado ran a personal record in the 800 meters with a time of 1:57.11. At the Albany Winter Classic, he crossed the 800 meters finish line in 1:57.84, which was a season best. Voll from Lakeland Regional High School, earned All-County honors and already has high expectations as a freshman.
Regarding this group of runners Dimit says, “They are a deep group that should be able to score a lot at conferences and may be able to get guys to NCAAs.”
DeVito had a strong indoor season during 2019-20, but has yet to run outdoors. He finished third (1:57.80) at the NJAC Indoor Championships in the 800 meters. He ran a personal record of 1:56.40 in the 800 meters at the region championships. He earned All-America honors as a member of the distance medley relay that qualified for the 2020 indoor nationals.
“This year we expect him to be our top 400 meters hurdler with a good chance to win the NJAC title and make NCAAs,” Dimit says about DeVito.
Veterans John Nguyen and Liam Davies along with newcomer Marquise Young will compete in the 110 meter hurdles. At the 2019 NJAC Outdoor Championships, Nguyen took sixth (15.54) in the 110 hurdles. Davies has only competed indoors. At the 2020 conference championships, he came in fifth (8.52) in the 60 meter hurdles.
Rowan is very deep in the middle distance events with veterans Jeff Stewart, Nick Simila, Kush Patel, Brandon Diaz, Dario Epifania, Korey Greene, Brandon Jarrett, Miguel Vera and Keith Vantuono. This is the first outdoor season for Diaz, Epifania, Jarrett and Vera. Rookie Jake Riley will also add depth to the pack.
Kevin Lauer, Jason Muermann and Connor McBride look to lead the distance group. In the 1500 meters at the 2019 NJAC Outdoor Championships, Lauer finished third with a time of 3:59.88. He ran a personal record of 3:57.48 at the Swarthmore Final Qualifier. He was a member of the first place distance medley relay (10:06.06) at the All-Atlantic Region Championships that qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Dimit expects Lauer to be the top distance runner this season. “He will be joined by a number of experienced guys that have scored at the NJAC meet.”
Muermann finished sixth (33:58.87) in the 10,000 meters at the 2019 outdoor conference championships and McBride followed seventh (34:03.61). In 2019, Muermann ran 15:45.54 in the 5000 meters at the Widener Invitational. McBride had a time of 15:49.31 in the 5000 meters at the 2019 Danny Curran Invitational.
Dimit says, “We believe we will have a lot of NJAC qualifiers out of the distance group and that they should have a chance to score more points at NJACs than any other distance team.” He adds, “Having Jason Muermann back while in grad school is great for experience and leadership as well.”
In 2019, Nick Marcucci was the team’s best thrower in the discus, shot put and hammer events. Marcucci has since graduated and the Profs have to replace him. Dimit points to Nick Kokolis to be the top thrower this year. In the 2019-20 indoor season, Kokolis threw the shot put 43’ 6.5” (13.27 m) at the Ithaca Bomber Invitational. “He can do the shot put, discus and hammer, and will contend to be our top thrower in all three,” says Dimit.
Kokolis is joined by Ian Bain, Darryl Gaston and Edgar Rosa. Bain has only competed indoors. At the 2020 NJAC Championships, He had third places in the shot put (38’ 1.25”, 11.61 m) and weight throw (39’ 5.75”, 12.03 m). Gaston had personal records of 79’ 9” (24.30 m) in the discus and 110’ 10” (33.78 m) in the hammer at the 2019 outdoor conference championships.
In the javelin, Dan McAleavey is the returning conference champion (199’ 5”, 60.79 m) and Julio Lebron will look to improve on his third place finish (186’ 3”, 56.78) from 2019. McAleavey was named the NJAC Co-Field Athlete at the conference championships. He earned All-America with an eighth place (197’ 7”, 60.22 m) at the 2019 NCAA Championships. McAleavey also took first place with a NCAA qualifying throw of 199’ 6” (60.81 m) at the Lions Invitational. Lebron qualified for nationals with a toss of 194’ 1” (59.15 m).
Dimit says, “They are ready to do big things this year along with Huasley Parades and Edgar Rosa who both came to Rowan last year but didn’t get to compete. All four should have a shot at making NCAAs.” Rosa transferred from Rowan College of South Jersey where he was a national champion in the javelin. He claimed the Group National title twice.
The jumpers will be a strong group this season as five top 10 finishers at the 2019 NJAC Championships are returning. Rakim Coyle and John Owens both competed in the long jump at the 2019 NCAA Championships. Coyle finished 15th with a distance of 22’ 11.25” (6.99 m). He captured the conference title with 23’ 6” (7.16 m). Coyle qualified in the long jump for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships and was an All-American. At the 2019 All-Atlantic Region Championships, Owens placed fifth with a distance of 23’ 7.5” (7.20 m).
Frankie Richard came in fourth (42’ 10.75”, 13.07 m) in the triple jump and fifth (21’ 11.5”, 6.69 m) in the long jump at the 2019 NJAC Outdoor Championships. He was a national qualifier (23’ 3.25”, 7.09 m) in the long jump for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships and received All-America honors.
In 2019, Earnie Daniel took second (6’ 2”, 1.88 m) in the high jump at the NJAC Championships for All-Conference second team honors. He also competed in the triple jump and finished fifth with 42’ 6.75” (12.97 m) at the conference championships. During the 2019-20 indoor season, he had a fourth place with a height of 6’ 2.75” (1.90 m). He was a member of the All-Region team.
Dimit says, “Our jumps group should be one of our top event groups this year.” During indoor last year, the top jumps group in the NCAA were the Profs, (#1 in long jump, #2 in triple jump and #3 in high jump). Dimit also mentioned that “Ahmir Johnson (indoor school record holder in the triple jump and an All-American), Nana Agyemang and Soham Kolli will score a lot of points for us at the NJAC Championships and we expect to have quite a few qualify for the NCAA Championships again.”
Johnson was a qualifier with 48’ 8.25” (14.84 m) in the triple jump for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships. He received All-America honors. At the conference championships, he came in third with a leap of 46’ 5.25” (14.15 m).
There are a ton of returning runners to this Rowan team and they are expected to have a big season. At the same time, there are plenty of first and second year guys who have yet to run outdoors. Dimit pointed out some young Profs we should keep an eye out for.
“We have a lot of good young guys. Some first year guys that are looking to make an impact at the NCAA level right away are Amara Conte, Don Clement and Agyemang. We have a ton of second year guys that haven’t been able to compete outdoors yet that will also make a big impact, especially Jah’mere Beasley who was the indoor NJAC MVP as a freshman.”
In his first season, Beasley qualified for nationals on the 4x400 meter relay and earned All-America. He took first place (22.22) in the 200 meters and was second (6.94) in the 60 meter dash at the 2020 NJAC Indoor Championships. Beasley ran a personal record in the 200 meters (22.20) at the All-Atlantic Region Championships. He was named the NJAC Rookie of the Week three times and was selected the G. Larry James Most Outstanding Athlete at the conference championships.
The 2021 NJAC Championships are set for May 8 and 9 at Ramapo College. The All-Atlantic Region Championships will be held at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA on May 18 and 19. The NCAA Division III Championships will take place May 27-29 at Irwin Belk Track at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC.