The RCGC Men's Track and Field Team captured their first NJCAA Division III National Championship since 2014 and second overall with a spectacular finish at Mohawk Valley Community College on Saturday.
Sophomore Jake Caruso and freshman Mike Dowd clinched the national crown with second and third place finishes respectively in the 5000 meters, giving the Roadrunners the national title with 134.50 points to slip by Suffolk County College, the runnerup at 122 points. Caruso claimed All-American honors with his second place showing in the event.
"This feels great to win this championship after being ranked No. 1 all year – we would rather win the title here on the track anytime," said head coach Ryan Hughes, who was also selected as Men's Coach of the Meet!
The Roadrunners' women's squad finished as national runner-up in the NJCAA Women's Division III race, thanks to the efforts of three-time national champion Elisia Lancaster (Delsea), who capped a terrific meet with a win in the shot put Saturday. Teammate Emily Hilt (Kingsway) also placed second in the same three events to bring home All-American honors in each event.
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Photo below -- Three-time National Champion and All-American Elisia Lancaster with three-time All-American Emily Hunt on Saturday.
The Roadrunners men's team experienced plenty of adversity during the meet when sophomore standout runner Josh Legg suffered a wrist injury during Friday's competition and was forced to sit out Saturday's competition. That only motivated Caruso and Dowd even more.
"Hey this was our teammate who had contributed all season long to all of our success," said Caruso, who himself earned a second straight national title in the men's steeplechase on Friday. "No way we're not getting this one for Josh."
Photo Below -- James Kennedy. Mike Dowd and Jake Caruso celebrate winning a men's national team title following the 5,000 meters on Saturday.
Dowd, who was third in the steeplechase as well, was thrilled to pull out the national title for his team and his teammate Josh Legg.
"His having to sit on the sidelines was really a tough break for Josh, and I'm thrilled we got this one for him and our team," said Dowd.
Adam Hunt, who won two national titles and All-American honors in the hammer and discus earlier, took a key fifth place finish in the shot put Saturday.
In women’s action, the Roadrunner women’s team enjoyed their best finish since the 2013 season, when the program won a national crown.
Lancaster and Hilt dominated the field events by sweeping first and second place finishes in the hammer throw, discus and shot put events.
“This was an honor for Emily (Hilt) and I to sweep these events and give our team a chance to win,” said Lancaster. “We came in here wanting to perform like we know we’re capable of, and we’re proud of the results. Hopefully next year the women’s team will win a team championship!”
Also earning All-American honors for the lady Roadrunners was Azia Pitt (Winslow) with her second place finish in the high jump.
The performances of the entire team was remarkable, said Director of Athletics Brian Rowan.
"I can't begin to tell you how thrilled the entire athletic department and administration is with this team's efforts," said Rowan. "To overcome the adversity they faced on the final day against some tough teams shows the true character of these athletes and is a tribute to the coaching staff."
Watch for additional features on the Roadrunners' Men's Track National Championship triumph right here in the coming week!
Day Two Results
So far, so good.
Following Day Two of competition both the Roadrunner men's and women's team hold commanding leads in their respective team races at the NJCAA Division III Track and Field Championships at Mohawk Valley Community College.
The women's team has compiled 64 points after nine events to easily lead runnerup Kingsborough's 34 points. The men's team, likewise, has collected 88.5 points, well ahead of runnerup Sandhills, which has 54 points.
The secret to the Roadrunners' success at this point?
"We're showing off our depth, and you need a lot of athetes contributing if you expect to challenge for the team race," said veteran coach Ryan Hughes. "Everyone has been doing their parts so far."
Freshman sensation Elisia Lancaster certainly continued to do her part, earning a second national title Friday, this time with a winning toss of 36.21 meters in the women's discus to gain All-American honors in the event. Teammate Emily Hilt was right behind her with a second place effort, good to earn All-American honors as well -- her second one for the meet!
Not surprisingly, freshman Adam Hunt, a former Collingswood standout, was terrific in the men's discus on Friday. He wrapped up his second national championship and All-American medal with a first place throw of 47.17 meters. Fellow teammates Edgar Rosa (7th place) and Andrew Burkhardt (8th) aso picked up key points in this event.
In the men's javelin, freshman Rosa and sophomore Burkhardt earned solid third and fourth place showings respectively, with Koy Connors finishing at seventh. All in all, the Runners picked up 13 team points in the event.
Sophomore Jalen Mickles had a fifth place showing in the men's long jump with a leap of 6.5 meters while sophomore James Kennedy placed seventh in the men's 10,000 meters.
In the men's decathalon, Koy Connors grabbed a third place finish with 4447 points while freshman Vic Ruggiano was seventh in the men's high jump.
Azia Pitt placed fourth overall Friday in the women's long jump. In the women's hepthatalon, freshman Allison Bone and Veronica Couto finished in fifth and sixth place respectively.
A number of men's and women's athletes have qualified for track finals Saturday at Mohawk Valley starting at 10 am. Field events will also take place, including finals for the women's javelin, high jump and shot put along with the men's shot put.
Check back here for a final wrapup of the NJCAA D III National Track and Field Championships!
Day One Results
RCGC's Men's and Women's Track team are off to fast starts in the 2018 NJCAA Division III National Track Championships at Mohawk Valley Community College on Thursday as Elisia Lancaster (Delsea), Adam Hunt (Collingswood) and Jake Caruso (Eastern Regional) earned the school's first national titles!
After Day 1 of competition, the Roadrunners lead both the men's and women's team races. Coach Ryan Hughes' clubs lead the men's team race with 49 points while holding a commanding lead in the women's team chase with 34 points, well ahead of runnerup Middlesex CC's 15 points.
"We did better overall after the first day than I expected," said Hughes. "We are doing well not only with our first place winners but with our depth. Everyone is contributing with personal bests and picking up points wherever we can. So hopefully we can keep showing off our depth."
Early in the day, RCGC claimed the top three spots in the women's hammer throw event with freshman standout Elisia Lancaster winning the national championship with a first place throw of 46.94 meters to set a new all-time school record!
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Freshman Emily Hilt (Schalick) was second and sophomore Sarina Watson (Woodstown) was third. Lancaster and Hilt earned All-American honors thanks to their efforts in this event!
"We just wanted to go out and make our throws like we know we're capable of doing," said Lancaster, who will also compete in throwing events on Friday and Saturday. "We're excited with how well we did on our first day here and we're ready for our next events."
Hunt, a freshman out of Collingswood High, dominated his first event by winning the men's hammer throw national crown with a throw of 46.73 meters and earning All-American honors, Freshman Edgar Rosa was sixth at 36.75 meters. In the triple jump, Jalen Mickles placed third with a leap of 13.2 meters while Vic Ruggiano was sixth with a mark of 12.74 meters.
"We're hoping to flex our muscles a little in some of the field events and get these points where we should," Hunt said. "This was a great start today -- but only the beginning."
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Sophomore Jake Caruso, meanwhile, repeated as national champion in the men's steeple chase while Mike Dowd placed third overall. Caruso also ran the first leg on the men's third place 4 x800 meters relay, with James Kennedy running the anchor leg.
Stay tuned here for additional results and interviews with RCGC athletes!
Mohawk Valley Community College will be hosting over 400 of the best athletes the National Junior College Athletic Association has to offer when the 2018 NJCAA DIII Outdoor Track & Field Championships come to our Utica Campus.
The track and field events will be held over a three-day period beginning on Thursday, May 10, 2018, with the decathlon and heptathlon events. The competition will continue through Friday and Saturday, May 11-12, with awards being presented during ceremonies throughout the competition.
The RCGC men's and women's track teams should play a major factor in this meet as both teams are ranked No. 1 nationally by the USTFCCCA. Coached by Ryan Hughes, the men's team is led by standout field events performer Adam Hunt (Collingswood) while the women's program is led by field events star Elisia Lancaster (Delsea). Both athletes had qualified and competed in the Penn Relays and are expected to make a major impact in this weekend's championship meet along with other standout performers on both teams.
You can follow the action throughout the weekend online at the following link:
Visit NJCAA DIII National Track and Field Championships web site here