Haddon Heights native Pam Watson is the most recent in the long line of standout athletes who have emerged from Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC). Punctuated by her standout performance at the Danny Curran Invitational at Widener University in javelin, Watson was named Female Athlete of the Week from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCCA) in early April. Her 40 meter toss during the contest stands out as the furthest among all qualifying NJCAA athletes so far this season.
While many of her teammates focus on their well-rounded track & field skillsets, Watson's principle emphasis remains with javelin, which ultimately led to her being named the first ever Athlete of the Week in NJCAA D. III history. However, going into track & field in high school, javelin wasn't her first ambition.
"My dad really wanted me to go straight into throwing the javelin but I actually thought I would be more of a pole-vaulter," Watson said. "I trained for the first two weeks of track season my freshman year for the pole vault. "However my dad still wanted me to also try, so I asked my coach is I could try it literally a day before the first scrimmage and he said sure. As soon as he had me throw the first one he told me I was no longer going to be a pole-vaulter but strictly a thrower."
The team's familial environment harbors that indelible competitiveness that so positively drives Watson. "What really motivates me the most is not just one person but really everyone," Watson noted. "Joe [Kalnas] is a really great coach and I think we work really well and have the same mindset when pushing me to strive for the best I can be. I also have to really thank my parents and my teammate Shannon Grega because while we are competing against each other constantly we are also each other's number one fans and try our best to make sure the other is doing what we need to do."
Despite the newfound success, RCGC has been producing standout javelin throwers for years. Just last year, the College boasted both the best men and women's javelin throwers in the country among qualifying colleges.
After snow cancelled the first two meets of the season, Watson's hopeful vision still rests with nationals. She not only hopes to qualify and win, but to best RCGC's javelin record – one that has stood pat since 1997. That optimistic outlook may not be quite unfounded considering Watson already broke her high school's javelin record.
For more on Watson and RCGC's athletic program, head to rcgc.edu/Athletics.