The RCGC men's and women's track teams return this weekend to the site of one of the program's greatest moments, and is hoping history will repeat itself.
Coach Ryan Hughes' program captured the NJCAA Men's Division III National Championship in Spring 2018 while the women claimed the No. 2 overall spot in their team race, with field events specialist Elisia Lancaster won three individual national titles. The men were led by returnee Adam Hunt, who won a pair of national titles in the field events.
Can the Roadrunners enjoy the same level of success as they begin their participation in the 2019 NJCAA D-III Nationals at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, NY?
The RCGC men are currently No. 4 in the most recent USTFCCA national rankings while the women's team is ranked No. 3.
"Everyone is focused and we have enough talent that we expect to be competitive," said head coach Ryan Hughes. "There are some clear challenges in both the men's and women's races, so we will see how it all works out."
In the women's competition, Lancaster will look to defend her national titles in the hammer throw, the discus and shot put. Her toughest competition will come from her own teammate, sophomore Emily Hilt, who was national runnerup in all three events in 2018. Hilt has also won several shot put events this past season and is peaking at the right time.
"Both Elisia and Emily are focused and are a major reason for our success," said Hughes. "They both continue to make improvements and we're confident they will do well at Nationals."
The Roadrunner women will also get plenty of help from sophomore distance runner McKenna Dowd, who will be a top contender in the steeplechase, along with distance runners Lyndsay Boyd and Allison Bone. Top contenders for the women's national team crown include RCGC, Harper, Kingsborough, and Suffolk County.
On the men's side, Hughes has arguably the nation's top field event stars in the throws, led by sophomore Adam Hunt (Collingswood), who is a defending national champion in the hammer throw and discus. He is supported in the field events by teammates Edgar Rosa (javelin), Ade Awogbamila (shot put) and Josh Varghese (shot, discus, hammer). In addition, RCGC will likely receive major points from veteran Mike Dowd, an All-American distance runner in 2018, as well as benefit from the return of 2016 national champion Glenn Abbott in the hurdles.
In 2018 the Roadrunners captured their first men's national title since 2014 thanks to a solid showing in the field events and late heroics in distance events from Mike Dowd. Top contenders for the men's national team crown include RCGC, Triton, Kingsborough, Suffolk County and Harper.
Action begins Thursday and will conclude on Saturday at Mohawk Valley Community College.
2019 NJCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championships
May 9-11, 2019
Utica, New York