Rowan junior Anthony Salemo ran a personal-best and school-record 51.06 to win the 400-meter hurdles Saturday at the NCAA Division 3 national championships in Geneva, Ohio.
Salemo, a graduate of Ramsey High School, became the 26th national champion in the history of the Glassboro State / Rowan men’s track program but the first individual champion in 19 years.
Rowan won the 1,600-meter relay at NCAA Division 3 nationals in 2011 at Ohio Wesleyan in Delaware, Ohio, and 2012 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in Claremont, Calif., but the Profs’ last NCAA individual champions were Rich Dixon in the 400 and Ed Colleton in the javelin in 1998 at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.
Dixon, who graduated from Dover High in Delaware, is now a sergeant in the Evesham Township police department. He was a two-sport star at what was then Glassboro State, starring for both Dan Gilmore’s soccer team and Bill Fritz’s track team. Colleton was a graduate of Matawan High.
Salemo entered the meet as the No. 1 seed with a PR of 51.33 that he set at a last-chance meet in Oneonta, N.Y., last week.
Salemo broke the Rowan school record of 51.25 set in 2012 by Absegami graduate Demetrius Rooks.
In Thursday’s trials, Salemo ran 52.22 to earn the No. 1 seed and lane 5 in Saturday’s final at the SPIRE Institute.
He ran away from the field in the final, finishing nearly a second ahead of second-place Peter Girardi of St. John Fisher, who ran 52.00.
Salemo is Rowan’s third NCAA Division 3 champion in the intermediates, following Stanley Moore from Overbook High, who ran 52.39 in 1983 (and also won the 110 highs that year), and William Cruz from Penns Grove, who ran 51.67 in 1997.
Only five runners have had a faster winning time at NCAA Division 3 nationals. Overall, Salemo’s time is 13th-fastest in meet history, and he is the 10th-fastest performer in meet history.
49.59 … Edwin Moses [Morehouse], 1977 [1st]
50.09 … Derek Toshner [Wisconsin La Crosse], 2004 [1st]
50.36 … Luke Campbell [Salisbury], 2014 [1st]
50.52 …….. Campbell, 2016 [1st]
50.57 …….. Campbell, 2015 [1st]
50.86 … David Voland [Augustana], 2015 [2nd]
50.88 … Peter Girardi [St. John Fisher], 2016 [2nd]
50.88 …….. Poland, 2014 [2nd]
50.92 … Alex Gill [Anderson], 2004 [2nd]
51.00 … Kevin Cunningham [McMurray], 2011 [1st]
51.00 … David Jackson [Cal State Stanislaus], 1980 [1st]
51.03 … Tyler Mettille [Mount Union], 2014 [3rd]
51.06 … Anthony Salemo [Rowan], 2017 [1st]
51.13 …….. Cunningham, 2012
Rowan finished seventh in team scoring with 23 points, its highest finish since the 1998 team placed fifth with 35 points.