Cherokee’s Justin Kelly ran 25:09 over 8,000 meters at TCNJ’s Green Lane course in Ewing to win the New Jersey Athletic Conference title Saturday and lead Rowan to the team title.
Kelly won by 40 meters over Stockton senior Cooper Knorr from Manalapan, who ran 25:17 for 2nd place.
The team title was Rowan’s 24th overall and first since 2018.
Rowan finished with a 28-38 margin of victory over TCNJ, a bit of an upset considering that TCNJ is ranked 3rd in the USTFCCA NCAA Division 3 Metro Region and Rowan is 4th. Stockton, ranked 6th in the region, placed 3rd with 73 points.
Kelly’s performance capped a tremendous comeback after illness wiped out virtually all of his 2021 season after he transferred from Stony Brook (N.Y.).
Sophomore Jacob Riley from North Warren placed 4th for Rowan in 25:40, junior Brandon Jarrett of Woodbridge was 6th in 25:45, junior Dario Epifania from South Brunswick ran 25:46 for 7th and sophomore Cole Kolodziej of Washington Township placed 10th in 25:57.
Freshman Shane Vostenak of Pennsauken was Rowan’s 6th runner in 11th place overall with a 25:59, and Triton grad Noah Cziryak [12th in 26:04], Highland’s Ben Woodward [15th in 26:21] and Cumberland Regional’s Miguel Vera [18th in 26:31] all placed in the top 20 as well.
In the women’s meet, Rowan’s Anna Sasse, a sophomore from Williamstown, ran 23:12 over 6,000 meters and placed 4th, and Mainland Regional’s Savannah Hodgens, a freshman at TCNJ, ran 23:22 for 6th, helping the Lions win the team title, 35-43, over Stockton.
Sterling grad Jessie Klenk and Eastern’s Kierstin Clem took 11th and 18th for Stockton. Klenk ran 23:41 and Clem 24:03.