Amara Conte ran Rowan’s fastest 400 in 33 years Friday and advanced to the finals at the NCAA Division 3 Championships.
Conte, a sophomore, ran a personal-best 46.76 at St. John Fisher in Rochester, N.Y,., the fastest time by a Rowan quarter-miler since Salem High graduate Maurice Ransome ran 46.19 in 1990.
Conte’s previous PR was a 46.79 when he won the NJAC title earlier this month at Ramapo. That 46.76 is 4th-fastest ever by a NJAC 400 runner. Dwayne Stevens of Elizabeth High ran 45.90 for Montclair State in 1992, Ramapo’s Cheickna Trarore from Snyder ran 46.54 when he placed 2nd at NCAAs last year in Geneva, Ohio, and there’s Ransome’s 46.19.
Interestingly, both Traore and Conte are from Jersey City, Traore from Snyder and Conte from Ferris a couple miles to the northeast.
On Friday, all eight qualifiers for Saturday’s final ran under 47 seconds, which is unprecedented. The final will include No. 7, No. 11, No. 16, No. 20, No. 21 and No. 22 in NCAA Division 3 history. The final is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. Saturday, and Conte will be out in Lane 8.
Rowan’s last outdoor All-America in the 400 was Rich Dixon, who placed 4th in 2000 in 47.82 at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. Dixon was also 4th in 1999 in 47.77.
(A note on that 46.19 – I can’t find any record of it actually happening. Even the NCAA Division 3 track official stats don’t indicate where it happened, although they do list the time: . I’ve searched everywhere using every possible resource – mainly Newspapers.com – and if it happened nobody knew about it or wrote about it. If Maurice Ransome is out there, let us know where you ran 46.19!)
Thanks to former Rowan runner Dan Fourney, who asked a bunch of teammates from that 1990 team if they remembered where Maurice ran his 46.19. Someone tagged Maurice himself, and he said it was actually in the semifinals at 1990 nationals, which were also at North Central College in Naperville. The only full set of results from that meet that I could find don’t show the semis, which is how we missed it!