By all accounts, the Rowan College Derby featuring the men's and women's soccer teams from RCSJ Gloucester and RCSJ Cumberland proved to be an overwhelming success.
The men's and women's soccer matches at Rowan University Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 26 were witnessed by a large crowd of alumni, parents and fans from around South Jersey. While the game results highlighted the night's activities—the Roadrunner women's team won the opener and the Dukes' men's team won the nightcap—there was plenty more to brag about.
The matches marked the first time the two schools competed against each other since the merger of the former Rowan College at Gloucester County and Cumberland County College into Rowan College South Jersey (RCSJ).
"We had a lot of excitement surrounding these games throughout the week," said Roadrunners' Executive Director Brian Rowan. "The two schools are now part of the RCSJ system, and this has proven to be a great rivalry."
Dukes Athletic Director Jonathan "JD" Dijamco also felt both schools benefited from the exposure.
"For the kids to experience this is tremendous," Dijamico said. "Our teams are familiar with each other, plus they played on a local NCAA field. It's pretty cool for the athletes and coaches."
Roadrunner men's and women's coaches George Hobbins and Megan Ruttler also witnessed a positive tone to the doubleheader and the presentation of the "South Jersey Shield" plaques to the winners of both games.
"The atmosphere was absolutely amazing," said Hobbins. "The players and coaches really enjoyed playing on such a nice field."
“Ditto," said Ruttler. "The players were super excited to play in this stadium, plus we had a great turnout of fans, parents and alumni," she commented. "What a great experience."
Roadrunner women's soccer midfielder Leigh Swietanski (West Deptford) said her teammates enjoyed the experience from start to finish.
"This means a lot to our program to get a win here and play in this atmosphere at Rowan University," said Swietanski following the win.
Perhaps the best part of the evening's activities was the mingling of alumni, parents, and fans within the large crowd. That included athletes from RCSJ Gloucester's Unified Sports Program—a program that joins people with and without physical and intellectual disabilities on the same team—interacting with alumni, athletes and parents.
"What a great experience to see our Unified Sports athletes co-mingling in friendship with our Roadrunner community," said Rowan. "This just highlighted Unified Sports in such a positive manner and gave deserving recognition to these athletes."
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First photo: The RCSJ–Gloucester Roadrunners women's soccer team celebrate winning the South Jersey Shield.
Second Photo: The RCSJ—Cumberland Dukes men's soccer team pose for a celebratory photo during the Rowan College Derby.