NCAA track & field championships: NJ athletes to watch

The way it’s been told to Elliott Quow, he rounded the turn of the 200-meter final at the 1983 NCAA Track & Field Championships in last place.

“I always had a bad start,” Quow said Tuesday from his home in Willingboro.

But his finish was glorious. The Rutgers University junior picked off the entire field in the homestretch, reeling in Alabama dynamo Calvin Smith 10 meters before the finish, to break the tape in a time of 20.31 seconds. Some context: A month later Smith would break the world record in the 100 with a blistering 9.93.

Forty years later, Quow remains the last Rutgers track & field athlete, male or female, to win an NCAA title.

“Am I surprised? Yes, I’m very surprised,” the 61-year old said. “We should have more kids winning.”

Elliott Quow competing for Rutgers track

They might this week. Scarlet Knights sophomore Chloe Timberg is ranked second in the country in women’s pole vault. Quow would love to see her end the drought – and maybe spark a new era of champions. From 1971-1983, Rutgers produced six national champions in track & field. Most of those took place during the tenure of coach Frank Gagliano, who later became a national legend at Georgetown. “Gags” recruited Quow out of Carnarsie High in Brooklyn even though he had just one full year of under his belt.

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