September 21, 2018 | ° F

Layover preps RU for Bronx

With a two-week break entering today’s Metropolitan Championships in the Bronx, Rutgers women’s distance coach Jan Merrill-Morin believes the team worked hard during its break.

She is also excited to see what her runners are capable of.

“We’ve had two weeks off so we could do some really good foundational training,” Merrill-Morin said. “Everyone has been training really well over the past two weeks, so anything can happen as far as results are concerned. I want to see what they can do.”

The Scarlet Knights aim to improve on their impressive finish at the Monmouth Invitational at Holmdel Park.

“We have been doing real well,” Merrill Morin said. “Now we want people to make improvements on times from that race, and I think we will see that.”

Sophomores Brianna Deming and Anjelica Brinkofski, who placed eighth and 11th, respectively, in their last race, look to pace the Knights.

“We’ve had a couple of hard weeks just preparing for this upcoming race,” Brinkofski said. “We want to get some faster times and hopefully do well this weekend.”

Merrill-Morin also looks for runners like junior Victoria Pontecorvo, sophomore Rashmi Singh and senior Ashley Deckert to help the team.

“There are about eight or nine of them that we are looking to get high scores out of, and I’m looking forward to seeing what these kids are going to do,” Merrill-Morin said. “This is the turning part into the real competitive part of the season.”

The men’s team also tries to find success today, as it hits the midway point of its season. Senior Ben Forrest looks for him and his teammates to improve upon their times for their race.

“We want to improve as far as our placing and competing,” Forrest said. “We need to run together more and close the gaps we have between different runners.”

The Knights enter the race after placing third at the Leeber Invitational.

Leading the way with a third-place individual finish was sophomore Chris Banafato, whom the team will rely on once again in New York.

“Chris has been out in front a lot our last two races, so a few of us need to move closer to him for us to do well,” Forrest said.

The Knights saw steady improvement since their first race, when they finished ninth at the Fordham Fiasco and Follies. .

“We got some longer, faster and more quality workouts in this week,” he said.

The Metropolitan Championships is one of only two races before both teams head to Louisville, Ky., for the Big East Championships, a race both teams look forward to.

“That’s always a race you look forward to, and I think we will be ready,” Forrest said. “We have some great competition there. It brings out the best in us.”

By Bradly Derechailo

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