Rutgers runs to Metro Team Challenge in the city that never sleeps
The Rutgers men’s track and field team will make its first appearance this season at the indoor Armory track complex this weekend in New York City to compete in the Metro Team Challenge.
It is a quick turnaround for the Scarlet Knights. They competed last week at the Penn State Invitational, which saw various athletes qualify for the IC4A Championships later in the season.
The Knights look to gain more qualifiers this weekend at the Armory, and hope to build on their positive performances from their first two meets.
“This weekend we are looking to continue to get better,” said head coach Mike Mulqueen. “Not everyone will compete over the next two weeks. The next time everyone will compete will be at the Metropolitan Championships meet in February.”
The Knights will decide prior to the meet who will be participating in their respective events, as the short layoff from last week’s meet will result in some athletes getting a break from competing again this weekend.
One team member looking to make his season debut at the Metro Team Challenge is senior sprinter and jumper Corey Crawford. He has sat out the first couple of meets in order to prepare for the bigger meets as the season progresses.
Crawford is excited to get back out and perform with his teammates, and hopes that the team can keep up their improvements in a place familiar to the Knights.
“As a team, it is definitely going to be one of our best places to compete because of the venue,” he said. “A lot of our guys are familiar with competing and jumping there, so it is a kind of comfort meet for us.”
Crawford has been waiting to get back into action, and is on schedule to do so this weekend. The coaches and Crawford figured jumping at such a familiar course would be the best place for the senior to start his season.
“I want to get my feet wet with the indoor season,” Crawford said. “I’d like to get my qualifying mark out of the way for Indoor Nationals, so hopefully I’m able to do that at the Armory.”
Many schools from across New Jersey and New York will be competing in the Metro Team Challenge, as it is a popular meet that attracts many visitors in attendance.
Junior sprinter Rajee Dunbar has had much success at the Armory in past years, and has already qualified for the IC4A Championships following his time of 6.89 seconds in the 60-meter race and also with a time of 22.13 seconds in the 200-meter race.
Fellow sprinter Emeka Eze, a junior, also qualified for IC4A’s as he finished just behind Dunbar with a time of 6.90 seconds in the 60-meter race.
Dunbar is confident that the Knights can carry their momentum from the Penn State Invitational on the whole and that strong individual performances can increase the intensity of others on the team.
“When somebody else does well, it elevates the performance of everyone around them,” Dunbar said. “We’ve had very good inter-squad competition, and when everyone is performing at a high level, there will always be good results because everyone brings their best to the team.”
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