August 20, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers uses early season success to breed team confidence

Photo by Marielle Sumergido |

Senior Meagan Robinson led a string of first-place finishers for Rutgers earlier in the month at the Rutgers Invitational.

The integration of Rutgers into the Big Ten is an exciting process for all of the University’s teams. 

The Rutgers women’s track and field is no different — and it is ready for the challenge.

“I think our team has great potential,” said freshman Deanna Dilandro. “We’re all working so hard, and being in the Big Ten is great motivation.”

The young season has treated the Scarlet Knights well. Rutgers has competed in two meets thus far — the Rutgers Invitational and the Penn State Invitational. In both meets, the Knights left with multiple top-10 finishes.

Senior Gabrielle Farquharson has played a large part in the team’s success to this point. 

The co-captain has placed first in four individual events, including two sprints in the 60m and 200m. She finishes in first place for the long jump at the Rutgers Invitational, while winning the event at the Penn State Invitational as well. 

These performances have earned Farquharson the Corvias ECAC Women’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week for the Division I Metro/Upstate area on Jan. 14th.

“Winning at both the Rutgers Invitational and the Penn State Invitational really helped my confidence,” Farquharson said.

The 4x400 relay was the most successful event so far this season, with the Knights taking both first and second at their home meet. 

The team consisting of Farquharson, sophomore Drew Andrews, senior Jillian Grant, and sophomore Christina Dibernardo, earned its spot atop of the podium with a time of 3:57.38.

Other first place finishes include Jillian Grant in the 400m, senior Meagan Robinson in the 60m hurdles and sophomore Nicole Nicholas in the 600m, all taking place at the Rutgers Invitational.

Head coach James Robinson was very pleased with his team’s performance in the first two meets of the season. 

“In my opinion, across the board, we performed very well as a team,” Robinson said. “At the Penn State Invitational, we had a number of ladies establish personal records. The team, for the most part, performed to our expectations heading into the meet.”

While entering the Big Ten is a step forward, the process is long and difficult. This is especially true with a young team.

Being realistic is important — and Robinson recognizes that. Winning a Big Ten Championship is not necessarily among the head coach’s top goals for his team this season, with good reason.

“With such a young and inexperienced team [13 freshmen and 1 sophomore transfer of 33 atheletes,] I expect to have patience,” Robinson said. “We’re just focusing on them training hard and improving each competitive opportunity we receive.”

For updates on the Rutgers women’s track team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Brian Fonseca

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