Senior leads Rutgers by example on track
Strong senior leadership and resilient positivity have bolstered the young Rutgers women’s track and field team through numerous successes throughout the 2015 indoor season.
Senior co-captain Gabrielle Farquharson fits perfectly in that field of senior leadership.
In her final season on the track, she has mainly led by example. Recently setting a new school record in the 200-meter dash on two separate occasions, Farquaharson solidified the top time for the event in the Big Ten.
She also reached a fifth national ranking in the long jump and placed fourth in the Big Ten in the 60-meter dash.
“Gabby’s been fantastic,” said head coach James Robinson. “Sometimes you lead through performance, inspiring the others to raise their level of performance. And then sometimes you lead by word of mouth, by encouragement, by talking ... I said [to Farquharson], 'You’ve done a good job with both.'”
With weekly performances that continuously outdo themselves, pressure on Farquharson to keep up with the expectations of her coaches, her teammates and herself is substantial.
But the seemingly unfazed senior cites positivity and encouragement from those around her as crucial aspects that have helped keep her going in a progressive direction.
“I just have a really good support system,” Farquharson said. “My teammates are always there to motivate me. Of course my coaches and my family — they’re just always there to tell me to keep going and just do the best I can.”
Farquharson’s many accomplishments throughout the season have proven to have a ripple effect on her teammates. The Scarlet Knights have picked up a total of 11 ECAC qualifying marks within the last two meets.
“I try to just show them that it is possible, by my achievements — that you can reach higher goals,” Farquharson said.
Among the team’s many top performances is Bria Saunders’ ECAC qualifying time of 24.67 in the 200-meter dash at the Valentine Invitational in Boston last Saturday. The mark comes just one week after the freshman standout set a new personal-best in the event at the 2015 Metropolitan Indoor Championships where she took second place, closely following her senior captain across the finish line.
“I think kind of we all bounce off of her performance, because she does so well every week and it kind of just motivates us,” Saunders said of Farquharson. “We all kind of get this good energy going and we all want to do better for ourselves and for our team because we see her doing so well.”
With Farquharson leading the team toward greater successes with each passing week, Rutgers looks to maintain momentum as the indoor season comes to a close.
The Knights face their next challenge when they take their inaugural season to the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, for the 2015 Big Ten Indoor Championships Feb. 27-28.
Intense training and a focused mental game should give Rutgers the edge it needs to put forth top performances as they compete against conference rivals.
“Your mentality, I think, goes hand-in-hand in your performance,” Farquharson said. “It’s almost like having a hurt hamstring if you’re not in the right mindset for a meet. Mindset is everything.”
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