Weather takes Rutgers to task at Raleigh Relays
With a new season comes new challenges.
The Rutgers women’s track and field team endured the unique tests posed by the outdoor season this past weekend as it battled heavy rain, strong winds and cold temperatures in North Carolina at the Raleigh Relays.
This inclement weather comes as a sharp contrast to the sun and warmth that the Scarlet Knights encountered at the meet prior in Tampa, Florida, at the Bulls Invitational hosted by South Florida.
The women negotiated the conditions the best they could.
Freshman Stacey Anning took the spotlight among the team’s performances by obliterating her previous personal record in the javelin by over 13 feet, throwing 45.89 meters (150 feet and six inches).
The notable achievement builds steam for Anning, who won the javelin title in her debut performance as a Knight last weekend. She claimed a fourth place finish overall this past weekend.
Battling the elements with 2,500 other student-athletes, Rutgers scratched some athletes from certain events in order to avoid the risk of injury.
But the Knights managed to pick up notable relay performances despite the adverse conditions and large-scale competition.
The Rutgers 4x400-meter relay team of seniors Christina Dibernardo and Jillian Grant, sophomore Nicole Nicholas and freshman Oksana Sokolova picked up a season-best time, clocking in at 3:57.34.
The 4x200-meter quartet of freshman Imani Beauliere, junior Kaprice James, Sokolova and Dibernardo took fifth place with their time of 1:41.18. Additionally, the sprint medley relay team of James, Sokolova, freshman Sabrina Alexander and sophomore Sarah Robbie also captured a fifth place finish, running a time of 4:08.07.
Though the meet had some distinguished performances, head coach James Robinson says Rutgers is not yet performing to its potential.
When asked about his team’s performance this weekend, Robinson was not enthusiastic, saying it was "just okay."
“I think it showed that we have a way to go before we can really deliver quality performances across the board in all events,” Robinson said. “It was a good early season, eye-opening meet because there were so many teams there so they can get a chance to see where they’re at right now.”
Being the second meet of the season, the challenges Rutgers faced in North Carolina were effective in revealing the long road that lies ahead for the young team. Improvements for the Knights starts with an awareness of how they stack up against the formidable competition they will face as members of the Big Ten conference.
This realization was easily discernable this weekend. Ultimately, the essential contribution of Raleigh Relays lies in gaining experience.
“We do have to prepare ourselves for the days that aren’t ideal,” Sokolova said.
Knowing the battle they face, the team maintains a pervasive positive attitude with regards to not only its last meet, but on the overall projection of the outdoor season.
The Knights embrace the view that every meet offers the opportunity to enhance performances and familiarize oneself with competition.
“I think that this was a really good test of all of our strengths and weaknesses,” Dibernardo said. “Even though the weather wasn’t as great as we would’ve liked for it to have been, we still got a chance to go up against some really good competition and we all had to fight for where we got.”
The senior holds an optimistic outlook on of the results of the meet. Through in her eyes, the take away is to be prepared for anything.
"Be prepared for serious competition, be prepared for any sort of weather that is going to be thrown at you for the day and just to give it your all each time you go out there on the track,” Dibernardo said.
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