Rutgers wins 2 events at Valentine Invitational
The Rutgers men’s track and field team went to the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University knowing they needed to perform just as well as it did last week in Staten Island.
And although the Scarlet Knights didn’t win as many events as they did last week, they still came away with favorable results.
Rutgers produced 10 Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) qualifying marks for the track and field championship in March, but it was one Knight who stood out above the rest.
Corey Crawford had a career day, breaking his own facility record in the long jump at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center. Five of his six jumps broke his record of 7.63 meters he set in 2012, with his longest being 7.79 meters.
That jump was the 12th best in the country this season and was an IC4A mark.
“I really didn’t have anything to lose … I was pretty relaxed,” the senior from Oakland, New Jersey, said. “Coach (Mulqueen) and I have been working on a lot of stuff the past week after the Staten Island meet didn’t go so well for me … I wasn’t trying to overthink it … This was my best series all year, which means I’m ready to break through to the next level."
Head coach Mike Mulqueen echoed the thoughts of his long jumper.
“It was a really good series,” said head coach Mike Mulqueen. “I think he’s in the top ten or eleven in the country right now, so that was a really good performance for him.”
Freshman Izaiah Brown was the only other Rutgers athlete to leave Boston with a win. He finished in first place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.63 seconds, an IC4A mark.
Senior Rajee Dunbar finished third in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.87 seconds. He also finished with a time of 21.67 seconds in the 200-meter dash, his best time in the event indoors.
Both of these times were IC4A marks.
“I knew coming in that I had to run the fastest the first time I stepped in the track,” Dunbar said. “Usually you have the trials and the finals so you have a second chance to run a better time. Being that this is a one final type of run, you just got to put your best effort and leave it all on the track on that first run.”
Senior thrower Joseph Velez produced an IC4A mark in the weight throw with a distance of 19.76 meters. He just missed breaking his own school record — 19.81 meters — that he set at the Valentine’s Invitational last year.
Freshman Chais Hill finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.10 seconds. It was an IC4A time and was his personal best in the event.
Sophomore Jordan Jimerson finished the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.16 seconds and the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.61. While neither times earned him gold, they were both IC4A marks nonetheless.
In the 4x400 relay, Brown, Dunbar, Jimerson and senior Calvin Knox finished fourth with an IC4A time of 3:14.02, which was good for a personal best of the season.
And in the distance medley relay, Knox, junior Brennan Jaeger, sophomore Morgan Murray, and freshman Conor Murphy finished with a time of 9:59.64, good for an IC4A mark.
“We did some pretty good things,” head coach Mike Mulqueen said, listing off his athletes that performed well at the event.
The Knights will skip next weekend’s Milrose Games in New York City in order to prepare for the Big Ten Championship in Gevena, Ohio, the week after.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Mulqueen said. "The Big Ten is arguably one of the top two or three conferences in the country. So now we have two weeks to prepare, so we’ll try to get everybody healthier and prepare the best we can and go out to Ohio and do the best we can in the Big Ten.”
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