Rutgers finishes second at Metropolitan Outdoor Championships
If their competitors couldn’t stop them, then maybe an act of nature could.
But even that wasn’t enough.
The Rutgers men’s track and field team fought off the rain to finish second at the Metropolitan Championships in Piscataway on Friday and Saturday, continuing its strong start to the season.
The Scarlet Knights finished with 186 team points, behind only the 254 from Manhattan. They won nine events and many athletes, including some fresh faces, recorded personal best times.
The rain caused them to make a few adjustments, but they were still able to give the home crowd another great performance in a young season that’s already been full of them.
"Considering the conditions, we had some good performances," said head coach Mike Mulqueen. "We held out a lot of our athletes due to the weather conditions. We did not want to risk injury this early in the season."
Before the rain came down on Saturday, the Knights had already produced great results the day before. Senior Joseph Velez won the hammer throw with a distance of 60.69 meters, more than three meters farther than the second-place finisher.
Despite avoiding the rain, Velez didn’t think he was that much better off.
“It was very cold and just as windy, if not more windy than Friday,” he said. “Although it was definitely better than going out in the rain … considering the conditions, my performance was good. I just struggled to stay warm. If I was warm, I would have felt much better and thrown much farther.”
While many consider playing at home to be an advantage, Velez had an interesting approach to throwing in Piscataway.
"It felt like practice, just with a lot of eyes on you," he said.
Also on Friday, Rutgers dominated the javelin throw, where it produced the top three finishers.
Sophomore Chris Mirabelli won the event with a top distance of 69.12 meters. It was the second straight time he won the event, as he also won it at the Bulls Invitational, the outdoor season opener. He was followed by junior Matthew Krezmer and freshman Greg Harnett.
When Saturday rolled around, the rain came with it, but that didn’t stop the host team from continuing to collect wins.
The Knights took both the 100 and 400-meter dash events, as senior Rajee Dunbar won the former with a time of 11.23, while junior Jermaine Griffith won the latter with a time of 48.75.
Dunbar also discussed how the weather affected his performance
“The rain and the cold affected all of us,” he said. “You probably won’t run your best time (in this weather), but my goal was still was to win it by any wins necessary, even if it means you win with a terrible time.”
The team also produced a winner in the distance running events, as Dominick Munson won the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:06.11 seconds. It was the first win of his career.
Freshman Chais Hill won his second consecutive 110-meter hurdles title with a time of 15.44. Hill has had a phenomenal season up until this point, at both the indoor and outdoor level.
Seniors Kyle Holder and Calvin Knox provided a one-two punch for Rutgers in the 400-meter hurdles, as they finished first and second, respectively.
Freshman Izaiah Brown teamed up with Dunbar, Hill and Griffith to win the 4x100 meter relay.
The Knights return to action next weekend at the Florida State Seminole Invitational in Tallahassee, Florida.
“We want to keep training hard, stay healthy, and to keep improving," Mulqueen said. "We have a lot of season remaining.”
And after the cold and rainy weather this past weekend, it’s safe to say the team will appreciate a change of scenery.
“I’m looking forward to the good weather that’s going to be out there,” Velez said. “I’m really excited about that.”
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