Rutgers looks to bounce back from disappointing performance in Georgia, Princeton
After a disappointing showing last week at the Seminole Invitational, the Rutgers men’s track and field team is excited to get back on track this weekend.
The Scarlet Knights will compete in two events over the course of the weekend, the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta and the Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton. While most of the athletes are going to Atlanta, head coach Mike Mulqueen is taking the middle-distance runners to Princeton.
After starting off the outdoor season in Tampa, Florida, Rutgers returned last week.
“It’s always fun and encouraging when we get to go other states,” said junior sprinter Jermaine Griffith. “Everybody’s looking forward to it because it’s a great place to drop good times.”
Sprinter Rajee Dunbar was injured last weekend, and he won't be competing this weekend, but he hopes to be back by next week.
“Rajee is a big part of our team,” Mulqueen said. “Anytime anyone is injured, it affects your team. He is working hard to get back fast.”
But even without Dunbar, the Knights still have athletes who can produce great results.
Sophomore Chris Mirabelli won the javelin throw in all three of the outdoor meets he competed in and was the only Scarlet Knight to win an event last week. He hopes to repeat his performance this week and spoke about how he can improve before the next meet.
“The approach is one of the most important parts of the throw,” he said. “I can definitely make changes to that. A couple more biomechanics that I can fix throughout the throw is really going to help me get one out there, which is what I’m trying to do … each week I hope to see a better performance.”
Griffith will compete in the 400-meter dash, in which he has the 25th-fastest time in the country, and either the 200-meter dash or the 4x400.
“I’ve been training pretty hard. I’m in pretty good shape, so, I’m just taking it day-by-day," Griffith said. "Coach has me doing some pretty tough workouts, so I’m looking (forward) to running some good times this weekend.”
But these are not the only athletes that can make an impact for Rutgers.
Freshman Izaiah Brown will be someone to keep an eye on in Atlanta. Last meet, he finished fourth among college competitors in the 200-meter dash despite the fact that it was the first time he ran the event in his collegiate career.
Senior Joseph Velez owns the 31st-best distance in the hammer throw when he threw for a distance of 64.99 meters, an all-time Knights record, at the Colonial Invitational. He also won the event at the Metropolitan Championship at Rutgers.
As the season progresses, championship season rapidly approaches. Rutgers has hope its success will translate into results on the big stage.
And if the runners, jumpers and throwers perform well during these next two meets, their opportunities for the Big Ten championships will keep growing. Great performances in a meet go a long way towards producing better results in future competitions.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time. I have this meet this weekend, and then (there is) Penn Relays next week," Griffith said. "So we want to handle those two first, and then worry about the Big Ten Championship.”
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