April 22, 2019 | 54° F

Rutgers rides momentum into Florida State Seminole Invitational

Photo by Edwin Gano |

Senior Rajee Dunbar has compiled five event wins for Rutgers, coming in the 100 and 200-meter dashes as well as team relays.

After overcoming rainy and cold conditions en route to its second-place finish at the Metropolitan Championship last weekend, the Rutgers men’s track and field team gets to look forward to better weather this weekend as they head to Tallahassee, Florida, to participate in the Florida State Seminole Invitational.

“The weather plays a big part in track and field in the Northeast,” said head coach Mike Mulqueen. “I would like to think that we will drop some good marks in all our events in warmer, nicer weather.”

The meet marks the Scarlet Knights' fourth of the outdoor season, and given the way their first three went, it should be expected the solid all-around performances should continue.

Freshman sprinter Izaiah Brown has been a force for Rutgers after missing the opening meet in Tampa due to injury. In the last two meets, he has won two individual events and two relays. His winning time of 46.46 seconds in the 400-meter dash at the Colonial Relays is the 17th-best time in the nation so far.

Sophomore javelin thrower Christopher Mirabelli has participated in 2 of the 3 meets so far this season, and has won his event both times. His throw of 69.62 meters, which he recorded at the Bulls Invitational, is the 26th-best distance in the country this season.

Senior Joseph Velez has been having a phenomenal season so far. He finished in the hammer throw event in all three meets so far, winning twice. The one time he came in second — he set the school distance record with a throw of 64.99 meters — which is 29th-best in the nation so far.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and stay focused,” Velez said.

Senior sprinter Rajee Dunbar has contributed five event wins, both individual and team, as part of the Knights’ great start this season. He  usually dominates the short-distance sprints like the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and also competes on the relay teams that regularly win their events. 

When Dunbar finished second in the 200-meter dash at the Bulls Invitational, his time of 21.11, which was the top collegiate time in the field, was good for 12th-fastest at the time.

“I’m excited to go to another state, with better conditions," Dunbar said. "The last two meets we ran in the rain … as a unit, we want to post a good 4x100 time. Individually, I want to get a good 100 and 200-meter times.”

Other top-30 finishers for Rutgers athletes so far include Jermaine Griffith, whose time of 46.52 seconds at the Bulls Invitational is 20th-fastest in the nation. 

The 4x200 relay team also has a top thirty time, as their time of 1:24.40 at the Colonial Invitational is the 15th-fastest in the nation. That relay team consisted of Brown, Dunbar, Griffith and graduate senior Corey Crawford, who had a great indoor season as a long jumper, but hasn’t really competed much in the outdoor season.

The indoor All-American will compete in the long jump during this meet, and Calvin Knox will take his place on the relay team.

With all of these great performances so far, it’s hard to imagine a meet where the Knights don't come away with a positive result. But according to Mulqueen, even if they don’t perform that well at a meet, there are still positives than can be taken away from every performance.

And following a strong start to the outdoor season, Rutgers wants to keep that momentum going through the Florida State Seminole Invitational. 

“We’re all in a good place right now,” Velez said. “We’re just excited to keep the ball rolling.”

For updates on the Rutgers men's track and field team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Jordan Farbowitz

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