Rutgers wins 5 events, buoyed by sophomore Brown
For its third consecutive week, the Rutgers men’s track and field team walked away from a meet with a win.
The Scarlet Knights won five events at the Penn 8-Team Select at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Complex in Staten Island, New York on Saturday. Rutgers has won 17 events in its first three indoor meets, winning six meets at both the Rutgers Invitational and Beantown Challenge in the past two weeks.
Four of the five wins came in running events. The Knights focused on speed training leading up to the meets, and it clearly paid off as they outran their opponents yet again.
Izaiah Brown was the standout athlete for the University. The sophomore won the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.86 seconds and the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.22 seconds. Both were qualifying times for the Intercollegiate Amateur Athletes Association of America Championship (IC4A), which is later this season.
Brown was also part of the relay team that won the 4x400 relay for the third meet in a row. He joined senior Jermaine Griffith, freshman Nathaniel Gravesande and senior Jordan Jimerson to produce a season-best time of 3:14.10.
Rutgers also occupied two of the top three slots in the 400-meter dash. Griffith won the event with an IC4A mark of 48.73, and Gravesande was right on his heels with a third-place finish of 49.25.
The Knights strong performance extended to their field events as well. Freshman Tobi Tella won the triple jump with a distance of 14.98 meters, an IC4A mark. He also finished fourth place in the high jump, joining sophomore Jairus Paul, who finished third.
“I went into it with a lot less on my mind,” Tella said. "I’ve been worrying a lot about certain numbers and changing aspects of my technique to get ready for (the) championship season. Last year I got better with time instead of putting different cues in my mind to try to force technique on myself that wasn’t natural, so I just try to do what I know. I felt more relaxed.”
But he believes that he could have done better. After increasing his distance in each of the last two meets, he took a step back despite still finishing in first, Tella said.
“The mark I put up in the triple jump wasn’t bad, but it didn’t fit the trend of improvement that I projected for myself last week,” Tella said. “I had some big jumps, but I was following bigger jumps (last week), and it wasn’t what I was looking for.”
Despite this, head coach Mike Mulqueen has faith that it can only get better from here.
“Hopefully he stays healthy and keeps improving,” Mulqueen said. “He is off to a good start.”
And there were still positives that Tella was able to take away from his jumps.
“I think I handled the wear and tear of (both the long and triple jump) well. My coach was worried that my legs wouldn’t hold up for both long and triple because they’re six jumps each and that can get pretty taxing. But he said that he was pleased with how consistent my marks were in terms of how many good jumps I had in both events,” Tella said.
The Knights return to Ocean Breeze complex for the Villanova Open this Saturday, hoping to continue a season that has been very successful up to this point.
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