June 24, 2018 | ° F

Knights place fifth overall behind Saunders record

After a victorious first weekend at the Rutgers Invitational, the Rutgers Women’s Track and Field team continued its early-season success with an impressive outing at the ninth annual Beantown Challenge in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Scarlet Knights captured three different titles in the 200, 400 and 500-meter events, and saw the 300-meter university record toppled by junior Bria Saunders.

The Knights placed fifth overall in the Beantown Challenge, scoring 72.50 points. Beantown host Harvard scored 138 team points, earning the top spot at the indoor meet.

Saunders, becoming the 300-meter runner-up (39.25) and setting a new record for Rutgers noted the stiffer competition in Boston.

“With (this) being the second meet where we also got to travel a little bit, it was a new experience for some of our athletes," Saunders said. "There was definitely tougher competition than what we faced at the Rutgers Invitational.”

Saunders also commented on her new milestone as a bit of an anomaly and how she is improving this season

“This meet was interesting because the Beantown Challenge doesn’t usually have the 300-meter event very often, so it was fun for me to run the 300 meter and break the school record," she said. "Though I didn’t get a chance to run my usual indoor 200-meter event hopefully, next week I can come back and lower my marks in that area. Every week I see myself getting stronger, better and faster. Moving forward, I have to maintain a positive outlook and execute my plan, not get caught up if I don’t meet the standard I want to because I know it will come later down the road. It’s still early in the season — I have to ensure that every week I go out on the track is better than the last.”

Saunders also placed fourth in the 60-meter event (7.67), an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) qualifying achievement.

During separate track events, sophomore Phyllis Gordon had distinguishable performances, taking first place in both the 200 (25.04) and 300 (39.25) meter events — both ECAC qualifying times.

Senior Alayna Famble also had a strong performance at the meet, earning first place in the 500-meter event (1:17.93).

The Knights took fifth (4:03.70) and third place (9:27.04) in the 4x400 meter and 4x800 meter relays, respectively.

In field events, Rutgers saw a notable effort by sophomore Rhonda Rogombe, who seized second place (5.29m) in the Long Jump event.

After the meet’s conclusion, Bria Saunders stressed the team’s continual progression as the young season moves forward.

“As far as our performance … it’s all a learning process for the newer athletes, (gaining) more exposure and getting used to how collegiate meets work," Saunders said. "For returning athletes, we’re getting back into the swing of things, remembering how every week we’re facing new competition. So for the second meet, overall it was a good team effort and performance.”

Kevin Stapleton

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