Rutgers women set for Big Ten Championships
The Rutgers women’s track and field team returns to action this weekend to participate in one of its final meets of the 2017 indoor season at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The championships will be held this Friday and Saturday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
At last year’s meet, Michigan won its ninth Big Ten Championship with an impressive team score of 109 points. Purdue, at 102 points, and Penn State at 96.5 points rounded out the second and third-place spots, respectively. Rutgers placed 10th with 29 team points.
The team took home three medals in 2016, including the 200-meter indoor title, all earned by former Scarlet Knight Gabrielle Farquharson. With the loss of Farquharson this season, the team has stepped up early on despite its youth.
Senior Bryanna Grant, who currently ranks ninth among Big Ten athletes in the triple jump, has led Rutgers with three first-place titles on the 2017 indoor season.
Grant will be facing serious competition from field athletes like Nebraska’s Tierra Williams, who took the gold medal in both the long jump and triple jump events in 2016.
However, the senior was confident that the Knights’ last outing at the Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational helped set the team up for success this weekend in Ohio.
“Our team did pretty well overall at the Valentine Invitational. We had a lot of personal records set which gives the team a lot of confidence heading into the Big Ten Indoor Championships,” Grant said. “Overall, I think we are more than ready for Big Ten.”
Grant made note that the Knights are adequately preparing for the meet but are also not trying to psyche themselves out heading into the biggest challenge of their 2017 indoor campaign.
“We’re keeping a positive mindset in getting ready," Grant said. "We’re not trying to overthink it — not stress too much about it. We can look at it as just a bigger meet and go out there and perform to the best of our ability.”
Graduate athlete Alayna Famble, who will be racing in the 400-meter event and 4x400-meter relay this weekend, also had high expectations coming off Rutgers’ latest effort in Boston.
“Knowing that was the last meet before Big Ten, it was a solid performance from everybody across the board,” Famble said. “We’re going to try and improve before heading to Ohio — but I think we’re going to perform very well at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.”
Famble, whose Rutgers career started before the school’s entrance into the Big Ten Conference, knows that the team is not heading into uncharted territory this weekend despite the stiff increase in competition.
“It’s our third Big Ten Championship. We came in our first year, obviously very new rookies – now we’re more seasoned and we know what to expect from the competition," Famble said. "The kind of mindset we have – looking to make our mark and end the indoor season with a bang – will also help us get ready for the outdoor season.”
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