Rutgers looks to redeem tough Big Ten finish with ECAC success
The Rutgers women’s track and field team will start the month of March at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Indoor Track and Field Championships in Boston, Massachusetts this weekend.
The ECAC Championships will start at 3 p.m. on Friday and end late Saturday afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights will be facing primarily non-conference competition in Boston. The University of Connecticut is the team to beat heading into this weekend — the Huskies will be looking to capture their fourth straight ECAC team championship.
After facing challenging competition last week at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships in Ohio — where Rutgers placed in the top ten in only two events — the team will be looking for progression this weekend at its third and final championship meet of the 2017 indoor season.
Graduate athlete Paige Senatore — who last week placed 27th overall in the 5000-meter and helped the distance medley relay team place 11th overall — knew the competition last weekend would be a huge test for the team.
“I went out with a positive mind. I knew it was going to be a stacked field, so I was just trying to run how I have been running. I didn’t want to do anything too crazy in the beginning of the race. I went through the process of what my coach has told me and all of the work I’ve done so far,” Senatore said. “I didn’t PR in the 5-kilometer which I was looking to do, but that was okay because overall I did well also anchoring in the distance medley relay.”
For the Knights, the team had high hopes for the Big Ten Indoor Championships that ultimately did not pan out. But the graduate athlete highlighted the importance of championship meets which help the team grow and prepare for what is to come this season and beyond.
“Our team needs to work on knowing what is expected of us when we go to these meets," Senatore said. "It’s a real eye-opener — we can see what the competition is like and go from there and prepare for the next championship, which will be the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships. It’s good for us to see what we’re stacking ourselves up against because otherwise, we won’t have change (during) practice.”
For Rutgers, the indoor season has been mostly a transitional period after losing several star athletes last season. The team now knows where it stands among the rest of the Big Ten and the work laid out in front of them.
Overall, Senatore was satisfied with the team’s development this winter.
“From the Rutgers Invitational to now, we have had really good performances and a lot of PRs (personal record)," she said. "We shouldn’t be discouraged because of how we performed at Big Ten. I think we still have a lot to commend ourselves for. Just because of one championship meet where we went up against a lot of teams that are really more advanced than our team – we should still take the time to appreciate what we’ve done so far this season.”
Despite a reduced roster, expectations for this weekend’s ECAC Indoor Championships remain high for the Knights. Senatore understands the importance of a strong team performance this weekend in Boston that will ultimately carry over into the outdoor portion of the 2017 season for Rutgers, which starts in only two weeks.
“We’re still going to try our best and give it all we have. I know not everyone on the team is going – so for those who aren’t going, they are already in the outdoor mindset and getting prepared for that," Senatore said. "For those that are competing, we’re trying to end on a high note — for a lot of us, the Big Ten Indoor Championship wasn’t exactly how we planned it. For this last meet, I’m going in with hopes of getting a PR in the 3k for the season. I’m also really looking forward to outdoor and training and getting ready for that.”
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