June 23, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers unable to secure title defense at Colonial Relays

Photo by The Daily Targum |

The Rutgers women’s track and field team came up short in its title defense effort at the 52nd annual Colonial Relays at William and Mary’s Zable Stadium in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Scarlet Knights produced 46 team points over the three-day meet, earning them fifth place out of 45 qualifying teams. Bucknell took the 2017 team championship with a total of 65 points, followed by Norfolk State with 64 points and Duquesne with 58 points in second and third place, respectively.

The Colonial Relays were highlighted by several distinguishing efforts from Rutgers, including a first-place result by the 4x200-meter relay squad, five Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) qualifying scores and two runner-up placements.

The 4x200-meter relay team, made up of juniors Bria Saunders, Oksana Sokolova and Imani Beauliere, along with sophomore Phyllis Gordon led the Knights’ seven different relay teams with a first-place time of 1:37.65.

Rutgers' five ECAC qualifiers came from a diverse spread of track and field athletes, including two runner-up efforts.

Graduate athlete Paige Senatore placed fifth in the 3000-meter with an ECAC qualifying time of 9:55.82.

Senatore also joined senior Sarah Robbie, junior Brianna Haspel and sophomore Jenna Sobieski in the Distance Medley Relay. The team took seventh place overall with a time of 11:56.66.

Another notable squad effort came from Gordon, Saunders, Beauliere and sophomore Nabiya Garrett in the 4x100-meter relay with a third-place result and an ECAC qualifying time of 47.07.

Separately, the 4x800-meter relay squad of Sobieski, senior Kaitlyn Bedard, junior Celine Mazzi and freshman Emma Bergman took seventh place with a time of 9:26.29.

The 4x400-meter relay team of Sokolova, Saunders, Robbie and Garrett capped the Knights’ team efforts with a fourth-place effort and an ECAC qualifying time of 3:49.62

Other individual track competitions saw Sokolova place 19th overall in the 100-meter (12.58), Beauliere place 18th overall in the 200-meter (25.93), Gordon place 12th overall in the 400-meter (58.31) and Robbie place 17th overall in the 800-meter (2:11.59).

In the 100-meter hurdles, junior Sabrina Alexander placed 13th with a time of 15.09.

In field competition, senior Katherine Johnston placed as runner-up in the javelin throw for the second straight meet with an ECAC qualifying distance of 42.20 meters.

Sophomores Cameron Daniels and Halia Rosemond cracked the top ten in separate discus efforts. In the university division, Daniels took tenth overall with a distance of 35.92 meters, while Rosemond placed ninth in the championship division with a distance of 39.14 meters.

The final ECAC qualifier of the meet came from sophomore Rhonda Rogombe, who returned to action for Rutgers for the first time since the Metropolitan Indoor Championships in February, where she sustained a hamstring injury.

Rogombe came back with a strong runner-up performance in the high jump with an ECAC qualifying distance of 1.75 meters.

Overall, the Knights saw 10 different top-10 efforts from athletes across the track and field spectrum. Despite failing to retain their Colonial Relays championship, the team made significant strides in a meet that was largely seen as a vital building block in the early outdoor season.

This weekend, Rutgers will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee for participation in the Tennessee Dogwood Relays, a three-day meet spanning April 6 to April 8.

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

Kevin Stapleton

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