Rutgers to compete in Big Ten Championships over weekend
The Rutgers women’s track and field team will experience its greatest test of the season this weekend at the 2017 Big Ten Outdoor Championships hosted by Penn State at the Nittany Lion Outdoor Track in State College, Pennsylvania.
After a trying, yet progressive outdoor regular season, the Scarlet Knights will attempt to stack up against their peers in the Big Ten, to include top competitors such as last year’s Big Ten Outdoor Champion Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and host Penn State, who took the team title at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in late February.
The championships will start with limited track events on Friday, May 12 and continue with full track and field events until the meet’s end on Sunday, May 14.
At last season’s Big Ten Outdoor Championships, Rutgers placed 12th overall with 29 team points, just ahead of Illinois, who placed dead-last with 18.5 team points.
The Knights saw a new school-record set in the 4x100-meter relay, as well as several personal-bests from track and field student-athletes.
Rutgers’ 4x100-meter relay team, consisting of two since-graduated athletes and current student athletes junior Bria Saunders and sophomore Phyllis Gordon, earned a new school record of 44.66, good for fourth place.
This year’s 4x100-meter squad, including junior Imani Beauliere and sophomore Nabiya Garret alongside Saunders and Gordon, earned a season-best of 46.73 at the Tennessee Dogwood Relays in early April. Needless to say, expectations are high for the foursome to place well among Big Ten competition.
Saunders will also compete in the 100 and 200-meter events this weekend, where she currently ranks 13th and eighth in the Big Ten, respectively.
Other notable Knights participating this weekend include several student-athletes who will likely be competing in the last major meet of their collegiate careers.
Graduate athlete Paige Senatore will be competing in the 5000-meter on Sunday afternoon alongside junior Alexandra Juzwiak and freshman Nadia Saponara. Senatore’s accolades this season include repeating as the 5000-meter champion at the Metropolitan Outdoor Championships, as well as taking the 3000-meter title home at the Metropolitan Indoor Championships.
Senior Kaitlyn Bedard will be running the 1500-meter on Friday and the 800-meter on Saturday. This outdoor season, Bedard helped Rutgers earn the 4x800-meter relay title at the Metropolitan Outdoor Championships; she also recently helped in earning the squad a new season-best time of 8:59.09 at the Penn Relays.
Fellow senior Sarah Robbie will be running alongside Bedard, junior Brianna Haspel, and sophomore Jenna Sobieski in the 800-meter. In addition to aiding in the 4x800-meter relay title capture at the Metropolitan Outdoor Championships, Robbie also captured the 800-meter title at the same meet. Furthermore, the senior sprinter was given Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) All-East and Big Ten Sportsmanship honors this past indoor season.
Senior Drew Andrews will also be running the 100-meter with Saunders on Saturday. This season, Andrews earned runner-up in the heptathlon at the Metropolitan Outdoor Championships, where she earned a career-best 4,001 points. During the event, Andrews took second and third in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump, respectively.
Senior Katherine Johnston will be throwing the javelin together with freshman Alison Chomsky. Johnston, who ranks sixth in the Big Ten in the javelin event, earned two straight javelin titles at the Georgia Tech Invitational and Metropolitan Outdoor Championships, as well as two runner-up placements this outdoor season.
Following the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, the Knights will look to send student-athletes to the 2017 NCAA East Regional, which begin on May 25 in Lexington, Kentucky.
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