Rutgers travel again for IC4A Championships
Even though the Rutgers men’s track and field team finished competing at the Big Ten Indoor Championships last weekend, the season is not over yet. The Scarlet Knights are set to compete at the IC4A Championships as a last chance meet to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships the following weekend.
Formally known as the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America, the IC4A conference is a branch controlled under the ECAC conference and includes more than a hundred teams around the East Coast.
Per the NCAA qualification rules, the top 16 athletes in the nation for each track and field event will be selected to compete at the NCAAs. The last chance to place within that top 16 for Rutgers will be at the IC4A Championships this weekend.
Currently, the Knights’ highest-ranked athlete is junior Izaiah Brown in the 400-meter. Brown will need to run the event in less than 46 seconds, two-tenths faster than his 46.23 at last week’s Big Ten tournament to punch a ticket to the NCAAs.
Rutgers also has freshman Taj Burgess and sophomore Tobi Tella for the 400-meter and triple jump, respectively.
At the conference championships last weekend, the Knights were highlighted by Brown’s third straight win in the 400-meter after much setback toward the end of the outdoor season due to an injury.
Making his first appearance at the Big Ten, Burgess put on a phenomenal performance in the 400-meter by dropping below the 47-second barrier to finish in fifth with a time of 46.96. With his growth throughout the season, Burgess is set on his future goals in the next year.
“Now that I am a 46 quarter miler in the 400, my goal is to run at least 46 mid or 46 low (in the) outdoor season, probably even better,” Burgess said. “And then for following on, I would proceed to at least running 46 low, 45 high (in the) indoor season next year.”
Off the track, sophomores Perry Christie and Tella each contributed a top-eight finish in their particular events. In the high jump, Christie jumped 2.08 meters (6’ 9.75”) to finish in seventh, while Tella recorded a 14.99-meter (49’ 2.25”) leap in the triple jump to take a step higher in the rankings from last year with an eighth-place finish.
This season, the Big Ten Conference office recognized senior Alexander Livernois as the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award, which is given to one student athlete from each Big Ten team for outstanding ethical behavior. The athlete must also show good citizenship and academic standing outside of their sport.
Livernois contributed to Rutgers’ fourth straight team title at the Metropolitan Championships on Feb. 1 with a third-place finish in the 5,000-meter (15:06.80). At the David Hemery Valentine's Invitational the following weekend, Livernois ran the mile in an indoor best of 4:15.92.
With fresh eyes on the team, Burgess can clearly see the impact his teammates and coaches have played on the betterment of the team.
“The sportsmanship that we have, as a whole, like I've never really had a whole team that lead and back each other up,” Burgess said. “The coaching is great to help me become better as a person, so if someone else needs something, at least I have the skills and abilities to help them grow. So I've learned from them and they've also learned from me.”
The Knights compete March 2-4 in Boston, Massachusetts and will to try and punch a ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships March 9-10 in College Station, Texas.
For updates on the Rutgers men’s track and field team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.