Rutgers heads to Gainesville for Florida Relays
Some of the best track and field teams in the country are about to compete in Gainesville, Florida for the Florida Relays from March 29-31, and the Rutgers men’s track and field team will see where it stands among the mix of deep competition.
The Scarlet Knights have lofty goals this season and are confident returning back to the Sunshine State.
Last time out, Rutgers competed at the Bulls Invitational hosted by the University of South Florida in Tampa. A trio of javelin throwers sealed the top three spots on the podium to lead the Knights.
Going 1-2-3 in javelin were sophomore Greg Harnett (63.72 meters), graduate student Matthew Krezmer (62.65 meters) and sophomore Michael Thomas (60.84 meters), respectively. Compared to last year’s Florida Relays results, the javelin trio’s results from the Bulls Invite would place them within the top 14.
Junior Jairus Paul was the big winner in the triple jump, posting a mark of 15.02 meters (49’ 3.5”) to finish first among collegiate athletes and fourth overall.
With the addition of the 400-meter hurdles in the outdoor season, freshman Boaz Madeus finished his specialty event in the runner-up position with a time of 52.95. Madeus is hopeful the team will turn heads during the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in the middle of May.
“Definitely one of our big goals is to make a bigger impact on the Big Ten conference and kind of make our mark, because we definitely know as a team we (can make) significant damage,” Madeus said. “It's a matter of putting it together.”
In the indoor season, Madeus found success in running the 400 meter, 500 meter and 600 meter.
At the Big Ten Indoor Championships, Madeus finished fifth in the 600 meter while also winning the 500 meter two weeks later at the IC4 Championships. But the competition isn’t over for Madeus — it’s just beginning.
“Individually, I'm really looking forward to transitioning into yards, qualify for nationals in the 400 (meter) hurdles, so hopefully my individual goals can help the team score us points, (sic)" Madeus said. "But (I'm) looking forward to the outdoor season. So I'm getting outside, trying to get some good times under my belt and finish my freshman year strong.”
Also a hurdler is classmate Edwyn Pierre, who finished in the overall top eight for the 110-meter hurdles in a collegiate best time of 14.80. Pierre moves up to fifth when ranked with just collegiate runners.
Other notable performances came from freshman Malachi Davis and sophomore Perry Christie. Davis was on and off the track, competing in the 200 meter (23.09) and triple jump where he finished in fourth with a leap of 14.80 meters (48’ 6.75”). Christie was 1 of 4 athletes that tied for fourth in the high jump, setting a mark of 1.95 meters (6’ 4.75”).
This year’s Florida Relays will be competitive with No. 1 Oregon and No. 4 Florida in attendance, but Madeus isn’t worried about the other competitors and is more excited about the impact Rutgers can make this weekend.
“It'll be nice to go back down to Florida and as a whole team and see what we're capable of doing," Madeus said. "So I'm just looking forward to trying to make a statement with my guys and trying to see where we're at as a team and where we need to go from here.”
For updates on the Rutgers men’s track and field team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.