Rutgers heads to Princeton for Invitational
The Rutgers men’s track and field team is holding off the warm weather this weekend with competition in Princeton, New Jersey. The Princeton Tigers will host the Sam Howell Invitational, which is 1 of 2 New Jersey invites that the Scarlet Knights plan to attend this season.
Last weekend, Rutgers split its squad with some athletes down in Gainesville, Florida for the Florida Relays from March 29-31, while other athletes stayed in New Jersey for the Rider Invitational on March 31.
Down in the Sunshine State, graduate student Rudy Winkler blew the school’s hammer throw record in the dust by more than 6.5 meters. The newly-minted Knight produced a mark of 71.76 meters (235’ 5”) for fourth place, which erases the former record of 64.99 meters (213’ 3”) set by Joseph Velez in 2016.
The Rutgers 4x400 relay team finished with a bronze medal among some of the top Big Ten and SEC teams in the country. Freshmen Boaz Madeus, Edwyn Pierre, Taj Burgess and junior Zo Aris logged a time of 3:10.82 for the third spot in the event.
The javelin trio of senior Matthew Krezmer and sophomores Michael Thomas and Greg Harnett placed within the top 16 in the javelin throw. Krezmer led the three Knights with a throw of 64.65 meters (212’ 1”) to finish sixth. Thomas and Harnett went one after the other. Thomas threw 59.13 meters (194’) for 13th, while Harnett came close to Thomas with a mark of 58.77 meters (192’ 10”) for 14th.
“We have a group of guys that are really talented and Rutgers for the past two years has (done) a very good job (with) the program and with coach Farrell showing us how to get better at javelin and each of us pushing each other, it's very easy to get better at the event,” Harnett said.
Krezmer and Harnett were both out for the 2017 outdoor season and they’re only looking to progress as the season moves forward.
Additionally, this is Thomas’ first year competing as a Knight and Harnett has only good things to say about the javelin training group.
“Mike Thomas is a sophomore. He's capable of throwing very far this spring and I just think going to practice every day and learning from coach Farrell, just getting to learn the event and technique is most important. Great coaching, great peers. All three of us can do very well this year,” Harnett said.
In the 400 meter, Burgess ran to sixth place in a time of 46.31 that has already met his outdoor goals for this outdoor season.
Burgess had previously reached his goal of 47 earlier this season, and now has new goals set for the remainder of the year.
“Now that I am a 46 quarter miler in the 400 (from the indoor season), my goal is to run at least 46 mid or 46 low outdoor season, probably even better,” Burgess said at the end of the 2018 indoor season.
At the Rider Invitational, freshman Patrick Walsh stole the show in the 3,000 meter with a time of 8:41.82 to win the event. Freshman Eric Barnes and sophomore Patrick Warren added runner-up finishes in the 800 meter and long jump, respectively.
Barnes ran the fastest time out of six other Rutgers runners in the event with a 1:55.52. On the other hand, off the track Warren produced a mark of 7.04 meters (23’ 1.25”) for second place.
Last year at the Sam Howell Invite in Princeton, athletes in the field events shined. Knights alumnus Emeke Eze launched 7.21 meters (23’ 8”) to secure the long jump title, while then-junior Chris Mirabelli threw 71.67 meters (235’ 2”) for the top spot in the javelin throw.
Runner-up finishes came from then-sophomore Jordan Lorenzo in the high jump, setting a mark of 1.97 meters (6’ 5.5”) to tie for second, and then-senior Thomas Carr with a 70.56-meter (231’ 6”) throw in javelin to finish just behind Mirabelli.
Competition at the Sam Howell Invitational runs from April 6-7, where the Knights will prepare for the Metropolitan Championships coming up the following weekend.
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