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Rutgers bounces back with first place at Metropolitan Championships

As if the Rutgers men’s track and field team needed a reminder or extra push of motivation after many weeks of weather obstacles and abrupt meet changes, the team reclaimed the Metropolitan Championship crown on its home soil after a disappointing “so close, yet so far” second place loss to Manhattan College in 2016.

At the Bauer Track and Field Complex, the Scarlet Knights accomplished more than just broken records and nine title wins — they made a comeback from a “disappointing meet” at the Princeton Invitational last week and won back the team pride at their annual outdoor meet.

With their natural touch to their own turf, Rutgers went into this meet with a fresh level of intensity and provided the crowd with many exhilarating performances.

Two Knights, junior javelin thrower Christopher Mirabelli and graduate student jumper Emeka Eze, broke school records as well this past weekend.

Mirabelli ended a javelin record drought of over 20 years, instilled by Christopher Sagnella back in 1996. With a lot of determination, and perhaps a bit of anger due to many mishaps due to the act of nature, he surpassed the previous record of 244’10" by about 6 feet, with a throw of 250’00”.

Eze not only had his personal record in mind during his triple jump campaign, but also the school record set by Adam Bergo of 15.73 meters in 2013. He took down that record with a 15.92 meter jump, with Bergo there to watch it.

Sophomore Jairus Paul and freshman Tobi Tella finished right behind in second and fourth, with all three placements totaling up to 23 points in the triple jump event alone.

Eze also took the long jump win with his result of 7.81 meters, coming in close to breaking yet another school record. His long jump finish sits in second in the school record, but was enough to win it at the Metropolitan meet.

Sophomore sprinter Izaiah Brown also heavily assisted in the successes of Rutgers. He captured all four races he was participating in, starting with the 400-meter dash win at 47.33, 200-meter dash at 21.41 and the 4x400 meter and 4x100 meter relays with his teammates.

Brown ran as the anchor of the 4x400 meter relay, flying through the finish line at 3:17.17 with the help of graduate student Kyle Holder, senior Brendan Jaeger and sophomore Edward Zalek. The 4x100 meter relay was also a successful finish with Brown, Eze, junior Jordan Jimerson and freshman Alanzo Aris, at 41.50.

Even with all that talent thrown onto the table, that was not yet the end of the first place finishes for the Knights.

Junior long distance runner Alex Livernois won the 10,000 meter at 31:58.37, a race not solely on stamina, but also patience. Freshman sprinter and jumper Perry Christie, with many events already on his plate, won the high jump event with a height of 2.02 meters. Holder also took home the 400 meter hurdle win at 53.00, just 0.15 behind his personal record.

Although sophomore long distance runner Dominick Munson was not able to mirror his 1500-meter first place finish at last year’s Metropolitan Championship, his second place finish this year at 3:58.38 shaved off about eight seconds from his previous 4:06.11 as a freshman.

The Metropolitan Championships at Rutgers University was the last home meet for Emeka Eze, Thomas Carr, Brendan Jaeger, Kyle Holder, Sean McEvoy and Nick Price, as they were honored during the meet with a ceremony.

At the end of the meet, the Knights swapped one-two positions with Manhattan from last year, concluding the meet with 209 points, 10 greater than the Jaspers and giving the team plenty of confidence heading into the Georgia Tech Invitational next weekend. 

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

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