Rutgers overcomes travel hiccups for strong weekend in New Jerey

Competing on a college level comes with a lot of dedication, sweat and some surprises. The Rutgers men’s track and field team was abruptly faced with one this past weekend, as the the team planned to split up between the Dogwood Relays at Tennessee and the Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton University.

But that did not go as planned.

The Scarlet Knights were held from flying to Tennessee due to the inclement weather during competition days, and were immediately sent back to compete at either the Sam Howell Invitational or Rider Invitational meets on short notice.

Junior javelin thrower Chris Mirabelli has been faced with quite a few obstacles over the past few weeks. From the javelin event cancelations at the Colonial Relays due to inclement weather, to a huge change of plans this past weekend due to thunderstorm advisories in Georgia and Tennessee, mother nature has not been on the team’s side.

But that is just an inevitability that comes with competing in outdoor track and field.

“I was supposed to go to Tennessee this past weekend, we had a layover in Atlanta and had a lot of delays and tornado warnings so we couldn’t fly out. We had to fly back but our coach got us into the Princeton meet last minute,” Mirabelli said.

Unfortunately, the Princeton venue was not a retreat to safety from the terrible weather.

“Even at Princeton, there was rough weather conditions going on, it was really cold with 25 miles-per-hour cross wind. The conditions were really difficult to deal with,” he said. “My javelin series wasn’t the best either, I wasn’t happy with it.”

Mirabelli grabbed the javelin, winning title with a throwing distance of 71.67-meters, with Thomas Carr right behind in second place finishing with 70.56 meters. Even with these results, both Mirabelli and Carr were mentally prepared for something else.

“The competition at Princeton was not higher in the slightest way. I was supposed to go up against two professional throwers at Tennessee, but that didn’t happen,” Mirabelli said.

Freshmen sprinter and jumper Perry Christie had similar thoughts on the team’s performance at the Sam Howell Invitational.

“The team just wasn’t mentally prepared to be at Princeton. We didn’t get to do our best, even with the three athletes who won individual titles,” Christie said.

Christie was among the handful of athletes who were turned away from the Dogwood Relays at Tennessee. With the momentum after winning the title in high jump with 1.99 meters at the Colonial Relays, he was not able to produce improving results this past weekend.

On a brighter note, athletes such as senior jumper Emeka Eze and sophomore distance runner Dominick Munson were able to capture titles, even with the unleveled competition against the Knights. Eze took the long jump title with a 7.21-meter jump, beating out athletes from Manhattan College, Villanova and Dartmouth University.

Munson was one of the few athletes who competed at both the Sam Howell Invitational and the Rider Invitational at Rider University. While staying in the New Jersey premises this weekend, Munson took away a 1500-meter win at Rider, finishing with a time of 4:00.76 and granting Rutgers 10 points.

“I was injured for a lot of the indoor season, and really wanted to get back to running and beating my time,” Munson said. “Friday (Sam Howell Invitational) was a more competitive field for distance runners. It very windy but I felt good about the race. I finished 7th overall and 5th collegiate. Saturday (Rider Invitational), was also cold and windy but I figured during the last lap I was going to take it, and then I was able to win it.”

The Knights were challenged with a few mishaps during the meets due to the unforgiving weather, but were still able to grant Rutgers on the top of a few podiums this weekend.

“Even with everything going on, I’d say we approach every meet with the same intensity level, no matter where we are,” Mirabelli said.

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