Rutgers finish tied for last at Big Tens

With fierce competition, the Big Ten Indoor Championships challenged the Rutgers men’s track and field team this past weekend in Geneva, Ohio. 

Hosted at the SPIRE Institute, the Scarlet Knights tied for last alongside Michigan State, but scored an extra 5 points compared to last year’s results.

Reclaiming his title in the 400 meter for the third straight year was junior Izaiah Brown. He edged out No. 1 seeded Mar’yea Harris from Iowa by 0.03 seconds to cross the line first in a time of 46.23, which will punch Brown a ticket to the NCAA tournament in two weeks’ time.

Although Brown was almost a second off his Big Ten record in this event set at the 2017 Big Ten Champs, this was Brown’s fourth indoor competition after joining midseason.

“Honestly, I’ve had setback after setback every year, injuries coming back,” Brown said. “I just wanted to make it to finals and do the best I could. Just run my best. Run my race. That’s about it."

After the race, a clearly out-of-breath Brown said that he didn’t go into the Big Ten expecting much, but was happy with the results.

In his overall thoughts at the championships, head coach Mike Mulqueen was impressed with the performances the underclassmen brought to this year’s competition.

“Our young group did well,” Mulqueen said. “Taj Burgess, Boaz Madeus, Tobi Tella and Perry Christie, all freshmen and sophomores, placed well. That is good for the future."

Burgess — a freshman — climbed the ladder in the 400 meter with a fifth-place finish after a personal best time of 46.96. He showed a lot of promise at the beginning of the season, claiming multiple wins in the 400 meter in Brown’s absence. 

Burgess cut off more than a second from his time of 48.08 at the first competition of the indoor season.

Burgess’s classmate Madeus also cemented his place in the Big Ten with a showing in the 600-meter final. Madeus dipped under the 1:18 barrier by posting a 1:17.99, the fourth fastest time in the prelims, before running slightly slower at finals to add another fifth-place finish for Rutgers in a time of 1:18.19.

Christie and Tella — both sophomores — cracked the top eight in their specific field events. Christie was able to leap more than 2.08 meters (6’ 9.75”) in the high jump to settle for seventh, while Tella went up from his 10th-place finish last year to the eighth spot this year, posting a mark of 14.99 meters (49’ 2.25”) in the triple jump.

Freshman Ja’Quan Mial placed 13th behind Tella in the event with a personal-best jump of 14.66 meters (48’ 1.25”).

Other PRs came from sophomores Cole Pschunder and Jason Schweizer in the distance events. Pschunder ran the 3,000-meter in a time of 8:25.37, while Schweizer posted a 1:53.08 in the 800 meter.

The 4x400-relay team of freshman Edwyn Pierre, Brown, Burgess and Madeus wound up in ninth place to record a time of 3:12.51.

“We have to keep working hard to keep improving in this league, which is one of the toughest track and field leagues in the country,” Mulqueen said.

The Knights aren’t done just yet, as they are set to compete at the IC4A Championships from March 2-4 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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

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