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Rutgers ends indoor season at ECAC Championships

The Rutgers women’s track and field team saw its indoor season come to a close this weekend, as it traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to compete at the ECAC Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Forty-four teams from all across the Northeastern part of the country competed at the championship in all varieties of track and field events. 

Liberty University came in with a score of 84.5 on its way to the team championship title. Albany University, Cornell, Monmouth and Columbia rounded out the rest of the top five finishes with scores of 67.5, 48, 43 and 33.25, respectively.

The Scarlet Knights had an overall solid performance in the championship, finishing 14th out of a pool of 44 teams, while putting up a total score of 21. It was certainly an improvement on the performance Rutgers had last week in the Big Ten Championships, when the Knights finished in last place after only scoring 5 points. 

“Overall it was fine,” said head coach James Robinson. “But we also left some points on the table due to injuries. But overall we performed very well, and I was pleased with the performance we put up this week.”

Last week, Rutgers' lone 5 points came from only one team member, freshman Oniesha Clarke, who finished fourth in the 60-meter. This week, the contributions from the team were not so isolated.

Clarke had a strong performance this week as well, which has been a theme for the Connecticut native for the entire indoor season. She finished fourth in the long jump after she leapt a distance of 5.70 meters. 

She also competed in the preliminaries and semifinals for the 60-meter, finishing second in the semifinals with a time of 7.48 seconds. Unfortunately, Clarke was scratched from the event finals.

Graduate student Bryanna Grant had an impressive end to her indoor season as she competed in the triple jump event finals. She finished as the runner-up for the event after reaching a season-best distance of 12.59 meters on her sixth and final jump of the afternoon. 

This performance becomes even more impressive considering Grant had been coming off an injury last week. 

“Bryanna really showed up big this week,” Robinson said. “For her to do anything major at all is incredible considering she was injured last week and she was able to finish as the runner-up in the triple jumps. It was really impressive.”

Junior Ariel Strunkey also made a contribution to the scorecard for the Knights. In the 200-meter, Strunkey raced her way into the fifth slot, breaking her personal record in the event, crossing the finish line with a time of 24.41 seconds. 

In the 5,000-meter, Rutgers saw two new personal records set by team members. 

Freshman Olympia Martin finished the race with a time of 16:49.19, with sophomore Nadia Saponara not far behind her with a mark of 17:20.22. Senior Sarah Robbie rounds out the list of notable performances for the Knights, posting a time of 2:11.46 on her way to a season-best time in the 800-meter.

Unfortunately, no members of the team qualified for the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas next week, so this will be the last indoor meet for Rutgers this season.

The Knights return to action opening the outdoor season on March 16-17 at the Yellow Jacket Invitational hosted by Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia.

“It was a good way to end the season,” said Robinson. “Just to see all of our team compete hard and to see us put up a lot of points after having a disappointing week last week. Overall, I feel it’s been a successful weekend, and I’m very happy for the team.”

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

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