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Rutgers to face 7 ranked teams in Florida

The Rutgers women’s track and field team returns to the Sunshine State for the Florida Relays in what is considered to be one of the biggest events the Scarlet Knights will compete in this season. The meet will be held on the Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium from March 29-31.

The relays will host several Olympians as well as a handful of gold medal winners and World Champion qualifiers, to go along with 100 collegiate programs and approximately 250 high schools.

Nationally ranked teams that will be competing at the Florida Relays include No. 8 Florida, No. 12 Kentucky, No. 13 Purdue, No. 16 Nebraska, No. 19 Florida State, No. 20 Virginia Tech and No. 24 Tennessee. 

The Florida Relays are a historic track and field competition, tracing its history all the way back to 1939, when it was founded by the Gators' then track and field coach Percy Beard. The competition has since grown from a small regional competition on April Fool’s Day that featured only 209 competitors to one of the premier track and field meets in the entire country. 

The relays will be the third meet of the outdoor season for Rutgers, which is off to a strong start to the outdoor leg of the season — especially a very strong performance at the Bulls Invitational hosted by the University of South Florida last week.

In Tampa last week, the Knights collected three event titles along with 12 top-10 placements at the invitational. It was a particularly impressive performance for the jumps squad.

Graduate student Bryanna Grant logged the top finish in the triple jump after leaping a distance of 12.49 meters, breaking the personal record she set the previous week at the Yellow Jacket Invitational, when she leapt 12.41 meters.

In the long jump, senior Oksana Sokolova placed first and set a new personal record mark of 5.57 meters. Freshman Anna Czajkowski finished right behind Sokolova, taking the third-place slot after leaping a distance of 5.22 meters. 

Other notable performances by Rutgers in the jumps last week included a third-place finish by sophomore Rhonda Rogombe in the high jump with a height of 1.72 meters, while freshman Jacqueline Simmons took sixth in the invitational long jump, reaching 5.70 meters in distance.

Overall, it was a strong performance by the Knights last week and one that they hope has some leftover momentum that will carry over into this week. The Florida Relays are a big stage, and this is a great opportunity for Rutgers to show the progress it has made the past few seasons in track and field.

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

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