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Rutgers puts in best performance of outdoor season

The Rutgers women’s track and field team stayed in New Jersey for the second time this season to compete at the Larry Ellis Invitational hosted by Princeton. The only other meet the Scarlet Knights have competed in that has been in their home state was the Sam Howell Invitational two weeks ago that was also hosted by the Tigers. 

A big point of emphasis for Rutgers this entire season has been consistency. It is something that head coach James Robinson has talked about at length. 

He has said that he knows that his team is extremely talented but has simply not been locked in all at once this season. He wants everyone on the team to put forth their best effort all at once. Injuries have not helped the team in terms of weekly performance, either. 

Robinson expected last week to be the week where the team would have its best performance of the season at the Tennessee Relays. Multiple Knights would be returning from injury and the performances of the preceding weeks gave him hope for the competition. 

Unfortunately, Rutgers walked away from Tennessee with only a handful of top-10 finishes and no event titles. 

But it seems that Robinson was just a week off with his prediction, as the Knights put together their most complete performance of the entire season at Weaver Stadium this weekend.

Rutgers collected four event titles, along with 14 top-10 finishes and a new record in the steeplechase.

Junior Oniesha Clarke, who has been arguably the best Knight on the team this season, led the way for Rutgers yet again this week, as she claimed two event victories along with another runner-up performance. 

The Connecticut native crossed the finish line first in both the 100 meter and the 200 meter, with times of 11.81 and 24.11, respectively. 

Her time of 24.11 in the 200 meter also set a new personal record, surpassing her previous best of 24.19, which she set at the Valentine’s Invitational during the indoor leg of the season. Clarke also placed as the runner-up in the long jump after reaching a distance of 5.90 meters.

Freshman Olympia Martin also contributed to the event titles tally for the Knights, as she had a first-place finish in the 3,000 meter. The Ridgewood, New Jersey native set a pace of 9:54.36 in order to claim the top spot in the event, also surpassing her previous best of 10:03.26, which she set at the Texas Tech Red Raider Invitational earlier this season. 

The last event title win came from graduate student Bryanna Grant, who claimed the top spot in the triple jump. Grant reset her outdoor best for the triple jump for the fourth time this season, leaping a distance of 12.56 meters.

In the steeplechase, redshirt freshman Lou Mialhe broke the school record for the event for the second time this season, as she raced her way to a time of 11:06.17, resetting the previous best of 11:15.52 which she set at the Florida Relays last month.

Redshirt freshman Ain Jones set a new personal record for the 400 meter with a time of 56.70, surpassing her previous mark of 58.00 which she set earlier this season. 

Freshman Kiera Nealon also set a new personal record in the 5,000 meter with a time of 17:29.42. 

Fellow freshman Dakota Gerges was the last of the Rutgers squad to set a personal record this weekend, as she logged her best time ever in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.75 to take sixth in the event.

It was surely an impressive display for the Knights this weekend and almost certainly their most complete performance of the season to date.

The team will return to action next weekend as they plan to compete at the Penn Relays at Franklin Field from April 26-28.

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

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