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Rutgers stays in state for Sam Howell Invite

The Rutgers women’s track and field team will be travelling down the New Jersey Turnpike as it gets set to compete for the Sam Howell Invitational in Princeton, New Jersey hosted by Princeton. 

The Invitational will find the Scarlet Knights in their home state for the first time this outdoor season after opening the year in Georgia, and then spending the next two weeks in Florida. 

The meet will be about as close to a home meet as Rutgers will get this entire season, as the Knights have no competitions being held at Rutgers this year and only two being held in New Jersey as a whole—this being one of them.

The Knights are hoping to continue the momentum they built up in the month of March into this competition and beyond. 

Rutgers started off the outdoor season strong with impressive performances at the Yellow Jacket Invitational and the Bulls Invitational, coming away with a plethora of top 10 finishes and a handful of event titles. The jump squad had a particularly strong start to the season, as they raked in the majority of the honors the team has received this year.

Last week, the Knights faced their toughest challenge of the season, so far, at the Florida Relays hosted by the University of Florida. While Rutgers was unable to bring in any event titles, it did land in the top 10 multiple times and showed great resilience in what was a difficult meet. 

Rutgers not only had to compete against a large contingent of collegiate programs, including seven teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, but also had to battle the elements, as poor weather including heavy winds and rain made it difficult for the team at the 74th running of the Relays. But the Knights battled through it anyway, and provided some impressive performances nonetheless.

Rutgers had two top 10 performances in the individual events in Florida. 

Senior Bria Saunders finished the 200 meter in 10th place after crossing the finish line in 25.18 seconds, while junior Oniesha Clarke produced a 5.78 meter mark in the long jump over the weekend, good enough for 10th place, as well.

The Knights also picked up a solid performance from their distance medley group at the Relays. Freshmen Kaitlyn Bragen and Dakota Gerges, sophomore and junior Jenna Sobieski combined to finish the event with a time of 11:59.62, which provided Rutgers with an eighth place finish—its highest finish of the weekend.

Unfortunately for Rutgers, inclement weather may again prove to be a problem for the team this week as snow is expected on Saturday. Luckily, Rutgers has shown that it is certainly capable of putting its best performance forward, regardless of poor weather conditions.

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

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