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Rutgers finishes up another weekend down South

The Rutgers women’s track and field team hit the road yet again this weekend, as it traveled down to Nashville for the 51st running of the Tennessee Relays.

This is the fourth time during the current outdoor season that the Scarlet Knights have had to travel down South for a meet, coming after the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Georgia, the Bulls Invitational in Florida and the Florida Relays. 

It has been an up-and-down season for Rutgers for most of the spring, with the Knights having inconsistent performances from week to week, much to the frustration of their head coach James Robinson, who has been vocal about wanting his team to be more consistent as a whole and putting its best effort forward collectively. 

Last week, Rutgers had a bounce back week at the Sam Howell invitational in Princeton, after a somewhat disappointing appearance at the Florida Relays the week before. The Knights were able to pick up two event wins, in addition to 12 top-10 finishes. 

Robinson was looking forward to this week’s competition, thinking of it as an opportunity for the team to put together its best collective showing of the season due to the squad getting multiple players back from injury and having several weeks of strong practices in a row.

Unfortunately, Rutgers did not put forth its best performance of the season, at least in terms of event finishes, coming away with no event titles and only a handful of top-10 performances. But that doesn’t mean that there were no notable performances during the competition.

Graduate student Bryanna Grant had the most noteworthy display of the weekend, when she leapt a distance of 12.50 meters in the triple jump, which was good enough for the 11th best finish in the event. 

Grant’s performance was good enough to break her previous outdoor record in the triple jump — the third time that she has accomplished the feat this season. Her previous best outdoors jump was 12.49 meters, which she set at the Bulls Invitational.

Meanwhile, in the 100-meter dash, junior Oniesha Clarke raced her way to the 24th spot with a time of 11.72, setting a new personal record in the process. In the same event, classmate Ariel Strunkey also recorded a new personal record, crossing the finish line with a mark of 12.01, finishing in 40th place.

The relay squad placed in the top 10 of the 4x200 meter relay, as the team of Strunkey, Clarke, senior Bria Saunders and junior Phyllis Gordon combined for a time of 1:41.07, claiming the ninth slot on the leaderboard in the process.

The most impressive performance for the Knights this past weekend in terms of placement in an event came in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Redshirt freshman Lou Mialhe finished in fifth place with a time of 11:23.92, while her freshman teammate Kaitlyn Bragen took sixth place with a time of 12:38.35.

The last top-10 performance for Rutgers this weekend came from sophomore Selena Thorne as she tied for seventh place in the high jump after clearing the bar at a height of 1.60 meters.

The Knights will be splitting up next week, as the squad prepares to compete at the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville and the Larry Ellis Invitational hosted by Princeton, both of which will be held on Friday and Saturday.

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

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