Rutgers heads to Staten Island for Metropolitan Championships

This Friday, the Rutgers women’s track and field team is returning to Staten Island, N.Y. to compete in the Metropolitan Championships meet. This meet will mark the midway point of the indoor season. 

The main objective for the Scarlet Knights at this point will be to build off of their early success and fine-tune some issues before the Big Ten Championships in late February.

“We’re honing in on a few things to get ready for the stretch,” said head coach James Robinson. “I told them last week that they turned the corner.”

One event where Rutgers has been strong is the 60-meter dash. Senior Oniesha Clarke and freshman Iyanla Kollock have put the team in contention in every meet. 

For Clarke, who arrived on the Banks as a transfer from Misericordia in her junior year, the success has been in part due to getting comfortable with life outside the track.

“Well, she's older and more mature, and she's getting used to the University as a transfer last year,” Robinson said. “She's very confident and very comfortable, and I think that's showing in her competitions.”

The 60-meter dash lineup will be further bolstered this week, as freshman Icisys Sadler will return from a stress fracture and make her collegiate debut in the event this week. This return will make her the fourth Knight to compete in the 60 meter, joining Clarke, Kollock and freshman Gabriela Sanchez.

Another strong event for Rutgers this season has been the 4x400 relay. So far, the unit has been comprised of freshmen Mackenzie Prezume, Erin Bertscha and Brooke Riedy, along with senior Phyllis Gordon.

That lineup is expected to change this weekend with the debut of freshman Reanda Richards, who's also returning from a stress fracture suffered in the fall. Richards is a highly-touted recruit who the coaching staff expects to have an immediate impact, especially in the 4x400 relay 

“I think the training plan they’ve been following has been great,” Robinson said. “And the 4x400 relay will improve when (Richards) joins this weekend.”

Other events where the Knights are expected to do well include the 200 meter. Kollock is coming off an 11th-place finish with a time of 25.12 seconds at the Terrier Classic last weekend. In the 800 meter, senior Jenna Sobieski is heading into this week's meet after attaining a career-high 2:10.28 finish last weekend. 

In the distance medley, Rutgers won first place at the Terrier Classic, with a team comprised of Gordon, Sobieski and sophomores Kiera Nealon and Olympia Martin. They finished with a time of 11:50.88.

In the field events, the long and high jumps have been the Knights' best events. Rutgers is coming off a meet in which it took 2 of the top-5 spots in the long jump, with junior Rhonda Rogombe and sophomore Courteney Campbell taking third and fourth place respectively.  

In the throwing events, freshman Zyra Thomas will look to improve on her 11.27-meter throw last week. 

Following this meet, the Knights will return to Boston for the Valentine's Invitational. 

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

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