Rutgers gets into rhythm at Penn 8-Team Select over weekend

The Rutgers women’s track and field team traveled to Staten Island, N.Y. to compete in the Penn 8-Team Select on Jan. 19. It took athletes from Fordham, Monmouth, St. Joseph’s, Providence, St. John’s, Temple and Wagner in the team's second meet of the indoor season. This offered the Scarlet Knights an opportunity to get into a rhythm in the early part of the season and make progress.

An important theme from this meet was the impressive performances from several freshmen athletes in several key events, particularly the 60-meter dash, long jump, shot put and triple jump. Watching the continued development of the freshmen will be an important storyline as the team continues the indoor season.

Rutgers walked away from the event with a first-place finish, as senior Oniesha Clarke emerged victorious in the 60m with a time of 7.64 seconds. This marked Clarke’s first top finish of the season. 

The 60m is Clarke’s best event, as she came in fourth at the Big Ten Championships last season. This victory earned her a qualification to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship in March.

Freshman Iyanla Kollock also made the 60m final, finishing fourth with a time of 7.79 seconds. Kollock was also the Knights’ top finisher for the 200m, as her time of 25.65 seconds was good for 13th place. This marked another strong finish for Kollock, who was the runner-up in the 60m and fifth in the 200m at TCNJ the previous weekend.

Sophomore Kayla Jackson was the top finisher for Rutgers in the 400m, as her time of 59.25 seconds was good for 12th place.

In the long distance events, sophomore Kaitlyn Bragen finished in eighth in her first 3000m race of the season, recording a time of 10:32.32.

Another track event in which the Knights performed well was the 4x400m relays, with a team of Jackson, freshman Mackenzie Prezume, seniors Jenna Sobieski and Phyllis Gordon. They finished fourth in the final with a 3:52.56 time, missing the last spot on the podium to Monmouth by 0.19 seconds. Despite the close miss, this performance still marked a major improvement over their time at the TCNJ Invitational, which was 3:58.96.

In the field events, freshman Zia Barr matched her personal best in the triple jump with a distance of 10.86m, good for fifth place in the event. Rutgers also had two strong performances in the high jump, with junior Rhonda Rogombe and sophomore Courteney Campbell finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Freshman Gabriela Sanchez finished fifth in the long jump with a distance of 5.42m.

In the shot put, freshman Zyra Thomas came in eighth, throwing for 12.9m, which is a substantial jump from her TCNJ distance of 12.56m. 

The Knights will look to build off of the momentum from their performance this Friday and Saturday, as they travel to Massachusetts to participate in the Terrier Classic at Boston University. 

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

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