Rutgers prepares for outdoor season

With the indoor season at a close, the Rutgers men’s track and field team will be preparing for its outdoor season. Beginning on March 22, the Scarlet Knights will start the second half of their season in Florida where the freshmen will be competing in their first outdoor track meet of their collegiate careers.

Rather than re-emphasize the abilities of the upperclassmen on the team, the next leaders all come from the first and second-year athletes that are making their way through their early years of college. 

Once the juniors and seniors graduate, it will be up to these young athletes to pave the way for the future of Rutgers.

A majority of the most successful Knights in the upper classes gained traction in their early years, so identifying freshmen and sophomores early will make for an interesting comparison to their junior and senior years. 

Already, freshman jumper A’Nan Bridgett has had a decorated first indoor season at Rutgers. Bridgett was able to nab the long jump title at the TCNJ Lions Indoor Invite in his second collegiate meet. Later in the season, he broke his personal record and reached 7.47 meters.

The indoor school record is 8.22 meters, which was achieved by alumnus Corey Crawford back in 2014 as a fifth-year senior. This gives Bridgett plenty of time to be able to catch up and potentially break that record for the Knights. 

Rutgers' sophomore hurdlers have some of the most well-rounded talent of the team. They are Edwyn Pierre and Boaz Madeus. 

Pierre competes in almost every event: The 60-meter hurdles and 200, 300, 400 and 500-meter dashes. He also competed in the 110 and 400-meter hurdle events.

In the 60-meter hurdles, Pierre tends to stand out. In his freshman indoor season, second and third place were common wins for him. Now in in his sophomore indoor season, he replaced second and third with first at the Penn 8-Team Select and the Metropolitan Championships. 

While the indoor record for the 60-meter hurdles is 7.86 seconds, Pierre’s personal record is 8.19 seconds. In such a short race, that gap is pretty wide.

Madeus finds most of his success in the 400-meter hurdles. His collegiate career is composed of several notable honors. He was able to become a Second Team All-American 400-meter hurdle and 4x400 relay qualifier in the 2018 outdoor season. 

He also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the same events. 

One of the most surprising stats for Madeus is the fact that his personal record 400 meter time is 48.31, while his personal record 400-meter hurdles time is 50.79.

Another prosperous jumper for the Knights would be sophomore Malachi Davis, who follows close behind junior Tobi Tella, the triple jump school record holder. Davis holds a personal best of 15.65 meters, which is only a few inches behind Tella. 

Davis consistently posts first, second or third-place finishes, while also increasing his personal best frequently. It would not be shocking if Davis was able to top the school record either this year or next.

Finally, sophomore Taj Burgess has one of the most impressive resumes for a sophomore. He is a Second Team All-American while qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships and is also a school record holder for the 4x400 relay. 

Whether it’s the 400 meter or 4x400 relay, Burgess seems to have his name plastered on the wall of achievements. Being at Rutgers at the same time as senior Izaiah Brown can only be helpful to Burgess’s career. 

Brown holds the school record for the 400 meters, and alongside Burgess, the 4x400 relay.

Burgess, with a personal record in the 400 meters of 45.60, is less than half a second away from Brown’s school record of 45.32. Brown achieved this feat back in 2017, and Burgess still has more than half of his time with the Knights to conquer this record.

With such impressive stats coming from only a few of the freshman and sophomore classes, there are only good things to come for Rutgers' future. 

These five athletes have proved early on that they are competing to win, but that does not dismiss the freshmen that have yet to put their stamp on their time on the Banks.

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

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