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Rutgers men's, women' teams combine for 4 event titles in Princeton

 – Photo by The Daily Targum

This past weekend the Rutgers men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Princeton, New Jersey for the Sam Howell Invitational. Both teams were able to capture several event titles in various events. The Scarlet Knights captured several event titles and will prepare for the Big Ten Championships down the road.

On the women’s team, senior Oniesha Clarke took the 100-meter dash title with a time of 11.85 seconds. She won by 0.01 seconds, and was the only Rutgers student athlete to compete and place inside the top 25. Clarke was one of the few women’s team athletes to compete, let alone place this past weekend.

Neither junior Rhonda Rogombe nor freshman Reanda Richards competed in Princeton, which, after their previous meet, comes as a shock. 

Rogombe was able to nab the second-highest jump in school history back at the Florida Relays, and is continuing to focus on details that can help her in the future. She had previously beaten her own record as third-highest jump, and is only a few inches away from claiming the title.

Richards was able to nab the fastest 400-meter hurdles time in the country at the Florida Relays and recorded a school record to top it off.

On the men’s side, senior Sterling Pierce was able to place third in the open 100 meters in 10.80, but then went on to capture the 200-meter title with a time of 21.46. Pierce was one of many athletes that captured a title at this meet, but he was able to claim two medals this past weekend.

Another surprise was in the men’s 400-meter dash, where senior Izaiah Brown and sophomore Taj Burgess did not compete. With all of the absences from athletes, prepping for the Metropolitan Championships on the Banks would not be out of the question.

Sophomore Eric Barnes came to the meet to compete in the 800 meters and ended up leaving with a gold medal. Barnes ran a time of 1:53.44, nearly 2 whole seconds faster than the second and third-place finishers. This was a new personal record for Barnes. 

For the 400-meter hurdles on the men’s team, sophomore Chris Jenkins represented the Knights and placed third with a time of 53.26.

The men’s 4x400-meter relay competed and placed second overall, with the lineup of Pierce, Jenkins, freshman Jameson Woodell and sophmore Semaj Willis with a time of 3:14.98. Rider placed first with a time of 3:14.72, which made for a close finishing race.

When it came to long and triple jump, freshman A’Nan Bridgett was not to be found on the leaderboard, but he competed in other events. In the 100 meters he finished with a time of 11.15, and in the high jump, he jumped 1.93 meters.

Senior Jordan Lorenzo also was a competitor in high jump, placing seventh. He finished with a jump of 1.98 meters. 

Freshman Kamron Kobolak came in fifth place in the men’s shot put, and the other competitors were all fairly close in proximity. Kobolak was the only freshman to compete in the "B" group, where he and five other athletes fell in 15 meters. It came down to a tight race in the end.

In discus, senior John Mooers and sophomore Jason Campbell swept the leaderboard for first and second place, respectively. Mooers claimed the title with a throw of 54.35 meters, while Campbell held second place with a throw of 52.34 meters. 

As Rutgers prepares for its home meet this coming weekend, it will be interesting to see which athletes will be competing in which events. At the Sam Howell Invitational, there were some varying lineups for relays and other single events due to the lack of top athletes that competed.

The Knights' upcoming meet, the Metropolitan Championships, will be held at the Bauer Track and Field Complex this Friday and Saturday. Last year, there were 13 teams that came to compete on Rutgers turf from Columbia to Iona. 

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

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