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Jason Campbell, John Mooers finish in top 5 at Virginia Challenge

 – Photo by The Daily Targum

When the Rutgers track and field teams traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia for the Virginia Challenge, there were only a few team members of the men’s and women’s teams that competed. There was a first-place win, which senior John Mooers earned in the discus event.

Mooers posted a personal record at this meet, with a throw of 54.39 meters. He was also able to nab a first place-finish against some of the toughest competition across the country. His following competitors came from Navy, Liberty and Notre Dame, as well as another Scarlet Knight.

Second-place finisher Sean Brennan of Navy threw disc 53.96 meters, which was also a personal record for himself. Liberty's Jose Ballivian threw a 51.04-meter disc, in third place.

All three athletes surpassed, or nearly surpassed their personal records, which shows how tough the competition was at this meet.

Mooers has been at Rutgers all four years of his college career, and has made a huge impact on the team. In his freshman year, he posted eighth, fifth and sixth-place finishes at different meets.

Then in his second year, he earned two fourth-place and two fifth-place finishes as well as a personal record. Within just two years, Mooers was able to go from eighth place to fourth at the Metropolitan Championships. 

He had been alternating between hammer, weight and discus-throwing in his first two years, but eventually he found something he started to excel in – discus.

Starting his junior year, Mooers had been racking up near first-place finishes with throws of 53.65 meters at the Sam Howell Invitational and 51.91 meters at the Metropolitan Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

It was clear that he was improving, and quickly. Starting his senior year, he has been put up against tough competition, like one of his own teammates: sophomore Jason Campbell.

While Mooers took second place at the first meet of the this season at the USF Bulls Invitational with a 51.22 meter finish, Campbell had still not made an appearance. Soon after, at the first Sam Howell Invitational of this season, Campbell threw a 52.34 meter disc against Mooers’s 54.35 meters.

Mooers has been on a winning streak lately with three first-place wins at the past three meets. Campbell has earned second place at both the Sam Howell Invitational and the Metropolitan Championships, right behind Mooers. But, Campbell earned a fifth-place finish at the Virginia Challenge with a throw of 50.17 meters.

Both Mooers and Campbell are neck and neck, and are progressing even within this year. Having a teammate to contend with at every meet sure encourages tougher competition between the two. 

There is no doubt that both Mooers and Campbell are trying to one-up the other, but there is definitely encouragement happening as well. Mooers scored two personal records, one broken at the Metropolitan Championships, and one at the most recent Virginia Challenge. 

Campbell also scored a personal record at the Sam Howell Invitational, as well as the Metropolitan Championships right off the bat. Campbell still has a few more years left before becoming a senior.

With only one meet left before the Big Ten Championships in Iowa City, Iowa, Mooers has a good chance to earn first place, especially after the success he has been having in the past three meets. Campbell is also in a position to score highly, or maybe even break Mooers's first-place streak.

The Penn Relays, this Friday and Saturday, will be Mooers’s last opportunity to compete in a school-hosted meet. He still has the Big Ten Championships, NCAA Preliminaries and potentially the NCAA Championships to go.

The men’s and women’s teams will both travel to Philadelphia for the Penn Relays, where some of the best competition in the Northeast will be prior to the Big Ten and NCAA Championships to prepare.

For updates on the Rutgers track and field teams, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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