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Rutgers finds podium in 4 events at Meyo Invitational

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Following a performance at the Metropolitan Indoor Championship, the Rutgers men’s and women’s track and field teams laced up the spikes in South Bend, Indiana.

In the previous meet, the men’s team took home the gold for the sixth consecutive time at the Championships, while the women’s team ended in second.

Beginning on Friday and ending on Saturday, the Scarlet Knights competed at the Notre Dame Loftus Sports Center, site of the Meyo Invitational. At the meet’s end, Rutgers found itself on the podium in four events and among the top five in three more events. 

Although not winning any throwing events, the highest finish from the Knights came from true freshman Kyle Lipscomb, who recorded a shot put throw of 16.13 centimeters. The toss ranked Lipscomb fourth among freshmen. 

One member of Rutgers also had a strong showing over the weekend, breaking a record in the process. 

Junior Perry Christie of the men's team now holds the Knights' record in high jump. The performance of clearing 2.23 meters propelled Christie to victory and into seventh place all-time in the NCAA. 

In a video posted to Twitter by Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Bob Farrell, the excitement surrounding Christie’s feat is noticeable. Just after Christie came down onto the padding on the other side of the yellow beam, Christie’s teammates swarmed him. He broke away for a slight victory jog, only to be embraced by his teammates afterward. 

Tied for fifth place in the event were juniors Qayyim Ali, Semaj Willis and Dino Beniaris of Loyola (Ill), with jumps of 2.01 meters. 

Another school record holder, junior Taj Burgess, impressed, though not running in the 500 meter race, where he owns the second-fastest time in NCAA history. 

In the 400 meter championship, Burgess ran a time of 46.64 seconds. While he won the 400 meter race at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational with an almost identical time, Burgess came in second over the weekend. 

Burgess was also a member of the 4x400 meter relay team. Rutgers finished in third with a time of 3:09.53, approximately 3 seconds behind first place Iowa and 1.5 seconds behind second place Minnesota. 

Also running 400 meters, though not in the championship, were sophomore Jameson Woodell, with an 11th place time of 48.81 seconds and sophomore Boaz Madeus, with a 37th place time of 50.55 seconds. 

The Knights had four competitors in the long jump, including third place finisher sophomore A’Nan Bridgett, who jumped to a distance of 7.48 meters. Ali slid into eighth place with a jump of 7.33 meters. Finishing right behind him was sophomore Nadale Buntin with a jump of 7.08 meters. Finishing last in the event, senior Patrick Warren jumped to 4.76 meters. 

In the women’s competitions, junior Olympia Martin turned on the jets and ran 4:51.95 in the mile. She finished in fifth place, 3.5 seconds behind first place finisher Lainey Studebaker of Ohio State. Senior Nadia Saponara finished 19 seconds behind Martin, good for 34th place. 

The two representatives of Rutgers in the triple jump, true freshman Claudine Smith and sophomore Zia Barr, finished eighth and 13th, respectively. Smith recorded an 11.96 meter jump while Barr registered a 11.64 meter jump. 

In the shot put, sophomore Jasmine Van Note sent the weighted ball 14.48 meters, landing her in 13th place. 

Action resumes next Friday when the Knights travel south to Arkansas for the Tyson Invitational, the final tune-up before the Big Ten that occur two weeks after. 

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

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