Over the weekend, the Rutgers men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Geneva, Ohio, to battle against the best in their conference in the Big Ten Championships held at the SPIRE Institute.
The Big Ten Championships is 1 of 3 championship meets to round out the winter running season. The Scarlet Knights had five top six finishers, three from the men’s side and two from the women’s side.
The highest finisher for Rutgers was senior Perry Christie of the men's team. The high jumper took home the bronze with his 2.18 meter jump, only slightly off the winning 2.23 meter mark from Jyles Etienee of Indiana. Christie was the lone medal winner from the Knights.
Christie’s season so far has been one for the record books. He joined the ranks of elite Rutgers athletes with his school record jump of 2.23 meters at the 2020 Meyo Invitational.
Continuing on the men's side, another notable jump from the Knights was from sophomore Nadale Buntin. In the triple jump, Nadale leapt to fifth place with a jump of 15.11 meters. The winner in the triple jump was Sammie Houston of Minnesota with a jump of 16.18 meters.
In the long jump preliminaries, junior Qayyim Ali and senior Patrick Warren came in 14th and 15th place with jumps of 6.82 meters and 6.76 meters, respectively.
Junior Taj Burgess, Christie’s apartment mate and fellow record breaker, ran in the 400 meter. During the preliminary race, he ran the fastest time with a quick 46.17 seconds. In the final competition, Burgess finished short of a medal by .29 seconds. Brian Faust of Purdue was able to finish in front of Burgess to claim bronze. Wayne Lawrence Jr. of Iowa captured the crown with a performance of 45.56 seconds.
Similar to the men’s team, the women’s team had significant finishes in the high jump and triple jump.
In the high jump, junior Courteney Campbell landed in sixth place with her effort of 1.73 meters. The jump was 0.9 meters away from the winning jump by Janae Moffitt of the Boilermakers.
Triple jumper true freshman Claudine Smith finished in sixth place with a jump of 12.17 meters. Ieva Turke of Nebraska was able to muscle out a victory with her showing of 13.08 meters. Smith also ran in the 60-meter hurdles. She finished with a time of 8.72 seconds, good for 17th place. In 18th place sat sophomore Icisys Sadler with a time of 8.80 seconds.
The 4x400 meter relay team, consisting of junior Kayla Jackson and sophomores Ajae Alvarez-Tyler, Mackenzie Prezume and Reanda Richards, crossed the finish line in 3:43 minutes, putting it in ninth place.
True freshman Sydney Hawkins ran in two separate races, the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. Hawkins ran the first in 7.66 seconds and the second in 25.19. Although she didn’t qualify for the finals, ending her first indoor season by running in the Big Ten Championships shows that she has a promising future.
Rutgers makes its final trip to Boston this weekend for the IC4A Championships. Festivities kick off on Saturday and end on Sunday. The meet is the last one before the NCAA Championships, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the following weekend. Those two meets signal the end of the indoor season. The transition between the indoor and outdoor seasons is quick, and competition will move outside between March 20 and 21 in Miami.
Before runners can run in the warmth of the Sunshine State, those who qualify will have an opportunity to show the track and field community just how they do it on the Banks.
For updates on the Rutgers men's and women’s track and field teams, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.