The well decorated Rutgers’ men’s and women’s track and field teams finished their third trip to Boston and captured eight finishes in the top eight.
Competition kicked off on Saturday, and the men's team immediately claimed two top six finishes in the long jump. Junior Qayyim Ali took the crown with a 7.33 meter jump, far ahead of the second place distance of 7.05 meters. Senior Patrick Warren found himself in sixth place after a jump of 6.87 meters.
The next gold medal finish for the Scarlet Knights came from the distance medley team, which includes senior Cole Pschunder, junior Patrick Walsh and sophomores Boaz Madeus and Chris Smith. After finishing in third with a time of just under 10 minutes in the preliminaries, they clocked in at 9:54.97 minutes in the finals, 2:30 seconds ahead of second place UConn.
In similar fashion, the 4x800 meter relay ended with Rutgers and the Huskies on the podium, this time with the Knights in second. Seniors Sean Martinek and Jared Skalski and juniors Eric Barnes and Billy Hill finished in second in the preliminaries, posting a time of 7:34.37 minutes. In the finals, Hill crossed the finish line with the clock reading 7:31.12 minutes, less than half a second behind Omar Gebril from UConn.
Sophomore Nadale Buntin finished first in the preliminaries of the 400 meters with a time of 47.35 seconds, giving sophomores a top two sweep. In the finals, Buntin came in eighth, finishing in 48.24 seconds. Myles Banfield from Albany ended in 47.05 seconds for the victory.
Another podium finish came from the women’s competition. In the preliminaries of the 500 meters, sophomore Reanda Richards finished in first with a blazing time of 1:12.46 minutes. In the finals, Richards ended in second place. She was 1 of only 2 underclassmen to race in the finals, with the other coming in third. Richards' time of 1:11.73 minutes was merely 0.05 seconds behind the first place finisher, Emilie Cowan of UMass Amherst.
Richards wasn’t the only runner from Rutgers on the women’s side to come in second over the weekend. The distance medley relay team of juniors Kiera Nealon and Kayla Jackson and sophomores Kayla Rosario and Mackenzie Prezume finished in 11:48.11 minutes, four seconds behind the winning team from New Hampshire.
In throwing events, sophomore Jasmine Van Note took the bronze in the shot put. She launched the four kilogram ball 14.58 meters.
Competing in her first NCAA Championships, true freshman Sydney Hawkins ran the 60 meter preliminaries in 7.74 seconds, good for 12th. In the semifinals, Hawkins ran 7.73 seconds, again finding herself in 12th place. Also competing in the 200 meter dash preliminaries, Hawkins finished in 24.88 seconds, landing her in 17th.
At the end of two days of competition, the men’s team sat in ninth place with 32 points and the women’s team in 16th with 22 points.
This weekend will begin the most prestigious meet on the schedule, the Indoor NCAA Championships. Taking place on March 13th and 14th in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the meet will feature junior Taj Burgess in the 400 meters and senior Perry Christie in the high jump for the men's competition. In the women’s competition, junior Courteney Campbell will also look to conquer in the high jump.
The NCAA Championships will be the last meet of the indoor season. Before classes resume after spring break, the Knights will travel to Miami for their first meet of the outdoor season, the Hurricane Invite.
Rutgers will then head to the Raleigh Relays at North Carolina State. After that, the Knights will compete at the Florida Relays hosted by Florida.
For updates on the Rutgers men’s and women’s track and field teams, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.