The Rutgers men's and women's track team returned home from a three-day stint in Geneva, Ohio at the SPIRE Institute after competing at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Headlined by fifth-year senior jumper Perry Christie who cleared a 7-foot-1.75-inch leap to secure the gold, the Scarlet Knights came home with four medals on top of 10 podium finishes.
"I think we took a huge step forward as a program," said director of Track and Field and Cross Country Bob Farrell. "The women competed extremely well, scoring in several events and breaking school records in the process. I'm very excited to build on this and have a great outdoor season.”
Christie, who was just two inches shy of his own school record, earned first place in the high jump. He placed third at last season’s Big Ten Indoor Championship. Junior Qayyim Ali placed fourth in this year’s event with a personal record jump of 6 feet 9.75 inches.
The men went on to earn three more podium places in the long jump, 200-meter run and 400-meter run events. Sophomore A’nan Bridgett placed sixth in the men’s long jump by jumping 23 feet 11.5 inches — a 1.25-inch improvement compared to his last Big Ten Indoor Championships.
Sophomore sprinter Nadale Buntin ran a personal best in the 200 meter, placing fifth with a time of 21.13 seconds. Junior sprinter Taj Burgess earned Rutgers' fifth-ever indoor 400 meter medal with a third-place finish in the men’s 400 meter, clocking in a time of 45.82 seconds.
Junior Courteney Campbell placed the highest on the podium for the women’s team, claiming second place in the high jump with a height of 5 feet 10 inches. Freshman Ka’Leila Abrille was third in the pole vault. She cleared a height of 13 feet 9.25 inches to break her own school record, marking the third time she has reset the school record.
The Knights women’s triple jump record holder, freshman Claudine Smith, placed fourth in the event with a distance of 40 feet 11.5 inches. Others who earned a place on the podium include sophomore Reanda Richards who ran a time of 54.60 seconds to earn fifth in the women’s 400 meter.
"We had some big performances this weekend," Farrell said. "The men really stepped up on day three in particular. We are starting to really put the pieces together. We got a very strong outdoor squad returning so I'm looking forward to getting back to work."