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Big Ten Track & Field Championships: a long weekend for Rutgers

Track and Field:  NCAA Championships Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Mirabelli won the javelin at the Big Ten Men’s Outdoor Championships, defending his 2016 title. Thomas Carr took third in the same event. Emeka Eze scored with a fifth in the triple jump.

After that, there wasn’t much to write home about.

On the women’s side, Katherine Johnston took silver in the javelin while junior Bria Saunders took seventh in the 200m and Rhonda Rogombe also took seventh in the high jump.

After that, there wasn’t much to write home about.

The men finished 12th in the 13-team field while the women finished 13th out of 13 teams.

Last year, the men finished in ninth place, with Corey Crawford, Izaiah Brown, and Chris Mirabelli each being named to the Big Ten Championship team. The women, too, fell off from 2016 when they finished tied for 10th place with Indiana. Gabrielle Farquharson was the preeminent runner for RU, winning the 200m and taking bronze in the 60m. In the three years that the Knights have been in the Big Ten, the women’s outdoor finishes at the Big Ten Championships have been 13th, 12th, and now 13th again. The men have done only slightly better with finishes of 11th, 9th, and 12th.

Now, it may not make a bit of difference in the final results, but it would seem that depth is a nice thing to have on any team. Penn State, which won the men’s title, carries 51 athletes on its outdoor track & field squad; Rutgers carries just 42. On the women’s side, Rutgers has 37 athletes while champion Purdue carries 50.

The fact that the track facility at Rutgers is little better than a high school track also doesn’t help draw the best talent. We keep talking about facilities (spoiler alert: we will continue to do so) and this is another indication of how far behind Rutgers is to its competition.

A few weeks ago we reported that the men and women both won the Metropolitan Championships in a rare home competition. And in the comments under that post was this question:

Really great for both teams. Unfortunately I don’t know too much about T&F, but is this a reasonably good victory? Are any of those other schools good? Basically, where would this fall in the scale of importance?

Posted by HowRU on Apr 17, 2017

What the Met titles proved was that Rutgers - the largest school in the field - was better than nine much smaller private schools, along with NJIT and Stony Brook in the NYC area. And as I replied to that question, if you win and take home hardware, it’s all good. But from the results against our peer institutions, it doesn’t look quite as good.