Rutgers women’s track & field freshman Reanda Richards was named the Big Ten Women’s Track Athlete of the Week on Wednesday due to an impressive performance last weekend. Richards produced the best time in all of Division I this season in the 400m hurdles, winning the Florida Relays with a time of 57.21. In addition to posting the top time in the nation in outdoor competition this spring, it was also the second fastest time in program history, falling just short of Lori McCauley’s then American record of 55.69 back in 1982.
Richards attended West Essex High School and last spring won the New Balance High School National Outdoor Championship in the 400m hurdles. In her first collegiate season, she owns two event titles so far, the USF Bulls Invitational and the Florida Relays, the only outdoor competitions she’s participated in so far. It will be exciting to see how she fares as the season progresses, particularly in the prestigious Penn Relays at the end of April, followed by the Big Ten Championships and then hopefully, the NCAA Championships.
In addition to Richards, her teammate and redshirt junior Rhonda Rogombe won the high jump event with a distance of 1.78m (5’ 10”). She missed tying the Rutgers record by .01 set by Kimberly Fife twenty years ago.
On the men’s side, the 4x400 relay team of Christopher Jenkins, Izaiah Brown, Sterling Pierce and Taj Burgess set the new Rutgers outdoor record with a time of 3:04.27. They finished in 5th place in the event, but it was still an impressive time, breaking the previous record of 3:04.67 set at last year’s Penn Relays. That team was comprised of Brown, Burgess, Jermaine Griffith, and Boaz Madeus. Other notable performances at the Florida Relays included two-time All-American Chris Mirabelli finishing second in the javelin, as well as A’nan Bridgett finishing third in the long jump.
Both the Rutgers men’s and women’s track and field teams will be back in action this weekend at the the Sam Howell Invitational hosted by Princeton, before hosting the Metropolitan Championships, which is the only home meet of the outdoor season on April 12th & 13th.