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Rutgers’ Taj Burgess runs second fastest 500m in NCAA history

The Scarlet Knights men’s and women’s track and field teams won a combined 20 events as they opened the Indoor season last weekend.

Rutgers Athletics/Ben Solomon

The men’s and women’s indoor track season began last weekend at the TCNJ Lions Indoor Invitational, which took place at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York. Rutgers junior Taj Burgess delivered an historic moment for the program, running the second fastest time in NCAA history in the 500m. He broke his own school record in running a time of 1:00.80, falling just short of Pittsburgh’s Chris Spratling’s NCAA record of 1:00.63 set in 2012. It was a tremendous performance for the two-time All-American.

Overall, Rutgers earned victories in 20 events and had an even split between the men and women. Rutgers also had 38 top three performances in the meet. It was quite the debut for new head coach Bob Farrell, who was promoted to lead the two program’s last spring after serving as an assistant for many years prior.

Rutgers dominated the mile run on the men’s side with junior Patrick Walsh, senior Cole Pschunder and senior Sean Martinek running times of 4:13.45, 4:16.87 and 4:20.56 to sweep the podium.

On the women’s side, sophomore Reanda Richards, who earned All-American status last spring in finishing fourth in the NCAA Championships in the 400m hurdles, started off her second Indoor campaign by winning the 500m event with a time of 1:14.24.

For a complete listing of all the event winners and performances for Rutgers men’s and women’s track and field from the TCNJ Invitational, click here.

Rutgers heads to Nashville, Tennessee this coming weekend to compete in the Vanderbilt Indoor Meet, beginning Friday, January 17.