Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Galen Rupp draws enthusiastic fans to track meet

In a weekend meet filled with exciting performances from several members of the Boston University track and field team — including two broken school records — the most memorable part of the Terrier Invitational did not come from a BU student, but from one of the biggest names in track and field.

Galen Rupp, the silver medalist at the London Olympics in the 10,000m and the American record-holder in the same event, took to the Track and Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon to participate in the mile run.

Rupp’s appearance attracted plenty of fans and enthusiasm, and just prior to race time, the building was packed.

“There was a line,” said Director of Track and Field Robyne Johnson, laughing. “You never see a line coming in for a track meet.”

Rupp won the mile in a time of 3:50.92, knocking seven seconds off of his previous personal best. His victory received an ecstatic ovation from the crowd at the Track and Tennis Center.

“I’ve never heard it that loud,” said Assistant Director of Track and Field Bruce Lehane. “He delivered the goods. He made the check, and he cashed it. It was fantastic.”

Junior Rich Peters, the NCAA national runner-up in the mile last season, ran unattached and placed fifth with a time of 3:59.97. He was one of six runners on the day to break the four-minute mark. Junior Stuart Ross also participated, setting a swift pace for the elite group of runners.

But Rupp and his competitors were not the only athletes to fare well at this weekend’s meet. Many members of the BU track team had solid performances across the board.

On Friday, graduate student Katie Matthews broke her own school record in the 5,000m, placing second in the race with a time of 15:46.13. This shattered her previous record of 15:52.80.

Matthews’s coaches said they were pleased with the result.

“She’s been twice All-American, so this more or less brings her back into that national picture for collegiate track,” Lehane said. “She redshirted through the XC season, so she’s been away for a good while from racing. So this was a very initial step towards getting back to the national championships.”

“She’s a true competitor,” Johnson added about her star athlete. “When the competition raises, she kind of raises the bar and goes with it.”

Senior Allison Barwise also had a solid showing in the high jump, tying University of Connecticut senior Ilva Bikanova for first place with a jump of 1.8m.

“[Barwise] is one of the better jumpers in the country,” Lehane said. “Very reliable, very steady, great performer. It’s a good beginning for her.”

Other top performers on Friday included freshman Sophie Jacsurak and senior Nikko Brady, who placed fourth (8.73 seconds) and fifth (8.74 seconds) respectively in the 60m hurdles.

Johnson said the success of Brady and Jacsurak comes from the two working off one another.

“The fact that they have each other to train with kind of makes it a competition at practice,” Johnson said. “So they’re really getting better at being sharp for race-type situations.”

In addition to her strong showing in the hurdles, Brady also placed second in the long jump with a jump of 5.61m. Senior Chelsea Curry came in seventh in the shot put, with a mark of 13.67m.

Senior Shelby Walton competed unattached in the 60m dash (7.63 seconds) and 200m dash (24.21 seconds), finishing second overall in both events.

On Saturday, the men took the stage, and another school record was broken, this time in the 200m dash by senior R.J. Page. Page placed fourth overall with a time of 21.25 seconds. He also placed fourth in the 60m dash, crossing the finish line in 6.91 seconds.

Freshman Reuben Horace continued the strong start to his collegiate career by earning a victory in the weight throw with a mark of 18.77m.

Graduate student Zachary Ray also turned in a good performance, placing first in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.98 seconds, and coming in second in the long jump with a mark of 7.16m.

“He’s very talented,” Johnson said of Ray. “Today was a ‘PR’ for him in the hurdles … he’s just really coming into his own, and we’ve been working really hard and we’re starting to see the work.”

Ray was also a member of the 4x400m relay team that placed second overall. Ross, Ray, senior Tewado Latty and freshman David Lageberg ran quick splits to finish with a time of 3:12.34.

As a whole, the coaches said they were pleased with the efforts of the team in all areas.

“There were a lot of good results,” Lehane said. “A lot of the kids … are making personal bests for themselves. In fact, most of them are. And for us, as coaches, that’s rewarding. It’s nice to see the kids do well.”

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