Perry Christie made history this past weekend when he became the first Rutgers athlete to strike gold in the high jump at the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
Christie, a senior out of Union Catholic High, cleared 7-1.75, No. 10 in the NCAA this season, to finish first and qualify for the NCAA Championships, which which will be held March 11-13 at the Randal Tyson Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Christie, the bronze medalist in the high jump at the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships, is the No. 1 high jumper in Rutgers history. He set the school indoor record of 7-3.75 at the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame on Feb. 7, 2020, which is superior to the school outdoor record of 7-1.50.
The Scarlet Knight received several impressive performances over the weekend.
Redshirt junior Courteney Campbell (South Brunswick High) claimed silver in the high jump by clearing 5-10. Campbell, who shares the school indoor record in the HJ (5-10/75), also earned a silver at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in 2019.
Freshman Ka' Leila Abrille added to an already brilliant debut season, shattering her school record in the pole vault with a height of 13- 9.25 to take third in the event. She set and reset the previous school record for the third time.
Senior Taj Burgess (Carteret High) gave the Scarlet Knights their fourth medal with his third-place finish in the 400 with a time of 45.82. It's the first indoor medal for Burgess and his third overall after earning silvers in the 400-meter and 4x400 outdoors. This is the fifth medal for Rutgers all-time in the indoor 400-meter.
It looked like Burgess would add to his medal collection when he blasted a 44.93 anchor leg to bring Rutgers across the line with a second-place time of 3:08.73. But RU was DQ'd for a line call. Watch Burgess finish off the relay in the video below-
The Scarlet Knights earned six other podium finishes over the three-day championships.
On the women's side, redshirt freshman Claudine Smith (Atlantic City High) finished fourth in the triple jump on day two of the conference championship. A school record holder in the event, she recorded a distance of 12.48m (40' 11.5"). Redshirt sophomore Icisys Sadler (Summit High) also earned a fourth-place finish, running a PR time of 8.45 in the 60-meter hurdles. It was the second-fastest time in the event in school history. Redshirt sophomore Reanda Richards (West Essex High) took fifth in the 400-meter with a time of 54.60 to add to the Scarlet Knights' point total. Redshirt sophomore Jasmine Van Note (Sayreville High) reset her previous school record in the shot put for the second time this season, recording a distance of 51-3.75.
Earning podium finishes on the men's side was redshirt junior Qayyim Ali who finished fourth in the high jump, clearing a PR of 6'-9.75.. He was joined by redshirt sophomore Nadal Buntin (J.P. Stevens High) in the 200-meter with a fifth-place finish in a PR time of 21.13. Redshirt sophomore A'nan Bridgett (West Windsor South) took sixth in the long jump with a leap of 23-11.50.
"I think we took a huge step forward as a program," Bob Farrell, the Director of Track and Field and Cross Country at Rutgers said in a release. "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. "We had some big performances this weekend. "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."