Track and Field: Rodgers named Big East Athlete of the Week ahead of Columbia Challenge. 

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The UConn men and women’s track teams compete at the Northeast Challenge meet held at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex, on the UConn Storrs campus. The athletes dominated the annual home meet with the men scoring 164 points and the women scoring 198.33 points. Photo by Julie Spillane / The Daily Campus.

UConn track and field women’s captain Mikyla Rodgers was named the Big East’s Field Athlete of the Week following her performance at the Great Dane Classic last weekend. The senior New York native leads the Huskies again this weekend, as they head to The Armory for the Dr. Sander Columbia Challenge.  

Coming off two consecutive meets which saw the teams produce a combined four school records and multiple PR performances, Rodgers understands of the importance of the captains performing consistently. “I think it’s super motivating for everyone, especially when the captains are doing well, because the other team members will aim to reflect this and do their best every week,” Rodgers said. 

Ranking first and fourth respectively in the USTFCCCA regional men’s and women’s rankings, the Huskies are poised to produce similar results at the two-day meet which will feature teams from rivaling schools. “It’s a great competition. We’ll have competition from some of the top eastern schools, and our men’s team finished on top, so we’re pretty excited,” head coach Greg Roy said.  

Despite the absence of a few top names within the program sitting out this weekend’s meet, Roy remains confident in the team’s ability to maintain the consistent standard set all indoor season. “It’s hard to say because the meet is at a funny spot in the season this year; we went all out with some of our top athletes up in Boston last weekend, most of whom are not competing this weekend, so we’ll see what happens. But I know we’ll be in there,” Roy said. 

The highly anticipated meet promises to bring together elite NCAA and professional competition, with 27 NCAA Division I teams expected to be in action. The last two weeks of competition saw four school records being broken, two of which were produced by men’s team captain Eric Van Der Els, with the other two by Wellington Ventura and women’s team captain Mia Nahom. Both Nahom and Van Der Els are the program’s highest ranked athletes nationally, ranking No. 10 and No. 12 in the women’s and men’s mile, respectively. 

After a brief stint in competition, women’s team captain Taylor Woods returns to action at this weekend’s meet, and is looking to leave it all in the sand in the women’s long jump. Woods, who’s jumped marginally close to her career-best this season, is focused more on delivering a solid performance rather than attaining a specific mark.  

The UConn men and women’s track teams compete at the Northeast Challenge meet held at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex, on the UConn Storrs campus. The athletes dominated the annual home meet with the men scoring 164 points and the women scoring 198.33 points. Photo by Julie Spillane / The Daily Campus.

“I really don’t think about jumping a personal record (PR), at each meet, I just go out there and compete; only against myself, bettering each mark, and making the next one better than the last,” Woods confessed. Currently ranked at 13th nationally, Woods removes all pressure from herself ahead of competitions. “ I’m the type of person who is hard on themself, so I don’t go into meets with expectations. It’s really a  ‘I’ll do my best and see what happens,’” she shared. 

The meet is scheduled to begin on Friday at 9 a.m., continuing on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. 

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