The competition in the javelin is strong for Rutgers’ track and field programs, and Josh Suttmeier and Kelsey McDonald are enjoying the fruits.
Suttmeier, a former North Hunterdon High School star, is taking a postgraduate year with the Scarlet Knights after logging three seasons at South Carolina. McDonald, a freshman from East Brunswick High, is just starting to make her mark.
Both placed second in last weekend’s Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton. Suttmeier’s 220-6 heave was bested only by teammate Chris Mirabelli (229-2).
“That was a big reason I chose to come here (Rutgers) because I would have great training partners every day,” Suttmeier said, crediting throwing coach Robert Farrell. “I think surrounding yourself with your competition everyday makes you all that much better.”
Suttmeier earned All-America status as a freshman at South Carolina, placing ninth with a school-record 238-6 effort. Injuries prevented him from getting back to that territory. He hopes to use the second-place in Princeton as a springboard heading into this week’s Penn Relays.
“Last week I finally got a decent throw out there and I feel like I’m heading on the right path,” he said.
McDonald’s second-place showing in Princeton, with a personal-best distance of 139-7, was a breakthrough. It came too late to get her into the Penn Relays but bodes well for the big meets to come.
“It was a huge confidence-builder, especially with Big Ten’s coming up in the next month,” she said. “It was a necessary confidence builder.”
Where does McDonald go from here?
“I want to gain another five feet or so on my throw and hopefully qualify for (NCAA) Regionals,” she said.
Other Central Jersey alumni who fared well at the Larry Ellis Invitational:
Penn junior Sam Mattis (East Brunswick) won the men’s discus (192-7).
Lehigh senior Ryan Mahalsky (Hillsborough) won the men’s 5,000 meters (14:01.08).
Princeton senior Matt McDonald (North Hunterdon) placed second in the 10,000 meters in 29:38.
Rutgers’ Tyrell Judson (Piscataway) placed 10th in the men’s triple jump (43-9.25).
Connecticut’s Kat Vodopia (Hunterdon Central) placed eighth in the women’s 800 (2:08.52).
LIU-Brooklyn freshman Christina Abiola (Franklin) placed eighth in the women’s discus (132-8) and ninth in the shot put (39-8).
Columbia’s Addy Sonaike (Montgomery) took ninth in the women’s long jump (18-0.25).
For the Rutgers women, Oksana Sokolova (Old Bridge) ran on the third-place 4×100 (46.90) and Kaitlyn Bedard (Hunterdon Central) ran on the fourth-place 4×400 (3:54).
At the Georgia Tech Invitational, Notre Dame’s Dominick Padovano (South Brunswick) finished third in the men’s discus (166-5) and fourth in the hammer throw (187-11).