NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – While track & field may focus on the individual performances, the throws squad of the VCU men's track & field program is showing just how team-oriented the sport can be. Juniors Brandon Ruffin and Ryan Coles continue to push it each other in the throwing area, week after week, each one trying to outduel the other.

After a big week by Coles last week, Ruffin stepped up and tossed his second PR of the season in the shot put, a performance that earned him Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week.

"Brandon's throw this past week was a statement of his hard work and dedication to improving every year and in the biggest meets. He and Ryan push each other towards new levels of excellence regularly. Neither wants to be left behind by the other," Throws coach Ethan Tussing said. "This week was Brandon's turn to shine. Their friendly competition within our team will surely push us to new heights both in the Atlantic 10 and in the NCAA as they climb the ranks with bigger throws."

While competing alongside six of the top-25 ranked shot putters in all division of college track & field this past weekend at the Armory Collegiate Invitational, Ruffin recorded his second PR of the season with a nearly two-foot improvement to 57' 10 ½".

The mark was strong enough to place him sixth in the finals, beating all the athletes in the competition from the SEC, ACC, and Pac-12. He improved upon his eighth place finish in this meet from the previous year, when he became the first thrower in school history to make a final at the Armory.

Ruffin's throw currently ranks as the 69th best throw in all of Division I.

The Rams have the next two weeks off to prepare for the Atlantic 10 Indoor Championships on February 22-23 in Kingston, R.I.