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Track and field squads combine for highest total finish in program history

The Binghamton University track and field teams traveled to the Bronx this past weekend to compete in the America East Indoor Track & Field Championship at the New York Armory.

Photo Provided The Binghamton men’s and women’s track teams each finished second at the America East Indoor Championships this weekend — their highest combined finish since joining the conference in 2001-02.

Albany won both the men’s and the women’s competitions for the eighth straight year, while the Bearcats put forth an impressive runner-up performance on both sides.

“I’m so proud of our teams,” Binghamton head coach Mike Thompson said. “They both came out here and accomplished everything we asked them to do. We had many people on both teams step up for us this weekend.”

The second-place effort marks the highest finish that the women’s team has ever had at the American East Indoor Track & Field Championships after finishing third last year.

“It feels really great to set the bar higher for everyone,” senior captain Erika Kisel said. “This is where we really wanted to get to. It was a really great feeling.”

This is the sixth time in the last seven years in which the men’s team has finished with runner-up honors.

“Second place was fantastic for us this weekend,” said junior captain Jesse Garn, who won the 1,000. “In the spring last year, the men’s team got fourth, and I know we were really disappointed with that. It was big for us to get back to the top two spots.”

On Sunday, the first day of competition, freshman Sarah Haley won the women’s pole vault with a jump of 11-9 ¾. That distance qualified her for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship to be held in two weeks at Boston University.

“That was a personal record for her,” Kisel said. “Coming from a freshman that’s amazing. She really had a great meet.”

For the men, senior Ben Snodgrass came from behind to win the 5,000 meter race with a time of 14.47.89.

“Ben wasn’t even predicted to score,” Garn said. “He went out and ran a really smart race and ended up winning the thing.”

In addition, the men’s team captured the distance medley relay title with freshman Eric Holt, sophomore Adam Mcie, Garn and senior Chris Fernandez coming in with a time of 9:53.27. Freshman Jon Alkins came out strong on the second day of competition, finishing first in the 200 meter dash with a time of 21.58 and second in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.96.

“That was huge for us,” Garn said. “He’s one of the strongest sprinters we’ve had in the past couple of seasons. Having him was certainty an asset to the sprinting side of the meet.”

In the triple jump, the women had their best performance of the season with junior Tonika Forrester finishing first, senior Sara Wickes taking third and sophomore Kierra Arthur placing fourth.

In the 500 meter dash, graduate Zach Keefer finished first with a time of 1.03.38.

“[Keefer] was certainly an underdog going into it, and to beat the guy who was ahead of him was huge for him,” Garn said.

“I think that this meet will help with a lot of people’s confidence,” Garn added. “We had a lot of top performances this weekend, and people are fired up. I’m excited to see what we can do going into the ECAC.”

The Bearcats travel to Boston on March 7 for the ECAC championships, which are set to start at 10 a.m.