The Binghamton men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their indoor seasons on Saturday with two meets. After missing the entire cross country season due to injury, senior Dan Schaffer broke his own school record in the men’s 5K at the Boston University Season Opener meet, clocking in at 14:03.06 and highlighting the Bearcats’ inaugural results.
“Dan [Schaffer] honestly looked amazing today,” said Binghamton assistant coach Annette Acuff. “We weren’t expecting a personal best for his first race since outdoor track. Today’s race sets the tone and vision for the track season.”
The event featured some of the best athletes in the nation, especially in the distance field. Schaffer placed 18th, besting his all-time personal record of 14:03.30 from the ECAC/IC4A Indoor Championships in spring 2019 where he finished third overall in the 5K. He also won the 1,500 at the America East Outdoor Championships, as well as the 3K at the Great Dane Classic during last year’s winter season.
“We didn’t expect [Schaffer] to run that fast this early,” said Binghamton head coach Mike Thompson. “We thought he would run well because he’s in good shape, but it’s been a while since he raced so it was a bit of a surprise and it definitely ups the expectations for the season as well.”
Senior Emily Mackay also competed in Boston, racing in the 3K and clocking in at 10:00.84 to take 19th overall in the event. This marks the third-fastest indoor 3K time in Binghamton’s history and sixth-fastest overall.
Closer to home, several Bearcats competed at the Greg Page Relays, hosted by Cornell. On the men’s side, senior Jack Fitzgerald and senior Matt Baker both had first-place finishes. Fitzgerald won the high jump (6-9 ¾ feet) while Baker took the triple jump (48-11 ½ feet). Baker also finished sixth in the long jump, jumping 22-1 ½ feet in his flight.
In the sprinting events, senior Greg Matzelle took an easy third place in the 60-meter preliminaries, but competed for an extremely close second-place spot in the finals, finishing in 6.84 seconds. Senior Andrew Garabito also took second in the 500-meter race with a time of 1:07.32 in the first heat of the event. Following the performance was a sixth-place finish in the 300-meter dash by sophomore Tyler Shepherd in one of the most competitive races of the meet, clocking in at 36.18 seconds against 61 other competing athletes.
“Right now the best athletes on our team have been Jack Fitzgerald in the high jump, Matt Baker in the triple jump, Greg Matzelle in the 60 [meter] and Schaffer, as well as the other distance guys,” Thompson said. “We try and put together a balanced team.”
The women’s side also delivered a strong performance at Cornell. Sophomore Madison Krochina took the gold in the weight throw, throwing 51-7 ¼ feet and sweeping the other 26 competitors. Junior Mallory Prelewicz cleared 11-5 ¾ to finish tied for fifth in the pole vault. Freshman Libby Gresslin took sixth in triple jump (37-7 ¼), followed by junior Nia Joyner in seventh (37-4 ½) to cap off the field-event performances.
The sprinting team saw senior Chelsea Ogindo run the 500-meter in 1:22.79 for a fourth-place finish overall, sophomore Dominique Jackson finish fourth in the 300 meter (40.72) and sophomore Stephanie Cassens place sixth in the same event (41.22). The women’s 4×400 relay team also put up a good result, finishing behind Cornell in their second-place performance with a time of 4:02.30.
“We have a lot of freshmen, especially on the women’s side, so you never know how they’re going to adjust to collegiate competition,” Thompson said. “Some people just jump right in and they’re great from the beginning, other people take a little bit of time to get used to it.”
After winter break, the track and field teams will return to compete in the Great Dane Classic at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, New York.