Coming off of the Upstate Challenge meet in Ithaca, New York and the John Thomas Terrier Classic at Boston University last Saturday, the Binghamton men’s and women’s track and field teams continue to deliver promising performances in their indoor season. Senior Matt Baker put up a career-best performance in Ithaca, breaking his own triple jump school record with a jump of 49-7 to win the event and help bring the men’s side to a second-place finish overall, just one point behind leaders Cornell.
“At this time of the year, we’re entering people into meets not really concerned about the team score, but just where they need to compete for the conference meet,” said Binghamton head coach Mike Thompson. “As individuals, they performed largely as well as we’d expect them to perform this time of year.”
Kicking off the men’s events, senior Greg Matzelle opened the meet with a second-place finish in the 60-meter dash preliminaries, clocking in at 6.91 seconds. Later, he returned in the finals to run 6.92 seconds, taking silver 100th of a second behind Princeton senior Justice Dixon. Following the 60-meter dash, senior Mitch Halpern finished fourth in the mile run among 37 other runners (4:21.39) to add six points to the Bearcats’ total. Senior Andrew Garabito followed the result with a fourth-place finish in the 500-meter (1:10.13), in addition to second-place finishes in the 800-meter by freshman Mark Scanlon (1:57.71) and in the 1,000-meter by sophomore Dan Gahagan (2:34.87). In the 3K event, Binghamton dominated the competition, putting three athletes in the top five, led by sophomore Matt Jacob and freshman Marty Dolan clocking in at 8:48.49 and 8:59.68, respectively. The men’s team closed out the running events with a third-place finish by the 4×400 relay team, taking eight points in a time of 3:30.81.
In addition to his record-breaking triple jump performance, Baker leaped into third place in the long jump (22-4 ¼ feet), bested only by a second-place finish from Binghamton sophomore Jake Restivo jumping 22-5 ¾ feet and Delhi sophomore Glenn Butler. The Bearcats ended with a total of 120 points, finishing second out of five competing schools.
The women’s team also took second at the meet with 122 points, losing to Cornell’s total of 263. Despite this gap in points, they delivered some of Saturday’s best performances overall. Sophomore Dominique Jackson swept both the 60-meter and 200-meter events. She topped the 60-meter preliminaries, with junior Hallie Buddendeck coming in second, and won the final with a time of 7.74. Buddendeck came in third. Jackson’s winning time of 25.44 in the 200-meter was closely followed by Binghamton junior Brittany Korsah in second, clocking in at 25.61.
The women’s side started off with a dry spell, only scoring one point until the 400-meter kicked off, when junior Sophia Gelard took fifth overall (1:02.19) and scored eight points for the Bearcats. Following this, junior Emily Mackay won the 1,000-meter event with a time of 2:51.45, running the second-fastest time in the program’s history to continue her strong start to the indoor season. The other members of the distance team put forth strong performances in the 3K, with sophomore Elisabeth Van Tassell taking fourth (11:15.18), freshman Kyra Guerci following in fifth (11:22.91) and junior Sydney Pulvidente ending in sixth (11:26.74).
“[Mackay] had an excellent performance in the 1,000, and that may have been the best performance overall out of the men and the women,” Thompson said. “The meet overall was exactly how we wanted it to be.”
One women’s distance runner who will not be competing this season is sophomore Aziza Chigatayeva. After a strong cross country season, Chigatayeva will miss the track and field season because of injury.
Freshman Sophia Morone scored the first points in the field events for BU, measuring 17-7 ½ feet for second in the long jump, matched by a second-place finish in the weight throw by sophomore Madison Krochina (51-5). Binghamton then finished strong in the triple jump to cap off the major performances at Cornell, with Korsah winning the event (38-5), freshman Libby Gresslin taking third (37-5) and junior Nia Joyner in fourth (37-5).
Although only three Binghamton athletes competed in Boston, senior Dan Schaffer represented his school with a fourth-place overall finish out of 150 athletes in the 3K, running 7:58.22. His time was the third fastest by any Division I men’s runner in the 3K race this season.
“I think [Schaffer] is in perfect position heading into the second half of the indoor season,” Thompson said.
Next weekend, the Bearcats will continue their season at the National Open in University Park, Pennsylvania from Friday, Jan. 31 through Saturday, Feb. 1, as well as the Kane Invitational in Ithaca, New York on Feb. 1.