Over the weekend, the Binghamton track and field teams concluded their indoor season at the America East Indoor Track and Field Championships. The men’s team finished with 81 points for a fifth-place finish, and the women took seventh with 58 points at the event in Boston.
“Because our teams are so small in numbers, we can’t afford to have anything go wrong,” said Binghamton head coach Mike Thompson. “A couple things went wrong with injuries and that was the difference in the team score, but the individual performances were outstanding.”
Retaining his indoor conference title, sophomore Casey Gribben opened up the Friday meet for the men with a 14-11 clearance in the pole vault, taking first after winning the jump-off in a four-way tie. In the long jump, a 23-06 jump from sophomore Jake Restivo landed him third, followed by senior Matt Baker’s 22-10 ½ performance in sixth. The Bearcats took five total points out of the 5K after senior Daryn Hutchings clocked in at 14:45.14 in sixth place, and sophomore Matt Jacob trailed behind in seventh at 14:50.40. The men’s distance medley capped off day one’s meet with a 9:56.69 time, finishing in third with redshirt junior Dan Schaffer’s 4:03 mile split on the anchor leg. With 30 total points, BU sat in second place behind UMass Lowell after the first day of events.
Junior Mallory Prelewicz also maintained her pole vault title on the women’s side, clearing 11-11 ¾ to take first overall. In the weight throw, sophomore Madison Krochina threw 54-08 in her fourth-place finish. However, the women’s distance medley relay (DMR) was one of the highlights of the competition, as the DMR team came home with gold, clocking in at 11:41.67. Despite the win, Binghamton only had 26 points in third place after day one, with title champs Albany already running away with their eighth consecutive title.
“The DMR we were not expecting to win,” said senior Emily Mackay. “It was a pleasant surprise.”
Day two of the meet began with hope for the men, as Baker returned for the triple jump, taking fourth with his jump of 49-11 ¼. Schaffer added another 10 points to the Bearcats’ total, propelling the men’s side into first with 45 points after clocking in at 4:07.72 to take his 2020 conference title in the mile. Graduate student Nate Gerhardt competed in the 60-meter hurdles final, finishing second with a time of 8.27 to extend Binghamton’s lead by another eight points. However, with Albany close behind and no Binghamton competitors in the 400-meter or 500-meter finals, the lead quickly slipped to the Great Danes. Although senior Greg Matzelle ran a time of 6.96 to take fourth in the 60-meter final after finishing second in the preliminaries the day before, Albany occupied the top three spots in the event and grew its lead to over 100 points. Only two Bearcats managed to score after the 60-meter: senior Jack Fitzgerald in second place in the high jump (7-00 ½) and freshman Ryan Guerci, who finished sixth in the 3K (8:17.56). Albany, totaling 171.50 points, dominated the other nine conference teams.
“We had injuries on both the men’s side and the women’s side, and those really affected the team score quite a bit,” Thomspon said. “Despite the team score, I am very satisfied.”
Junior Brittany Korsah shined for the women’s team, contributing 19 points to the Bearcats’ score. She had a first-place finish in the triple jump (40-06), a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter dash (55.10) and helped BU to a fifth-place finish in the 4×400 relay (3:50.81).
“Korsah wins the triple jump and she’s competing 20 minutes after the 400, so she was flat on her back, middle of the infield, dead after running the 400,” Thompson said. “Her first jump in the finals, she jumps a [personal record] by eight inches and wins. That may have been the performance of the meet simply because she did it right after the 400.”
Mackay clocked in at 2:53.31 in the 1K to complete her bright indoor season. However, the two athletes had no chance against first-place Albany, who swept the meet with 175 points.
“I’ve been running some of the best times I’ve ever ran, so that gives me confidence and helps me mentally going into races, especially conferences,” Mackay said.
An unfortunate series of injuries dragged down both teams’ scores. Matzelle’s injuries caused the Bearcats to drop points in the 200-meter dash, and sophomore Dominique Jackson’s injuries during the 60-meter dash brought her to last in the final. Additionally, sophomore Aziza Chigatayeva, who was named all-conference during the 2019 cross country season, underwent surgery and did not compete all season. She will also be absent for the majority of the spring.
After a weekend off, a handful of Bearcats will return to Boston, Massachusetts on March 7 to March 8 to compete in the ECAC/IC4A Championships.