With the outdoor season scheduled to start in the coming weeks, the Binghamton men’s and women’s track and field teams wrapped up their indoor competition at the ECAC/IC4A championships. While only six athletes competed in Boston over the weekend, senior Matt Baker stood out, delivering the best performance of the meet as well as his all-time best in the triple jump with a distance of 50-08 3/4.
“It feels really good,” Baker said. “It’s actually been a goal since I started track and field in high school. For it to finally come together, it’s one of my biggest accomplishments, only because I’ve been working at it for about seven years or so.”
Baker’s performance shattered his own school record, which previously stood at 49-11 1/4. As the only athlete in Binghamton program history to clear 50 feet in the triple jump, Baker ended his season with the second-best performance in the America East Conference this year, bested only by Albany sophomore Robert Blue, who edged out Baker by just over three inches to claim the top spot for the indoor standings. However, Blue trailed behind Baker at last weekend’s meet, as the Bearcat placed second overall.
“I’m definitely going to try and go as far as possible,” Baker said. “I know there’s a lot more in the tank, so I’m not gonna sell myself short by being content with 50. You can always jump further.”
Senior Jack Fitzgerald also took silver at Boston, tying first-place Albany freshman Louis Gordon’s jump of 6-10 3/4. Between Fitzgerald, Gordon and Connecticut junior Daniel Claxton, who won the meet back in 2019, the decision for first place came down to a jump-off, as none of the three athletes managed to clear 7-00.5, giving Gordon the 10 points.
Senior Troy Zanger was the last of the Bearcats to finish within the top three over the weekend. Totaling 5,073 points in the heptathlon, Zanger finished second, beating out last year’s winning score by 33. Baker, Fitzgerald and Zanger combined to earn 24 points for Binghamton. Sophomore Jake Restivo added another two points to the total, taking seventh in the long jump with a performance of 22-04 1/2. The men’s team finished in 10th out of 37 teams. Connecticut won the meet with 127.50 points.
“We don’t ever feel content or happy with our performances,” Baker said. “There’s always hunger for more.”
Only two Bearcats took the field for the women. Junior Mallory Prelewicz tied her season’s best performance of 11-11 3/4, finishing seventh to earn Binghamton’s only two points of the meet. Sophomore Madison Krochina faced difficult competition in the weight throw, finishing 22nd overall with a throw of 52-06. Binghamton tied Monmouth in 39th out of 42 teams.
The ECAC/IC4A Championships were a last-chance opportunity for some of the Bearcats to improve upon their season’s times. However, athletes such as redshirt junior Dan Schaffer and senior Emily Mackay did not compete in preparation for the upcoming outdoor season.
“There were only six of us that went, so it was pretty individual,” Baker said. “We didn’t really worry about how we placed. [The] ECAC/IC4A is a no-pressure meet after conferences that people tend to do pretty well at because pressure at conference isn’t really there.”
Binghamton will open its outdoor season at the Lafayette 8-Way Meet at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 28 in Easton, Pennsylvania.