To wrap up its regular season competition, the Binghamton men and women’s track and field teams competed at the Lehigh/Carol and John Covert Classic meet over the weekend, and BU recorded seven individual first-place finishes during Saturday’s competition.
Due to injury, graduate student Matt Baker had not competed this season prior to Lehigh on Saturday. His performance of 48-00.50 feet in the triple jump landed him the first-place spot over the weekend. Baker currently holds the school record for the event with a distance of 50-08.75 feet which he recorded during last year’s indoor season.
“Fitness-wise I feel decent,” Baker said. “It’s been a really weird season. I’m not at what my top-level fitness would be, but I feel confident in my abilities this season … Regardless of what my fitness is, it doesn’t reflect how I feel [mentally].”
Alongside Baker, two other men recorded first-place finishes. Graduate student Thomas Cooper won the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.26, and senior Andriy Prokopiv took first in the 400-meter hurdles, clocking in at 55.05.
Four athletes on the women’s side won their individual events. Graduate student Elly Scherer took first in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.00 seconds and was the only athlete on the women’s team to win an event on the track. However, sophomore Sophia Morone finished first in the long jump (11-6 feet), senior Brittany Korsah won the triple jump (38-7 feet) and senior Mallory Prelewicz took first in the pole vault (11-5.75 feet) to round out Binghamton’s top field event performances.
While the Lehigh meet had no team scoring, multiple Bearcats earned new personal bests, according to Baker. He said that the meet served as a test of physical and mental fitness heading into next weekend’s America East (AE) championships.
“This meet really allowed people to see and feel themselves do well,” Baker said. “A lot of performance in sports is confidence and trusting yourself. While this may have been more of a fitness test, it’s necessary for people to know that they’re ready for [the conference meet].”
Last year, the Bearcats’ outdoor season was canceled due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Binghamton still competed at the indoor conference meet where it finished fifth on the men’s side and seventh on the women’s. BU also won three individual titles, although one of the title winners did not return this year due to graduation.
“I try to project my confidence onto the rest of the team because with the unprecedented circumstances people feel unprepared or worried about how they’ll do at the conference meet,” Baker said. “Despite that feeling, we’ve had incredible success across the entire team throughout the season.”
Baker credited his experience as an athlete as a critical part of his mentality heading into AE competition.
“I’m at the point now where I’m a very experienced jumper and know what to do to go out there and compete to the best of my abilities,” Baker said. “I’m not worried or nervous … the severe lack of a season I’ve had has allowed me to say, ‘I just wanna have fun with this and make the most out of it.’”
The 2021 AE Outdoor Track and Field Championships will take place on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2. The first day of the competition is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in Lowell, Massachusetts.