Over the weekend, the Binghamton men’s and women’s track and field teams took on the 2022 America East (AE) Track and Field Championships, finishing third and fourth, respectively. The Bearcats went home with five individual conference titles as well as a 4×800 relay title under their belt.
“I think we did as well as we could do,” said Binghamton head coach Mike Thompson.
On the first day of the meet, sophomore Brandon Love and redshirt junior Aziza Chigatayeva picked up 10 points apiece for BU. On the men’s side, Love took home gold in the pole vault with a clearance of 14-09.00 feet, recording his first-ever AE title. Later that day, Chigatayeva recorded her third-straight 3K steeplechase title, registering a time of 10:32.83 to win the event by 14 seconds.
“[Love] was jumping really well,” Thompson said. “He could’ve jumped higher, but he decided he wanted to go straight to 16 [feet]. Honestly, he was jumping so well. He was jumping off poles he’s never jumped off before and he wasn’t used to.”
Chigatayeva’s counterpart in the men’s 3K steeplechase, junior Marty Dolan, also netted some points for the Bearcats with a second-place finish. His final time of 9:05.60 earned eight points to keep BU competitive with Albany and UMass Lowell on day one.
Heading into day two of the meet, Binghamton made less of an impact off the track but kept itself on the upper echelon of the leaderboard on the oval. The men’s team received an early six-point contribution by the 4×100 relay team and was immediately followed by 10 points courtesy of redshirt senior Dan Schaffer. The Bearcat beat out UMass Lowell graduate student Derek Holmes in the 1500-meter event by less than a second to win the title, posting a final time of 4:01.13. Despite the early success of the Bearcats, Albany later dominated the men’s 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter events to blow out UMass Lowell and Binghamton.
“We tend to have a lot of talent and a lot of good results,” Thompson said. “We just don’t have the depth. We just don’t have the numbers.”
The Bearcats received some consolation from the men’s 4×800 relay team as well as the decathlon efforts of junior Nick Malfitano. The 4×800 relay clocked in at 7:35.26 and was the front-runner for the majority of the race, earning 10 points for BU. Malfitano grabbed another 10, tallying a score of 6,265 in the decathlon over the course of the championship.
“In the 10 events in the decathlon, he had the best mark in six of them,” Thompson said. “Usually in the decathlon, you’re going to have an event or two where you don’t do very well, and he pretty much nailed every event.”
The women’s side also struggled to compete with UMass Lowell and Albany but showed some promise on the track, nonetheless. In Sunday’s 100-meter hurdles event, sophomore Jenna Chan finished second overall with a time of 14.06. Immediately following Chan’s performance on the straightaway, redshirt senior Emily Mackay was set to compete in the 800-meter event. Although her final time of 2:06.46 didn’t beat her season-best of 2:04.47, which currently situates her at 22nd in the nation, it earned her the AE record and title in the event.
“[Chigatayeva, Mackay or Schaffer], I don’t think they were going out to run crazy fast times as much as they were just being aggressive, but just making sure they were in position to win,” Thompson said.
The men’s team earned 112 total points to take third overall. UMass Lowell was second with 195, and UAlbany grossed 235 points. The women’s side earned 99 points overall for fourth place and was topped by UMBC, UMass Lowell and Albany.
Binghamton’s next competition is the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference/IC4A meet on Friday, May 13 to Sunday, May 15. The time and location for the meet are yet to be announced.