In their first meet of the year, the Binghamton track and field teams opened up the indoor season at the Cornell Greg Page Relays. The Bearcats boasted four first-place finishes and freshman Brian Luciano set a school record in his first collegiate competition.
“There were a lot of great performances and a couple of exceptional performances,” said Binghamton head coach Mike Thompson. “A few that we were hoping would be better, but that’s normal. I thought overall, it was a very strong first meet.”
Luciano set the Binghamton record in the weight throw by getting a distance of 59-10.5 feet. This mark was about nine inches over the previous record set in 2014. In his first meet as a Bearcat, Luciano placed second in the competition.
“I knew [Luciano] would throw well, and I was hoping he would get the freshman record,” Thompson said. “I wasn’t necessarily expecting him to get the school record. He almost broke 60 feet, which is a goal and a milestone. It was a great first meet. To come in as a freshman in your very first collegiate competition and break the school record, that’s a pretty big deal.”
On the men’s side, two Bearcats finished atop their events. Senior Marcrene Jeannot placed in the gold position for the triple jump with a meet-best distance of 47-10. Jeannot also competed in the long jump for the first time in three years, placing sixth and recording a personal best of 22-8.5 feet.
“For [Jeannot], that triple jump that he won, that’s kind of an average jump for him, but he actually looked much better in the long jump that he didn’t win, but he had a personal best and he hasn’t long jumped in almost three years,” Thompson said. “To come in really with no expectations in the long jump and then jump further than he’s ever jumped, he was very excited. It was great that he won the triple jump, but honestly, I thought his long jump was the best performance, the better performance for him.”
The other half of the men’s top finishes was senior Cian Galligan in the 3k. The senior started off his season with a time of 8:41.28. The other two men to place in top-three positions were senior Mark Scanlon in the mile and junior Marcus Johnson in the 500-meter dash. Scanlon recorded a time of 4:29.39 while Johnson finished the trip in 1:06.31.
“[Galligan] ran a really solid race,” Thompson said. “I spoke to him a little bit afterward, and he was happy with it. So I think for him, it was really just a good start to the season.”
On the women’s side, junior Jenna Chan and sophomore Hillary Abankwa won their competitions in the 60-meter hurdles and 300-meter dash, respectively. Chan ran the long part of the track in 8.60 seconds. Abankwa ran the one-and-a-half laps in 40.20 seconds, a collegiate best and second all-time in BU program history. Chan also competed in the long jump, finishing fourth with a distance of 18-1.75 feet.
“[Chan] did pretty much what we thought she would do,” Thompson said. “She’s looked fantastic all year, and the same with [Abankwa], I mean she’s very good. She’s a great competitor, and she ran really well which wasn’t totally unexpected, so they both look good.”
The rest of the women’s side combined for a trio of podium finishes as sophomore Lucciana Robertson placed second while freshman Alyssa Armitage and graduate student Stephanie Cassens earned a third-place spot. Cassens earned the bronze spot in the 500-meter with a time of 1:16.43. Robertson recorded a personal best in the high jump at 5-06 feet while Armitage pole vaulted 11-08 feet in her first meet as a Bearcat. Overall, 13 women finished in the top eight.
“[Robertson] didn’t have a great year last year,” Thompson said. “So to see her jump the highest that she’s jumped since her junior year in high school was very exciting for us and for her … Armitage in the pole vault looks great. The height that she jumped isn’t indicative of how well she did.”
This is the first meet for the Bearcats in the indoor meet, and they won’t return to action until after winter break.
“A lot of this December meet is a big deal for the freshmen,” Thompson said. “It’s good for them to get their feet wet. A lot of times they can be nervous. First time in collegiate competition, so it’s partly that. It’s also partly just to give them a chance to compete after three months of training. [It] wears on you after a while where you’re training every day for three full months and not competing, so I think it’s great to give them a meet before they head off for the winter break.”
BU returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Upstate Challenge. The first event is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Barton Hall in Ithaca, New York.