Binghamton star middle-distance runner Jesse Garn entered the Sykes and Sabock Challenge at Penn State with one of the most impressive resumes in BU history. On Saturday, the senior added to his list of accomplishments, setting the BU record in the 800 meter event with a time of 1:48.57 and out-pacing his competition by a full second.
“The 800 meters has always been my strongest event, and what’s more is that I have consistency with performing well when I run it,” Garn wrote in an email. “Workouts have been going well, and I was confident going into the race that I had a shot to win.”
Garn entered the race coming off a disappointing finish in his previous event. Competing in the New York City Armory Invitational on Jan. 31 — against a field which included a former Olympic medalist— the senior finished the mile with a time of 4:05.84, six seconds shy of his personal record. Such a dominant performance on Saturday was a major confidence boost for Garn.
“Although the Armory Invitational did not go as hoped, I was still able to take positives away from it, and reflect on racing tactics for the next time around,” Garn wrote. “I think the ball is rolling in the right direction again [after the 800m victory], and I feel good going into my upcoming events.”
Garn’s finish of 1:48.57 currently qualifies as the 13th fastest time at the NCAA Division I level so far this season. The top 16 finishers will qualify to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships, held on March 13 and 14 at the University of Arkansas. If the current standings hold, Garn will be running the 800 meter for a national individual title.
“Qualifying for the NCAA Championships has always been the dream, and I have come exceptionally close on several occasions,” Garn wrote. “I believe that I belong at that level of competition, and can have a successful showing. For myself, it would be a massive achievement, and it would be a great reflection of the Binghamton track and field program, especially the coaching staff.”
Other Bearcat athletes found success at Penn State, as well. On the women’s side, junior Alexis Hatcher broke the women’s school record in the mile with a time of 5:00.37. She finished 10th overall in the race. Sophomore Keishorea Armstrong placed second in the 60 meter with a time of 7.62 seconds and fifth in the 200 meter. Overall, the BU women finished 11th out of 12 participating teams.
BU’s men’s team placed eighth in a field of 11 teams. Aside from Garn’s victory, senior Ethan Hausamann finished third in the 5,000 meter race with a time of 14:34.58, while junior Joe Miceli tied for seventh in the pole vault. Sophomore Jon Alkins and junior Temi Bajulaiye each finished eighth in the 200 meter and 600 meter events, respectively.
Binghamton’s men’s and women’s track teams are scheduled to return to action on Sunday at the Ithaca Bombers Invitational, hosted by Cornell. The first event is set for 10 a.m. at Barton Hall in Ithaca.