One week after setting a program record in the 800-meter event, Jesse Garn outpaced himself. Against some of the top collegiate runners in the NCAA at the Iowa State Classic, the Binghamton senior ran a time of 1:46.98, the fifth-fastest mark in the country so far this season.
“The race at Iowa State was totally surreal and a dream come true for Jesse and our program,” Binghamton coach Annette Acuff wrote in an email. “We’ve been working for this for three and a half years now. To see our vision for him and our program become a reality that day is really hard to put into words.”
The runners with the top-16 times in the 800-meter event will qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships held through March 13-14, hosted by the University of Arkansas. Prior to the race at Iowa State, Garn sat in 13th place in those standings. After Saturday’s race, Garn all but assured himself an opportunity to compete for a championship, jumping eight spots in the rankings.
“This race was set up to purely run as fast as possible,” Garn wrote in an email. “There was a pacer and everything. My coach and I talked before the race about just running off of the pack, and focusing on closing the last lap.”
How does it feel, being named one of the fastest in the nation?
“It’s hard to describe the feeling, it was a combination of excitement and shock,” Garn wrote. “I was jumping up and down when I saw my time, hugged my coach, and shortly after proceeded to expel my lunch into a garbage can. I’m still coming down from cloud nine.”
The race featured some of the top 800-meter runners during the 2015 season. Garn finished behind Edward Kemboi of Iowa State, whose time of 1:46.09 is currently the fastest recorded in the NCAA this year. Florida’s Andres Arroyo was 0.69 seconds off of the leader.
“Interestingly enough, stacking up against the number one collegiate runner in the country (amongst many others in the top 16), I felt the most comfortable,” Garn wrote. “I was confident in myself and the training I have done to get to this point… It was overall a great performance, and an incredible experience.”
Aside from Garn, other members of the Binghamton track and field team competed at the Cornell Invitational on Sunday. The Bearcat women captured three individual victories on the day. Sophomore Keishorea Armstrong came out on top in the triple jump with a height of 39-7 1/4, while freshman Brooke Bonney and junior Tori Shaffer were victorious in the weight throw and high jump, respectively. Armstrong also finished second in the 60m event.
For the BU men, junior Joe Miceli was victorious in the pole vault event, jumping a height of 16-4 3/4. Sophomore Peter Fagan finished second in the event, recording the same height.
Next up, the Binghamton track and field teams are scheduled to compete this weekend at the America East Indoor Championships. The first event is set for 10 a.m. on Friday at the New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in New York, New York.