For the second straight year, the Binghamton men’s track and field team finished as the runner-up at the America East Indoor Track & Field Championship while the women’s squad took third.
The two-day tournament occurred over the weekend at the New York Armory in Manhattan. Albany swept the competition, taking the top spot in both the men’s and women’s events, but both Binghamton teams had impressive showings, finishing in the top three in a field of nine teams.
This weekend’s meet marked the seventh time in eight years that the Binghamton men have been runners up to Albany. The women were also runners up to the Great Danes last year, after finishing third in 2013.
The women’s meet was highlighted by the dominant performances of Binghamton sophomore Keishorea Armstrong, who shared the Coach’s Award with UMBC senior Mercedes Jackson. The award is given to the athlete that accrues the most points throughout the course of the meet, and both Armstrong and Jackson racked up 22 points throughout both days of competition. Armstrong is the first female Bearcat to accomplish this feat in program history. She placed second in both the 60-meter run (7.63 seconds) and the triple jump (40-6.75), and took third in the 200-meter run with a time of 24.37 seconds.
Individual titles on the women’s side went to senior Daniella Olusoga — who totaled 3,512 points to win the women’s pentathlon — and junior Tori Shaffer — who snagged the top spot in the women’s high jump finals with a leap of 5-8.5 feet. Junior Kierra Arthur and freshman Jackie Crunden each took third in the women’s 60 meter hurdles and high jump, respectively.
In total, the women’s team scored 118 points to secure third place. Its next-closest competitor, New Hampshire, scored 107 points while first-place Albany finished with 118.
On the men’s side, there were a number of high-placing finishers to be found. Junior Adam McIe won the 800-meter race with a time of 1:51.82, just two-tenths of a second faster than his Albany opponent.
The men’s 4×400 meter relay squad of sophomore Jon Alkins, junior Temi Bajulaiye and seniors Jesse Garn and Josh Miller bested Albany’s team by just 28 hundredths of a second to take the top spot in the final race of the competition. Earlier in the day, Alkins won the men’s 200-meter dash in 21.67 seconds to repeat his first-place finish from last year. Bajulaiye ran a time of 1:04.88 to take the title of runner up in the 500-meter dash.
Senior captain Jesse Garn competed in the 1,000-meter run prior to helping the 4×400 relay team take gold. Garn, who recently set a new school record in the 800-meter run and competed at the NYC Armory Invitational — an elite race in which he was one of few collegiate athletes to qualify — appeared to win the race, maintaining a lead over his closest competitor down the final stretch. However, he was disqualified after the race for leaving his lane prior to reaching the track’s orange cones, which signal to runners that they may cut into an inner lane.
Despite Garn’s mishap, the men’s team was able to secure second place, scoring 133.33 points.
The Bearcats are scheduled to return to action on March 6 at the ECAC/IC4A Championships in Boston. Events are slated to start at 3 p.m. at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center in Boston, Massachusetts.