The Binghamton men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their spring seasons with mixed emotions this weekend.
Less than 24 hours after junior pole vaulter Sarah Haley was injured in a random shooting at a Richmond, Virginia, Greyhound bus station, the Bearcats began their season on Friday at the Colonial Relays, hosted by William and Mary.
Haley and a small number of fellow athletes were traveling separately to the meet when a gunman opened fire at the bus terminal on Thursday afternoon during a counter-drug training mission by the Virginia State Police. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was discharged from the hospital on Friday, according to a press release from Ryan Yarosh, the University’s director of media and public relations.
BU Athletic Director Patrick Elliott and other staff members traveled to Virginia “in order to make sure that the coaches and athletes received the support that they needed,” according to the release.
Despite the situation, the Bearcats persevered. BU found success at the Relays, one of the largest outdoor track and field meets of the season, with a total of 88 teams participating over the weekend.
On the men’s side, the Bearcats finished seventh in a field of 44. Binghamton topped America East rivals UMBC, New Hampshire, UMass Lowell and Stony Brook as well as three teams from the Big East conference — Villanova, Georgetown and Providence.
Junior Jon Alkins and sophomore Ted Okon paced the Bearcats, each landing in the Binghamton record books. Alkins placed third in the 200-meter race, recording a time of 21.17 seconds — besting the previous school record which he set in 2014-15 by .09 seconds — while Okon finished second in the men’s high jump. His height of 6-9 ¾ feet topped a school record that was set in 2004.
Sophomore Sunja Joseph and senior Alexis Hatcher led the Binghamton women. Hatcher recorded an eighth-place finish, out of 54 competitors, in the 3,000-meter race, recording a time of 10:05.46, while Joseph was fifth out of 40 in the triple jump.
Both the BU men’s and women’s track teams are set to compete in two meets next weekend. Binghamton is scheduled to open the weekend on Friday at the Sam Howell Invitational, hosted by Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, before heading to Ithaca, New York, for the Cornell Outdoor Invitational on Saturday and Sunday. Start times for both events have yet to be announced.
Editor’s note: The Binghamton track and field athletes and coaches were not made available to comment for this story.