Before taking first place in the women’s 5,000-meter race at the Binghamton Invitational on Saturday, junior Allison Davis hadn’t competed on her home course in over two years. In that time, her training has intensified and an affinity for a pair of hot-pink, watermelon-print socks has developed.
The socks, laced neatly into a pair of equally vivid neon spikes, helped her cruise to a time of 19:24.2, nearly a full minute faster than her 2014 time of 20:23. While the socks may have played a supporting role, Davis believes her consistent training and focus on improvement made the real difference.
“Coming such a long way — progressing each year and improving — that’s really all I wanted to do, and it’s a good feeling, because no one wants to just plateau, and seeing that improvement gives me confidence for the rest of the season,” Davis said.
Davis led the women’s race for the entirety of the course, which begins at the fields behind the East Gym, climbs the steep hills behind Newing College, and winds its way through the Nature Preserve’s Marsh Trail before heading back down through campus. After the second mile, Davis broke away from the rest of the pack.
“I tried to accelerate a little more, push it a little more and then it wasn’t until I was out of the Marsh Trail that I could see myself pulling ahead a little bit and trying to push it and progress throughout the race,” she said.
While Davis was the top finisher, the rest of the Binghamton squad wasn’t far behind, as the third through eighth spots were all taken by Bearcats, who averaged a time of 19:48.7. Also competing was Colgate, who had the second individual finisher while averaging a time of 20:12.1, and St. Bonaventure (20:58.3).
Freshman Jessica Cueva-Scarpelli (19:38.5) was particularly impressive for BU. She stuck with Davis for much of the race and finished third overall.
“[Cueva-Scarpelli] looked really good,” said Binghamton head coach Annette Acuff. “I’m very pleased with how she’s looked both meets so far and I think we’re going to see a lot of good things from her.”
On the men’s side, Binghamton also took top honors, besting second-place Colgate by over five minutes. Finishing first was senior Eric Holt, who led the field from the start, with a time of 24:43.6. Holt, who ran unattached due to his redshirt season, is by far BU’s top runner, and has finished in the top 20 at the America East Championships for the past two seasons.
For Holt, the decision to sit out for a season was not made easily.
“It is really hard; I really want to contribute,” he said. “It’s really hard to see me not contributing to the team because I am redshirting, but the reason I did this is because I think next year, we’re going to have a way better team and I think a team that will win conferences.”
Leading the charge for runners representing BU was sophomore Daryn Hutchings, who completed the 8,000-meter course in a time of 25:54.7. The second and third scorers for BU were graduate student Nate Kozyra (26:17.4) and junior Matt Gill (26:27.3). The top seven runners in the men’s race were from Binghamton, although four of those seven ran unattached.
“Those guys looked great today,” Acuff said. “We’re still early on in the season and just kind of looking to see where everyone’s at. Fitness-wise, training’s been going well and they competed well today, so I’m pretty pleased.”
Binghamton is set to return to action this Saturday at the Paul Short Run, hosted by Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.