The Binghamton men’s and women’s track and field teams had a solid outing in their first true meet of the season at the Great Dane Indoor Classic. The men’s and women’s squads finished fifth and sixth, respectively, while accumulating several individual successes.
Although the Bearcats faced tougher competition than they did at their last meet — the Southern Tier Collegiate Open — they put together a good showing on the track.
“The meet on the seventh was really kind of a glorified practice,” said BU head coach Mike Thompson. “It’s so early in the season — coming right off the break — that the competition level was pretty relaxed. There weren’t many teams there and teams that were there had partial squads. [The Great Dane Indoor Classic] was a real track meet. [There were a] lot of great athletes at this meet.”
Despite the increased depth of competition, with 14 schools participating on the men’s side and 18 on the women’s side, BU pulled off some impressive victories. Two highlights from the meet were senior Eric Holt, who placed first in the 3,000-meter run (8:17.78) and senior Alana MacDonald, who finished in first in the 800-meter run (2:14.92).
Several athletes broke program records at the meet. Junior Ted Okon broke the BU indoor high jump record with a jump of 6 feet 10 1/4 inches. Additionally, freshman Matthew Baker set a school record in triple jump with a 49-0 feet, to finish in fifth place.
Thompson said he was happy with the teams’ performance and expects them to only improve as the season goes on.
“Early in the season, people tend to be more tired,” Thompson said. “[They are] not quite as ready to really do as well as they will months from now.”
He said the team saves its greatest intensity for the conference meet and championship season, which begins at the end of next month.
“As long as the effort and the focus is there, I’m happy,” he said. “And if the effort stays consistent and the focus stays consistent, the results will come with time.”
Thompson hopes that focus and effort continue into the team’s upcoming meet at the Cornell Upstate Indoor Challenge this weekend. According to Thompson, every meet lends itself to a specific portion of the team. BU’s upcoming meet at Cornell will be ideal for field event athletes, while sprinters and runners will train through the weekend. He expects the jumpers to perform particularly well at Cornell.
“In some meets, people are competing in their main events and their goal would be to get personal best times,” Thompson said. “At other meets they may be running or doing different events or they’re looking at it more like a training perspective. This meet for us, traditionally, is a little bit of both.”
The runners specifically will be training more than competing because Cornell has a flat track instead of a banked track, Thompson explained. A banked track allows runners to go faster by helping them make turns easier. Runners will wait until their meets at Penn State, Boston University and New York City, which have banked tracks, so they will have more chances to compete.
Thompson hopes his team takes advantage of these early meets to keep improving for those late, important conference meets and the championship season.
“These earlier season meets, it’s more about just kind of getting back into the rhythm of things,” Thompson said.
The Bearcats are set to compete at the Upstate Indoor Challenge on Friday and Saturday. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday from Barton Hall in Ithaca, New York.