After competing on indoor tracks around the Northeast for the past three months, the Binghamton men’s and women’s track and field teams will take part in their season-culminating meet — the America East (AE) Indoor Track and Field Championship this weekend.
Last season, both squads finished near the top, with the men taking second for the eighth time in nine years and the women coming in third for the fourth consecutive year. Contributing to this team success were several impressive individual performances, specifically those of then-juniors Jon Alkins and Keishorea Armstrong. Both Alkins and Armstrong earned the men’s and women’s Coaches’ Awards for recording the most points during the meet.
This year, however, such success may be harder to attain.
“I think our men have a chance for second, but I think it’s going to be close,” said BU head coach Mike Thompson. “I think we’re going to be somewhere between second and fourth. I’m hoping the men are top four and the women are top three; I think that’s realistic.”
The women’s squad will be without Armstrong, who is redshirting this season to retain eligibility for next year. Armstrong has been the most successful member of the women’s team in recent memory. In 2015, she became just the second BU athlete to garner All-American honors after placing 24th in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. At last year’s indoor championships, Armstrong earned 24 points for BU, winning the long jump, 60-meter dash and placing fifth in the triple jump. She will return to the track for the Bearcats for the outdoor season.
On the men’s side, Alkins, the 2016 200-meter champion and 60-meter runner-up, is expected to lead the sprinters once again.
“Jon Alkins for the men is definitely the guy,” Thompson said.
Senior Eric Holt, who came close to running a four-minute mile at the Boston University Last Chance Indoor Meet two weeks ago, will compete in the mile, the 3,000-meter and the 1,600-meter leg of the distance medley relay at the championships. At last year’s meet, he was second in the mile (4:12.45), but has since shed more than 10 seconds from his time.
“[Holt will] be an important part of the puzzle for us,” Thompson said. “If he does what he’s capable of, then he’ll do very, very well.”
Other promising entries for the Bearcats include senior Peter Fagan — the defending AE champion in the pole vault — and junior Ted Okon, who advanced to the regional during last outdoor season.
One the women’s side, Thompson expects the 400-meter event to be a triumph of BU’s sprinters.
“[Seniors] Sarah Osaheni and Ana Herbert are great; I think both of them are going to be in the top four when the final declarations come out, so they could do well,” Thompson said.
In 2016, Osaheni was third in the 400-meter with a time of 57.50.
The Bearcats will also look to its throwers to round out their performance at the meet. Junior Brooke Bonney was the runner-up in the weight throw last year and is the AE Women’s Field Athlete of the Week after her throw of 59-5 feet this past weekend. Junior Oyin Adewale will lead BU in the shot put; earlier this month, she reset the program record with a throw of 42-10 1/4 feet.
“Brooke [Bonney] is ranked second in the weight and I think she’s capable of scoring in the shot put,” Thompson said. “Oyin [Adewale] is ranked pretty high in the shot put and she’s capable of scoring in the weight, so we hope that they help us out.”
The championships are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center.