The Binghamton men’s and women’s track and field teams finished fourth and third, respectively, in the Upstate Challenge at Cornell over the weekend. There were seven teams in both competitions. BU head coach Mike Thompson wasn’t focused on the team scoring, however, as he asserted that he allowed a few of his athletes to skip the meet to rest and train this weekend.
“I thought that overall we did fine because we didn’t go into the meet trying to score points,” Thompson said. “We actually sat out a few of our best athletes to get them ready for next weekend, but I thought overall the team is beginning to sharpen up.”
A notable trio of second-place finishes highlighted the women’s team this weekend. Graduate student Keishorea Armstrong recorded a noteworthy time of 7.60 seconds in the 60-meter race to earn the second-place spot. Senior Sunja Joseph triple-jumped her way to second place with a jump of 36 feet and 7 1/2 inches. Sophomore Samantha Beyar also took second place in the pole vault with an 11-foot, 11 3/4-inch finish, following a first-place finish last week at the Great Dane Classic.
“It’s usually around this time of the year that people get into a rhythm and start performing better, so I think we’re right on track,” Thompson said. “Improvement across the board is the goal, our focus is on the conference meet.”
The men were led by sophomore Troy Zanger, who took first in the heptathlon with a score of 4,762 points. Seasoned veteran graduate student Eric Holt also ran a solid 1,000-meter race, finishing in second place with a time of 2:27.04.
“I thought several people stepped up and ran better today, which was really good to see,” Thompson said. “But in general I thought it was a solid performance in the context of preparing for the end of the season in late February.”
Holt’s influence and Thompson’s coaching abilities also helped freshman Adam VanValkenburgh to shine at this meet. VanValkenburgh took second place in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:00.44. Junior Nick Green also progressed a couple inches, literally, from last week’s meet in the shot put. The Saratoga Springs native improved 2 1/2 inches from last week to take second place with a throw of 48 feet and 2 1/2 inches.
“In general, I’m hoping that next weekend we’ll have a few people that really step up and qualify for the [Eastern College Athletic Conference] Championships,” Thompson said. “Now that we’re at the midpoint of our indoor season, I’d like to see people not just doing well relative to the time of year, but really putting up some big performances regardless of what time of year it is.”
Another promising takeaway from this meet was the performance of freshman runner Sophia Gelard. She earned a notable time of 1:19.73 in the 500-meter race to finish third in the event.
Next week the Bearcats will be competing in two meets. Some of the team will travel to University Park, Pennsylvania for the Penn State National Open while the rest of the team will compete at Cornell again in the Kane Invitational. The Penn State meet will take place over Friday and Saturday, while the Cornell meet will take place on Saturday.