Graduate student sprinter and jumper Keishorea Armstrong made the long jump to College Station, Texas this weekend as Binghamton’s sole representative at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships. This marked Armstrong’s second time competing at the national championships for the long jump event — the first was during her sophomore year outdoor season in 2015. After fouling on her first jump, Armstrong landed 18-9 ½ and 19-7 ½ in her second and third jumps, respectively.
While these jumps were down from her Feb. 25 20-7 ½ jump, which qualified Armstrong for the championships, she was able to place 13th out of 16 athletes, two places higher than what she was seeded coming into the meet.
“Keishorea’s run was a little off today and, consequently, she was well behind the board on her last two jumps,” said BU head coach Mike Thompson. “Keishorea is disappointed but she deserved to be here at this meet.”
The women’s long jump event was swept by Georgia, who went on to win the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time in program history. Junior sprinter, jumper and now five time All-American Kate Hall placed first with her final jump of 22-1. Teammates senior Keturah Orji and freshman Tara Davis took home second and third place respectively, with jumps of 21-4 3/4 and 21-4. The men’s championship was won by Florida State, marking the Seminoles’ fourth national title.
Despite jumping a foot behind her personal best, Armstrong recognized the significance of being able to qualify and compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships, especially as the only woman long jumper not from a major athletic conference, and as one of only three America East athletes competing at the meet.
“While I am disappointed in my performance, I am no less grateful to have received this opportunity to compete here,” Armstrong said. “As Coach Thompson has reminded me, making it to this meet is no small feat, so I cannot be entirely disappointed when I have so much to be thankful for. All in all, I am thankful for this experience because it is in these moments that I learn the most about myself. And, last but not least, I am thankful for everyone who supported and believed in me throughout the journey to this meet.”
Regardless of Armstrong’s personal disappointment with the way the indoor season concluded, she certainly managed to have an impressive season. At the America East Indoor Championship on Feb. 23, Armstrong broke the meet record with a jump of 20-4 ½. Her success at the conference championship led Armstrong to receive the Coaches’ Award for scoring the most points at the meet, and also be named the Northeast Region Indoor Field Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Despite this being Armstrong’s second time competing at the national championship, she remains the only female track athlete from Binghamton to have participated at this level. Only four male athletes have accomplished this feat in program history. With her 13th-place finish in the nation, Armstrong also gained the title of second-team All-American honors by the USTFCCCA. This achievement makes Armstrong the only female athlete from Binghamton to receive All-American honors twice, joining the ranks of only three other Binghamton athletes to have been awarded that title more than once.
Even though Armstrong’s performance at nationals was not what she had hoped for, her accomplishments during the indoor season only foreshadow more success this upcoming outdoor season.
“I suspect that she will be that much more motivated for the outdoor season,” Thompson said.