Over the weekend, the Binghamton track and field teams competed at both the Bucknell Team Challenge and Cavalier Challenge. With one gold and eight other podium finishes at Bucknell, the Bearcat men earned a third place finish out of nine teams while the Bearcat women came home in sixth. At the Cavalier Challenge, redshirt senior Aziza Chigatayeva highlighted the meet, earning gold in the women’s 3000 steeplechase invitational event.
“They did a pretty good job of competing, despite tough conditions,” said Binghamton head coach Mike Thompson. “Overall I thought it was a good step toward the conference meet next weekend.”
BU sent six athletes to the Cavalier Challenge in Virginia where Chigatayeva came away with a first-place finish in the 3000 steeplechase invite event. The Bearcat clocked in a time of 10:07.78, slightly slower than her program record-breaking performance at the Raleigh Relays last month.
“It was another solid race for [Chigatayeva],” Thompson said. “She was running by herself for most of the race, so she wasn’t really challenged and consequently the time wasn’t her best, but it was still a really solid time. There aren’t many people in the entire country that can challenge her, so it’s hard to find a meet where she isn’t the best one, but I think it sets her up really well for the rest of the season.”
Junior Jenna Chan was the only other Bearcat at the meet to register a top-10 finish. Chan competed in the 100 hurdles and placed 10th with a time of 13.88, good for second all-time in Binghamton history.
At Bucknell, graduate student Spencer Thomas was the only first-place finisher, earning the win in the discus throw with a toss of 155-1.00 feet. Sophomore Robert Menocal also competed in the discus and placed third with a 151-1.00 foot throw. Additionally, sophomore Jaston Ormsby came in second in the hammer throw with a 180-7.00 foot throw. On the women’s side, junior Gianna Hoose secured fourth place in both the discus and hammer throw events with tosses of 127-7.00 feet and 151-6.00 feet, respectively.
“The throwers are doing really well, the men and the women,” Thompson said. “So I think they’re just continuing to perform like they have for most of the year.”
Binghamton turned in a plethora of podium finishes at Bucknell. Senior Nick Malfitano and junior Marcus Johnson turned in a pair of second-place runs in the 110 hurdles and 400 hurdles, respectively. Malfitano registered a time of 15.03 and Johnson came in at 55.65. Senior Nick DeFelice placed third in the 3000 steeplechase, clocking in at 9:32.52. Moreover, both freshman Samson Joseph and junior Taiki Hirooka earned bronze in their respective events. Joseph crossed the line in 49.57 and Hirooka finished in 22.27.
On the women’s side, the top finisher of the meet was sophomore Zoe Rose in the 1500 event. The Bearcat secured a second-place finish with a time of 4:41.15. Freshman Angie Mesa-Espinosa followed Rose up with a third-place time of 12.57 in the 100-meter event. Fellow freshman Alyssa Armitage earned second in the pole vault with an 11-11.75 foot leap.
“We pride ourselves on having a balanced team,” Thompson said. “A team that has athletes in all the events, and this week showed that for sure.”
When the final scores were timed and tallied, the Bearcat men earned third place overall out of nine teams competing at Bucknell. Now heading into the championship portion of the season, Binghamton will adjust its approach in training over the next few weeks.
“Training for us this time of the year is more about getting sharp, maybe a little less volume,” Thompson said. “Just allowing the athletes to recover a little bit so they can be at their best at the conference meet … The intensity stays up, but the volume drops. That allows them to feel, recover and get more fresh as they compete in the championship season.
BU will return to action next weekend at the Penn Relays starting on Friday, April 28. Events will take place all day Friday and Saturday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.