Over the weekend, the Binghamton track and field teams headed south to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to compete in the Penn Relays, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. During the competition on Friday and Saturday, the men’s and women’s relay teams saw action alongside two pole vaulters as the team came away with three relay finals appearances along with the first Penn Relays event victory in the program’s history.

“The Penn Relays is a fun event to compete at more than anything,” said Binghamton head coach Mike Thompson. “Usually, when the weather’s nicer, there’ll be a lot of people in the stands, and it’s a lot of races and that makes it fun. This past weekend, it was pretty wet and cool, so there weren’t as many people there. But you know, as far as a two-day meet goes, nothing different really.”

The top performing Bearcats were the men’s 4×400 relay squad, composed of senior Nick Malfitano, sophomore Joey Cardascia, junior Taiki Hirooka and freshman Samson Joseph, who took home gold in the Eastern Section final on Saturday. In their qualifying heats on Friday, they ran a 3:22.54 to win their heat and qualified in fourth overall despite poor weather conditions.

“It was miserable,” Thompson said. “I mean, every team that ran, ran well below their best for the year. Nobody ran even close to what they were capable of running, including us. So it was good that they had great attitudes and they still competed hard and they made the finals.”

Running in the late afternoon on Saturday, Binghamton found itself in fifth place heading into the final leg of their relay final. However, a 47.85 time clocked in by Cardascia boosted the Bearcats up four positions and into first place, as the quartet crossed the finish line with a final time of 3:16.23 and a .28 second margin of victory over second place. The quartet’s victory made program history as it is the first time BU has won a title at the Penn Relays.

Also making it to their final rounds on Saturday were the women’s 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams. The women’s 4×100 raced their way into a finals appearance on Friday through a top-two finish in their qualifying heat, with a final time of 47.15. While the 4×400 squad finished just outside of the top two in their heat, they managed to qualify as one of the next five fastest teams with their time of 3:52.41, besting America East (AE) opposition UMBC and NJIT in the process.

The Bearcats continued to make history, as the 4×400 relay squad managed a seventh-place finish out of nine teams. In the college section, they finished with a time of 3:47.21. This pace gives the squad — featuring seniors Serena Gay and Sophia Morone, graduate student Stephanie Cassens and sophomore Hillary Abankwa — the fifth-best 4×400 time in program history. The 4×100 relayers, meanwhile, ran a 47.33 to finish in ninth place out of nine teams in their final.

“Well, the 400×1 relay ran an okay time for them,” Thompson said. “I think they had one hand off that was maybe a little bit off, but the 400×4 they ran extremely well. That was our best time of the season and they’re in great shape going into the [American East Conference Meet].”

The only relay team to not qualify for Saturday’s final contests was the men’s 4×100 squad, who came just .69 seconds short of qualifying on pace after failing to secure victory in their heat Friday. Also competing on Friday in the pole vault was freshman Alyssa Armitage, who finished in a tie for 16th place with a leap of 11-5 feet, and junior Brandon Love, whose leap of 15 feet landed him in ninth place.

Binghamton now set its sights on the AE conference championships, scheduled to take place from Saturday, May 6 to Sunday, May 7 at the University of Albany Track and Field Complex in Albany, New York.