Team and individual accomplishments
Runner Garn places fourth in 800 meters at NCAA Championship, is first team All-American
Senior middle distance runner Jesse Garn concluded his stellar season with a fourth-place finish in the men’s 800 finals at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 12 at Heyward Field. In the process, he clinched first-team All-America honors for the first time in his career.
The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) awards first-team All-America honors to finishers 1-8 in an event at the NCAA Championships. Places 9-16 are named second team All-Americans while finishers 17-24 are awarded honorable mention status.
Garn clocked a time of 1:49.74. Edward Kemboi of Iowa State won in a time of 1:49.26, followed by Brandon Kidder of Penn State (1:49.36) and Clayton Murphy of Akron (1:49.74).
As he did in the preliminaries on Wednesday, Garn was tucked in towards the back of the pack through the first lap of the race. He then made his way in the outside of the track and was with the lead group at the top of the final straightaway. Kemboi, who won the same event in the NCAA Indoor Championships, pulled away from the group over the final 50 meters.
The fourth-place finish by Garn is the best by any Binghamton athlete at a NCAA Championship event since Donnie Vinson was third in the 149 weight class at the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The most recent first-team All-America performance in track came when Erik van Ingen was eighth in the 1,500 at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Meet.
“I am super proud of Jesse considering this was his first time in a (NCAA) final,” assistant coach Annette Acuff said. “It was a slow pace for the first 400 but he raced very smart and really went for it at the end of the race. To finish in the top half of the finals of NCAAs is fantastic.”
Baseball standout Thomas drafted by Toronto Blue Jays
Jake Thomas of the Binghamton baseball team was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 27th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft. Thomas is the fourth Bearcat drafted in the last four years and the 10th in program history.
The native of Merrick, New York was taken with the 812th pick in the event. Thomas became the third BU outfielder chosen in the last six years. He was a three-time First Team All-America East pick and helped the Bearcats win consecutive America East Tournament titles in 2013 and 2014. Thomas is the school’s all-time leader in on-base percentage (.453) and walks (132) and ranks in the top ten in every offensive category at BU. He won the 2015 John Bilos Award at Binghamton’s Annual Varsity Awards Banquet.
“I am honored to be a part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization,” said Thomas. “I have wanted to play professional baseball since I was a kid and this is a dream come true. I want to thank my family, teammates, coaches, and fans for all of their support. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
“This is such a well-deserved honor and opportunity for Jake,” said Binghamton coach Tim Sinicki. “He’s worked as hard as anyone I’ve ever had in the program and set his sights on this day from the moment he stepped on campus. The Blue Jays are not only getting a quality player, but an outstanding young man. I couldn’t be more proud of Jake.”
Softball captures first-ever America East crown, advances to NCAAs
The Binghamton softball team swept a pair of games against top-seeded Stony Brook, winning its first-ever America East title in early May at University Field. The Bearcats entered the day needing to win a pair of games against the Seawolves and proceed to reel off 5-2 and 9-3 victories. In the process, the Bearcats earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman pitcher Sarah Miller was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. She scattered two runs on five hits and struck out four batters to record the complete-game victory in the opener. In the nightcap, she allowed two runs on four hits through four innings before turning the ball over to junior Cara Martin in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Bearcats were nursing a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the six inning, but erupted for five runs to blow the game open. Senior shortstop Caytlin Friis drilled a two-run double and scored two batters later on a three-run home run by junior outfielder Sydney Harbaugh. Both Friis and Harbaugh (who finished the tournament with three home runs) joined Miller on the all-tournament team.
Armstrong first Binghamton University female track athlete to reach NCAA Championship, earns All-America honors
Sophomore sprinter Keishorea Armstrong capped her season with a 24th-place finish in the women’s long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 11. The four-day meet was held at the University of Oregon.
Making the first appearance by a Binghamton female at a NCAA Division I track & field championship meet, Armstrong’s best jump was 19-0 1/2. She fouled her first two attempts but was able to land on her final attempt.
Quanesha Burks of Alabama won the event with a distance of 22-8.
Armstrong will formally be recognized as an honorable mention All-American by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) at the conclusion of the meet on Saturday. The top eight finishers in her event will earn first-team status. Places 9-16 will be named to the second-team while finishers 17-24 will be tabbed honorable mention.
The meet capped a six-week stretch for Armstrong which began with her scoring a meet-best 35.5 points at the America East Championships, which were held May 2-3. From there, she swept both the long jump and triple jump events at the ECAC Championships (May 16-17) and was sixth in the long jump at the NCAA East Regional meet on May 28.
“For someone who had only started long jumping competitively three months ago, I can’t say enough about the year Keishorea had,” head coach Mike Thompson said. “It was bittersweet tonight because her first two jumps were really good if she had not fouled them. She was a little more conservative on her last jump because of that. Still, she is only going to improve more from here.”