Mackay returns to NCAA outdoor meet

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Graduate student Emily Mackay is on his way back to an NCAA championship encounter – for the fifth and final time in his historic Binghamton career.

The distance running star placed third overall in the women’s 1,500m final at Saturday’s NCAA East Region meet at Indiana University in a record time of 4:11 .65. Racing in the second of two 12-runner heats, she also finished third. The top five runners from each round — plus the next two fastest times — qualified for the NCAA Championships, which take place June 8-11 at the University of Oregon.

Mackay’s best time in the race – and overall – was 4:10.80 by Shannon Flockhart of Providence. Mackay’s previous school record of 4:13.57 was posted at the Virginia Challenge on April 22.

Mackay will join male teammate Dan Schaffer at the NCAA Championships in two weeks. On Friday night, he finished sixth overall in the 5,000m. It’s the first time the Bearcats have posted a pair of qualifiers for NCAA competition in the same season since Jesse Garn (men’s 800m) and Keishorea Armstrong (women’s long jump) qualified in 2015.

With her latest accomplishment, Mackay has now made the second most trips to the NCAA championships in Binghamton’s 21-year NCAA Division I history – a mark she shares with Rory Quiller. Mackay has qualified for the past two cross country meets, the indoor championships in March as well as two consecutive outdoor track meets. Erik van Ingen, meanwhile, took part in seven of these meetings between 2009 and 2012.

Also on Saturday, senior Aziza Chigatayeva finished 16th overall in the women’s 3000m steeplechase (SC). Racing in the first of three 16-runner runs, she finished seventh in a school record time of 10:06.77. The top three in each run—plus the next three fastest times—qualified for the NCAA Championships.

Chigatayeva shaved seven seconds off her previous mark of 10:14.31, which she recorded at the Virginia Challenge on April 22. She entered the Eastern Region meet ranked No. 32 out of 48 entries.

Binghamton’s last competitor to meet the NCAA East Region was a graduate student Brittany Korsah, who finished 39th overall in the women’s triple jump. His distance was 39-10 ½. This marked the last meeting of his career.

Mackay, Schaffer, Van Ingen, Garn, Quiller and Armstrong represent six of the seven NCAA Championship qualifiers Binghamton has posted in its 21 years in NCAA Division I. They are joined by Cazal Arnett, who qualified for the 2009 indoor competition in the men’s 400m. Four of them (Van Ingen, Garn, Mackay and Schaffer) were trained by Annette Acuffdistance coach who has held the position since 2000.

REMARKS: The women’s 1,500m preliminaries at the NCAA Championships are Thursday, June 8 at 10:56 p.m. EST. The finals are set for Saturday, June 11 at 5:41 p.m. The men’s 5,000m, meanwhile, is set for Friday, June 9 at 10:55 p.m. EST.

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