The Plattsburgh State track and field teams had an uptick in competition this past week when they traveled to UAlbany and competed in the UAlbany Spring Classic.
Head coach Nick Jones said the meet gave the team the chance to compete against top tier teams and force them to compete at their highest levels.
“It is good to go against a Division I or Division II team every once and a while to push us, and I think they did well. They performed well, a lot of people stepped up and it was a good little meet,” Jones said. “It definitely helped the top-end people who have been winning a couple meets.”
The meet saw many of the athletes qualify for ECACs on both the men’s and women’s sides.
On the men’s side, junior sprinter Luke Potash qualified for ECACs in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.99, beating the qualifying mark by 0.06 seconds and as a part of the 4 x 100 meter relay, along with junior sprinter/ hurdler Zach Grandy, freshmen sprinter Ben Wells and junior sprinter Esa Jessop, who finished in sixth.
Grandy said the 4 by 100 team did pretty well, but there is still room to improve.
“The one thing we need to work on is our hand-offs, which is a good thing because that is an easy thing to fix,” Grandy said. “We work on that in practice every day, and having good hand-offs is very important because every tenth of a second counts in the 4 by (100).”
He said that the group has been practicing all week to perfect their hand-offs and be ready for the next race.
“We have the speed, we are all fast enough, we just need to get our hand-offs down, which I know that we can do,” Grandy said.
Grandy also competed in the 400-meter hurdles, where he said he still needs to improve to be able to qualify for ECACs at the RPI meet this coming weekend.
He said he hasn’t run as fast as he wants to this year and feels like he can do better in the next meet.
“I expect myself to qualify for ECACs in the 400 hurdles, which I know I can do,” Grandy said. “I know I have the capability, I just need to work on my form more with hurdles, and my pacing in between each hurdle in an important thing to do.”
On the women’s side, Jones said three competitors and a relay team competed at their highest level for the team.
He pointed to the strong performances from junior sprinter/jumper Jess Huber and senior throwers Amanda and Ashley Gadway.
One of the performances Jones highlighted was that of the 4 x 800-meter team of junior mid-distance runner/ sprinter Christen Averill, sophomore distance runner Melanie Taylor, freshman distance runner Lindsey Davenport and junior distance runner Emma Deshaies, who were able to qualify for ECACs.
The group ran to a time of 10.06.48 and beat the ECAC qualifying mark by six seconds.
“They qualified for ECACs basically running by themselves, so that was good and the weather was picking up at that time, so they did a pretty good effort to hit the qualifying mark in the weather we had.”
The next meet, the Capital District Classic in Troy, will be used as a final tuneup for the team before SUNYACs.
Grandy said that this meet will be a test run for him in the 400 hurdles and as a part of the men’s 4 x 100 team.
“After this week, we only have one more week until SUNYACs, so depending on how our 4 x (100) does and how I do in the 400 hurdles. I think is going to set us up really nice for SUNYACs,” Grandy said.
Jones said the weather has been getting better with each passing meet and should continue to improve at this meet.
He also said this is the team’s last chance to qualify, so he is hoping for good performances from the team.
“We are bringing in as many people as we possibly can to try to get some good performances and get some more qualifiers before the SUNYAC weekend,” Jones said. “As we are getting later and later into the year, the weather gets nicer every weekend, hopefully it is nice, so we finally see some good performances because they have been working hard and help them going into SUNYACs the following weekend.”
Email Nick Topping at email@example.com