For the Plattsburgh State cross country team, this season has been nothing short of special. As the team inches closer to SUNYACs and regionals, it continues to exceed its own expectations.
A calling card of this year’s team has been the performances of the newcomers and how they’ve been able to step up when called upon. That continued last Saturday at the Hamilton Invitational.
“I think we did really well,” head coach Andrew Krug said. “It was good to see some strong performances from those that are on the bubble of making the SUNYAC team. It was a challenging course, so it was nothing but a positive for our runners.”
Krug said the Hamilton (Invitational) was a little more relaxed, and the Connecticut College Invitational is a different animal and will be a huge race.
“MIT, Tuffs and Keene State who are all ranked in the New England region will be there. SUNYAC teams like Oneonta will be there as well.”
“It’s important to go in there and race tough against those teams,” Krug said. “It’s great as we go forward and see what other competition brings and see their quality of training and work ethic.”
With one more race until championship season, Krug said the pieces are falling into place and his runners have continued to impress him but also made it tough deciding who he will take to SUNYACs and regionals.
On the men’s side, freshman Tom Collins, who missed time earlier in the season with a broken wrist, led the squad with a 10th place finish Saturday. Collins said the team has improved over the course of season and are on the same page collectively.
“At Connecticut, it will be really good for our team to see some bigger competition, and it’s good to expose them to that as we get closer to postseason. We’re looking to really compete at SUNYAC, and I think we are capable of a top-five finish.”
Junior Stephanie Boucher, a member of the PSUC women’s team currently ranked 10th in the Atlantic Region, agrees.
“We are a really strong team,” she said. “We all know we’re working towards one goal, and we know we’re good.”
Boucher is excited for Connecticut because her previous school didn’t go to these bigger meets, and she feels that it will be a good experience for her and the newcomers.
“It’s a nice change of pace. We’ll kind of get that SUNYAC feel and how intense it will be,” Boucher said.
One reason this year’s squad is on pace to be the best the program has seen since 2012 is how they all came together at the right time.
Collins credits the leadership shown since day one.
“We have a great group of guys this year. The captains have really lead us better than anyone could have hoped for.”
Krug said the foundation the team has created bodes well for them for championship season and in the future.
“It’s a team effort,” he said. “Everyone just fit so well together. It comes from the leaderships to our captains down to the last guy on the team.”
Krug also points to the newcomers and the returners in bringing something his previous teams didn’t have.
“Our new guys brought in some fresh energy that was needed, and our returners came back hungry and motivated.” Krug said. “It’s great seeing the young guys catching onto things so quickly and being part of something special. I’m excited to see how they do.”
With the growing optimism around the team, Krug stressed they need to stay focused on the task at hand.
“If everybody continues to work hard we’ll be in good shape,” Krug said. “I want to make sure everyone plays an important piece to our puzzle.”
Email David Luces at firstname.lastname@example.org