The Plattsburgh State cross-country team has one thing on their mind as they hit the home-stretch of the season: championships.
This Saturday at the pre-Regional meet in Geneseo the team gets one step closer.
After an intense week of training and workouts, senior Emma Deshaies believes that will pay off Saturday and for the rest of the season. “This is pre-regionals, we’re going to be back on the same course for the most important race later in the season,” Deshaies said.
For the freshmen who aren’t used to the stage and atmosphere of the more competitive races to come. Deshaies wants to make sure they are ready and confident in themselves. “This is the course where you want to push yourself and come back to with good memories. I’m excited to see how well they do they have been really progressing.”
Experience and familiarity earlier in the season should bound well for the Cards. “Saratoga (Invitational) was kind of their first taste at a regionals feel, but now you add 15 more teams and 100-plus runners to the mix … It’s the next step up for them,” head coach Andrew Krug said.
“Also having that pre-SUNYAC where they ran the 6 and 8k meet already — now it’s just applying what they learned from that race to this one. It’s nice that it’s not the first 6 and 8k, so having that behind us is good going forward.”
Krug said this weekend is really important for the team, as they are trying to narrow things down on who’s going to run at SUNYAC and regionals. “We’re going to find out who’s racing in those meets as we come down the final stretch of the season,” Krug said. “This is crucial for us. We’re looking to find some consistency and try to put together a fast and deeper team.”
Though there will be more applied pressure on the team this weekend, Krug thinks it can be positive. “It’s a great motivator. Obviously we’re looking for some friendly competition, but it’s up to everybody to give their best and 100 percent effort for the team going forward.”
A highlight of this year’s cross-country season is how well the newcomers and freshmen have meshed well with the veteran runners who have been there before.
“It’s exciting. Hopefully it pushes them as they race further on the rest of way but also for next season as they look to improve,” Krug said.
One thing Krug stressed is that his runners shouldn’t be afraid to lean on each other and that when they work together that’s when good things to tend to happen.
Freshman Hannah Despres can attest to that.
“At the start of the races they’re like my saving grace so I can get out fast enough and secure a good spot,” Despres said.
enough and a securing a good spot,” Despres said.
This being her first season running for PSUC, Despres can already tell these meets coming up will be more aggressive but is confident in the team’s abilities, as it has worked to improve its pack time throughout the season. “I think we’re in pretty good shape we’ve been training really hard,” she said.
Junior Ethan Vinson agreed, saying the combination of training and rest couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cards. “Our legs are a little fresher, and we are mentally and physically sharper,” Vinson said.
Vinson credits the team’s depth and new faces as one of the reasons why this year is different than previous teams. One reason is that this team has more runners who can step up when need be at anytime. “We have the benefit of having those people on the team I expect us to improve from last year,” Vinson said.
“We’re excited to be entering championship season — for conference, it’s wide open. It all depends on how well we show up. If we come prepared we should do fine.”
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