Coming out of the long Columbus Day weekend, the Plattsburgh State cross country team is preparing for the most important race of its season, while also enjoying the success they’ve had so far.
On the women’s side, senior Stephanie Boucher and freshman Annie Campbell expressed their happiness with just how well the season has gone so far.
For Boucher, helping the team get ranked has been fun, but also a little bittersweet.
“It’s been cool, we’ve improved from where we were last year, we weren’t ranked this high at this point last year,” Boucher said. “It’s exciting, but it’s also sad because I don’t really want it to end.”
Boucher has been a prominent part of the women’s success this season, being a finisher in several of this season’s meets and being the team’s second finisher behind Lauren Perschetz at the Saratoga Invitational.
“I wasn’t too thrilled with my times at first, but at my last meet I had a personal record,” Boucher said. “I’m pretty excited, and hopefully the rest of my season continues like that.”
Campbell offered some insight on what it’s like for the team to be having a successful year while being a freshman on the team.
“It feels really cool, because I honestly didn’t expect it, Campbell said. “But it feels good to be new to the team while having all of this success and excitement going on around me.”
She also had some thoughts on the transition from high school to collegiate running.
“It’s different, in high school we would have workouts every day, but it would be more laid back,” Campbell said. “But here there are more long-runs, and the practices are more important.”
On the men’s side, junior Stephen Schnalzer also expressed happiness at the team’s performance so far this season, but acknowledged that there is still more to do.
“There’s room to improve, but I think we started at a good point,” Schnalzer said. “At this upcoming race we’re going to have a great opportunity to run faster times, and improve on our compression between our top 5 and top 7.”
Schnalzer has been a factor in the men’s scoring in several meets this season, most recently being the team’s 6th finisher at the Saratoga Invitational.
“I’ve been happy with where I’ve been finishing personally,” Schnalzer said.
The Cards next meet will be the Inter-Regional Border Battle hosted by Rowan University on Saturday, October 15. The course will be the same one that will be later used for regionals, allowing the team to get an early look before the big race.
Coach Andrew Krug stressed the importance of seeing the course before the team has the pressure of the Regional Championships weighing on them.
“There is a confidence that comes with knowing the course that you’re going to run at a big, important meet, Krug said. “Just knowing what to expect from the course, and the terrain, it’s definitely an advantage to being able to see the course before you have to race a large important meet on it.”
Boucher and Schnalzer both agreed with Krug.
“It’s nice to know, and be comfortable and familiar with the course,” Boucher said.
“Running on a course before the intense pressure of a big race is huge,” Schnalzer said. “Just being familiar with the course, and knowing where to make moves, and having a sense of where you are compared to everyone else is definitely a great advantage to have.
The race a Rowan will be a good measuring stick for both regionals and SUNYACs, with PSUC facing some teams it hasn’t seen yet.
“We’re going to end up seeing a lot of the SUNYAC teams that we haven’t seen all season,” Krug said. “We’ll be seeing Cortland, Genneseo, Brockport, Oneonta, Oswego, so we’ll be looking to see how we match up against those schools.
It will also give the Cards a chance to see how they match up against teams from all around the country.
“This meet is one of the premier meets of NCAA Division III,” Krug said. “There will be representatives from the Atlantic Region, the Mideast Region, the South Region and New England, and we’re expecting it to be one of the best meets in the country to be at.”
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