The SUNY Plattsburgh men’s track and field team are competing once again this fall and with a mix of new and familiar faces.
One of the new faces of the team, first year sprinter Deren Purisic, is a local out of Northeastern Clinton Central, and has come 30 miles south to continue his track career to the collegiate level. Like many athletes competing at the D3 level, it wasn’t just the program that brought him so close to home.
“It was about money; all about the money,” Purisic said.
Although Plattsburgh may not have been his first choice, Purisic has still found a solid group to help him through his first year not only on the track team but as a member of the club rugby team as well. This has helped him become a better runner and racer.
“I like to race, I like to win, simple as that,” Purisic said. “Rugby gave me some grit and some drive and relentless force to be a better athlete.” “There are definitely guys on the [track] team that I have gotten close to even before the season. As the season goes on I’ll get closer with the rest of the guys.”
Deren’s older brother Almas Purisic was a student at SUNY Plattsburgh until 2020 and was a rugby player as well and couldn’t be more proud of his brother taking on a finance major and two sports.
“It has taught me the discipline and management skills of balancing full length daily practices and alongside coursework. Deren wants to get the same experience that I had on top of taking on another sport and handling a job,” Almas Purisic said.
This being Deren’s first taste of college athletics, he is hoping to bring fast success to the team, and plans to continue that success for his remaining three years as a Cardinal.
“I want to experience a championship. Actually, I want to win a championship. I want to give the team a new life.” Purisic said. I want to bring an energy to the team that maybe has been missing.”
Competing at the high school level during the COVID-19 pandemic makes the experience coming back to normal just a bit better.
“Wearing masks and having to be outside and racing was kind of sucky,” Purisic said. “It’s good to be back to normal and racing.”
The team looks to start back up in the beginning of next month, and hopefully, shapes up to be the best season yet for the Cardinals track and field team.