The return of winter weather means the return of the indoor track season for the Plattsburgh State track and field team who will kick off the 2018-19 season tomorrow in Canton.

The Saints Holiday Relays at St. Lawrence University will be the first of two meets at the location before the athletes head home for break, and will largely serve as a measuring stick for work that needs to be done for the rest of the season.

“We’re not looking for anything crazy,” head coach Nicholas Jones said. “We might get some PRs just because people have been working hard and doing some good things, but we’re just trying to see where we’re at going into the following week and into the break.”

Short distance runners and throwers have been hard at work in practice for several weeks now, but this return of distance runners who had two weeks off after cross country has the team in high spirits.

“Everyone’s cheering each other on in the workouts; people are working hard,” Jones said. “Cross country athletes are getting into the swing of things too.”

Junior Elisabeth Plympton is returning after representing the Cardinals at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Division III national championships last season.

“I like indoor better than outdoor, so right now is my favorite time,” Plympton said. “I’m pretty close to where I left off last year. It can only keep going up every year.”

The nature of Plattsburgh’s climate means that training is almost completely relegated to indoors once the end of November and beyond creeps up, but Plympton said that it isn’t affecting the team much.

“Our coach always finds a way to make it the best he can,” Plympton said in reference to Jones. “The other day he rented out the Crete Center, and we ran on the turf there.”

The upcoming Holiday Relays race will be slightly abnormal, as it will feature 300-meter and 500-meter races, as well as the typical 60-meter, 600-meter, 1000-meter and all of the throwing events.

“A lot of the underclassmen are further ahead than they were last year already, so I’m excited to see what they can do,” Plympton said. “We’re all going to run something kind of fun that’s not really our event, so we’re just going to see what we can do. I think a lot of us are expecting some good times.”

While the 300 and 500-meter events are rather unusual and inconsequential when it comes to SUNYAC and National qualifiers, Jones was glad to use it as a training opportunity.

“We’re not seeing a lot of SUNYAC or National events,” Jones said. “It helps us training-wise when it comes to over-distance stuff. It’s just a little bit further than the runners would normally go.”

For the most part, though, the team isn’t going into this race with too many expectations.

“We’re just looking to see some solid performances, see where we’re at and see how much work we need to do over break,” Jones said.

Email Ben Watson at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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