The Plattsburgh State cross country team heads into its first big meet of the season this weekend at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
The women are riding high into this meet, having just been ranked 10th overall in the Atlantic Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The Cardinals join SUNY Geneseo as the only two SUNY schools in the top ten rankings.
This is the second season in a row that PSUC has achieved this feat, and head coach Andrew Krug likes the pattern that he’s seeing.
“I was ecstatic,” Krug said. “We finished ninth overall last year, and even though we lost some string runners in Lauren Perschetz and Stephanie Boucher, I knew we were bringing in some strong runners as well. I’m ecstatic that the ranking happened this early.”
The team has been bolstered by strong performances from freshmen like Jasmine Roberts, Jackie Corbett and Mikayla Anderson, while veterans like senior Lindsey Davenport and junior Hannah Despres have stepped up their game as well.
For Anderson, joining a team that has found success so early in her college career has been a welcome surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all honestly,” Anderson said. “We’re all putting in the work to get there, and I think we’ll only push further as the season moves along.”
The performance of Anderson, and freshmen like her, has been crucial to the team’s success so far this season. Their strong performance stood out to Krug in the Potsdam Invitational, where they took on the stiffest competition they’ve faced this season.
“Other coaches were impressed with what we did against St. Lawrence in the Potsdam meet. That’s really why I see that we’re in the rankings, our strong performance against St. Lawrence,” Krug said. “They’re consistently ranked nationally, and someone we expect to be towards the top when we get to regionals.”
The men’s side of the team did not get ranked regionally, but Krug was still happy with how the season has panned out.
“I’m thrilled with their performances so far. We’re a stronger, deeper team this year, it’s just going to take us a little time to break into those rankings,” Krug said. “The men’s region is extremely deep, so it will be tough to break in, but I think we can surprise some teams with how well we’ll do.”
Freshman Andrew Horan has helped contribute to the men’s success, finishing in a scoring position for the Cards in both meets this season.
Horan remarked on the fact that not being ranked does not bring the team spirit down, but pushes them to do better.
“We want to do our best to match them,” Horan said. “It’s not necessarily about intra-team competition as it is about showing that both sides are strong.”
Next up, PSUC will run in the Purple Valley Classic at Williams College on Saturday. The meet will feature high-ranked teams from around the country, and Krug is looking forward to his team facing this challenge head-on.
“I see this as one of the premier Division III meets of the regular season, so I expect it to be a high intensity, high caliber race,” Krug said. “I think it’s nice that we’ll get to see some of the best teams in the country this early in the year, and look to do our best against those teams.”
Email Ben Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org