The Plattsburgh State cross country team ran its fourth race of the season Saturday morning alongside 15 other teams.
The Cardinals scored a ninth-place finish for both the men and women at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Saratoga Invitational at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Compared to prior races for PSUC this season, this meet feature two to three times the number of competing teams.
“This was definitely a more competitive meet,” head coach Andrew Krug said. “We had teams there that are in the national rankings as well as some that are ranked in our region.”
On the women’s team, sophomore Jasmine Roberts and junior Kristina Watrobski led the team in the five-kilometer race. Roberts placed 19th out of 192 runners, behind RPI’s Maddie Sturm, with a time of 18 minutes and 33.4 seconds. Watrobski placed 43rd, crossing the finish line at 19 minutes and 6.2 seconds.
In the men’s 8-kilometer race, the Cards were led by sophomore Andrew Horan with a time of 27 minutes and 3.7 seconds. He was 42nd out of 241 athletes.
“He’s been feeling good in workouts and has shown tremendous strength in both the St. Lawrence and Saratoga races,” Krug said.
Krug believes Horan’s improvements will prompt additional front runners for upcoming races and promote positive energy for his teammates.
Graduate student Scott Downing placed 47th, crossing the finish-line at 27 minutes and 15.3 seconds.
In total, PSUC wrapped up the meet with 274 points on the men’s side and 272 points for the women.
Although, the Cards have been competing outside of their home grounds for the past two races, last week’s meet at Saratoga served as a familiar setting to many of the PSUC athletes, as several of them ran the course in high school.
Junior Mikayla Barrett explained how she is no stranger to the course at SPAC and has competed there at least nine times. She finished her five-kilometer race with a time of 20 minutes and 16.6 seconds, which is an entire 60 second improvement from her time last year.
Freshman Rebecca Block, a native of Long Island who ran a time of 19 minutes and 53.1 seconds, was the only individual on the team that had never raced at the course prior to Saturday’s meet.
As the Cards prepare to compete at Connecticut College on Oct. 13, this week’s training will have an added amount of difficulty. The Connecticut College Invitational will be expecting a larger turnout, with competitors coming from the Great Lakes region, the Atlantic region and the New England region.
“The Connecticut College race is one of our last big tests,” Krug said. “We will be seeing teams from all over.”
With the SUNYAC Championships less than a month away, Krug plans on shifting the workout intensity for his team during practice hours.
“This week is apparently a tough week for training but the practices and workouts so far have definitely helped in getting me sub-20 at Saratoga,” Block said.
To continue to motivate his team, Krug offers Gumptioneer Awards for outstanding athletes who show great physical and mental toughness in the course of the race or in practices leading up to that week.
“Freshman Tyler Marten has been showing pretty good improvement,” Krug said, making him suitable for this reward.
The intensive training will slow down as the SUNYAC Championship event approaches. The team and coaching staff are looking forward to the larger meets ahead.
“Everyone is inspiring each other to work harder” Block said.
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