By Collin Bolebruch
The Plattsburgh Cardinals indoor track and field team hosted its third-to-last meet of its season Wednesday, Feb. 8, its first home meet since 1999. Teams competing at the meet were the SUNY Potsdam Bears, the Middlebury Panthers and the St. Lawrence Saints.
Seventeen Cardinal athletes established new personal records across various events, including Sarah Smith’s 5:38.33 one mile run, Rebecca Christie’s 5′ 1.75” high jump and Kaitlyn Bjelko’s 12.42m shot put. Bjelko’s number was her first throw beyond 12m in competition and served to qualify her for both the SUNYAC and AARTFC Championships.
“It felt awesome, for sure,” Bjelko said. “I’ve been trying to hit 12[m] for quite a few weeks to surpass it by a pretty good margin.”
Twelve Cardinals posted numbers to qualify for the SUNYAC Championships: Brexton Montville’s 7.06s, Julius James 7.41s, and Jordan Williams’ 7.19s 60-meter dash; Charles Cypress’ 23.89s 200-meter dash; Aidan Masten’s 20′ 9” long jump; Aidan Tous’ 41′ 7.25” shot put; Christie’s high jump; Bjelko’s shot put and 40′ 3.5” weight throw; Jessica Landman’s 1:05.89 400-meter dash; Smith’s one mile run; Marissa DeLuc’s 10.53s 60-meter hurdles and 4′ 10.25” high jump; and Michaela Schaffer’s 16′ 7.25” long jump. Montville’s 60-meter dash, Christie’s high jump and Bjelko’s shot put all qualified for the AARTFC Championships.
“This was a chance for people to do everything,” Head Coach Andrew Krug said. “Nothing stands out, it all is shining bright for me.”
The recent renovation of the indoor track and field facility at the Field House provided Plattsburgh with the necessary features to support essential events. Construction began in October 2021 and it was cleared for use in September 2022. The facility hosted its first official meet in December 2022 for local high school teams. It has been used for practice by the indoor track and field team.
“We get to practice here every day, so it kind of gives us an advantage,” runner Natalia Castro said. “But it’s also really cool to have all these other teams come here, because we always go to them.”
The team used the rare opportunity of home competition to honor its senior athletes properly as the season nears an end. Senior Cardinals featured by the team include Janyll Barber, Bjelko, Izzy Kocienda, Aiden Masten, Aislyn McDonough, Cody Monnat, Montville, Mikayla Osmer, Jasmine Piper and Tous.
“[The seniors] don’t get that, even at our home cross country meet. They don’t have that recognition,” Assistant Coach Jordyn Naylon said. “It’s cool that they had that.”
Seniors were rounded up during the meet, awarded with a red and a white rose and had their photo taken. The locality of the meet offered a rare chance for family and friends to come support Cardinals as they qualified for championship play.
“My family was able to come out to this meet, so that was nice. A lot of my friends and other people’s friends were here,” Bjelko said. “It was nice being able to have people watch for the first time.”
The Cardinals compete in a final meet before the end of the regular season at St. Lawrence Feb. 17. The SUNYAC Championships begin a week later on Feb. 24 and continue into the next day. The AARTFC Championships are a week after the SUNYACs on Mar. 3 and 4.