Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Cards rock Field House

Plattsburgh local Tyler Baker clears a hurdle during the 55-meter hurdle Feb. 7 at the Field House.

By Justin Rushia

 

 

For most schools, a home meet does not seem like a big deal; however, Plattsburgh State is taking full advantage of their newly gifted opportunity. The Plattsburgh State Cardinals track and field teams hosted their second indoor meet in over 25 years Wednesday, Feb. 8. 

Home sporting events are a staple for every school. Athletes don’t have to travel, local families can attend the event, and student sections can all be gigantic advantages. The Cardinals track and field team is becoming accustomed to these huge home-field advantages. 

Cardinal Country came out and showed its support for the competing student-athletes. The home crowd was filled with familiar faces. Multiple other Cardinals sports teams were present, as well as fans, showing their support. Members of Plattsburgh’s volleyball team were fielding shot putts in the throwing pits, and soccer players from the women’s team were helping with the high jump. 

“To be able to feel the energy in the building is great. I know our student-athletes really appreciate their friends, teachers, and administrators being here,” said track and field head coach Andrew Krug.

Many of Plattsburgh’s upperclassman competitors did not get the chance to show out in front of their home crowd. Instead, they saved their legs for the Fast Track Invitational in Staten Island on Friday, February 9th. Underclassmen were able to show off their skills, with some upperclassmen out of the picture.

Anthon Brown, a first-year jumper, made the home crowd proud with an outstanding performance. He reached a height of six feet in the high jump event. The mark was good for first place. 

“You just feel so much more comfortable being able to compete in the same place that you practice,” Brown said. 

Brown was not the only first-year Cardinal to have an impressive day. Isaiah Ritter had an impressive day in the 55-meter dash, running the fastest time in the prelims and placing second overall in the final. Ritter also found success in the long jump, placing second overall behind fellow first-year Ethan Mulholland. 

“I didn’t feel nervous at all,” Ritter said, “I felt way more comfortable being here.” 

Plattsburgh’s new opportunities for home meets have led to alumni seeing a chance to compete at home. Kaitlyn Bjelko, a class of 2023 graduate, could not compete at home for most of her time at Plattsburgh. Bjelko was a standout thrower for the women’s track and field team during her time as a student. She was glad to have the opportunity to compete as an independent in front of her former home crowd. Bjelko threw the shot put a distance of 11.77 meters and won the women’s shot put event. 

“It’s always so exciting because when you’re away every weekend, you never get to experience that home-court advantage,” said Bjelko. 

The home meet also allowed for the perfect opportunity for Plattsburgh to recognize their senior Cardinals. Even though many of the seniors didn’t compete, they were given a nice ceremony in front of their home crowd. 

The meet also fell on National Women in Sports Day. Many female members of Plattsburgh celebrated this day by placing at the top of many events. No one is more proud of her female athletes than assistant track and field coach Jordyn Naylon.

“Being able to represent and push other women to be able to know that you can do well and achieve things that you might not think that you’re able to do is what I try and portray for my women,” Naylon said

First-place finishes for the female Cards came from Deanna Zoch in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.86 seconds, Mikayla Khadijah in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 10.02 seconds, Grace Estus in the 300-meter dash running 46.69 seconds, Becca Christie in the high jump with a height of 1.45 meters, and Taygin Jump in the weight throw reaching 12.94 meters. Zoch shattered her previous career best with her mark in the 55-meter dash, shaving .24 seconds off of her last time. Estus posted a career-best in the 300-meter race, while Jump also had her career-best throw in the weight throw, improving by 1.56 meters.

First-place finishes from the male Cards came from Tyler Baker in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.79, Ryan Beltran in the 300-meter dash with a time of 38.84, Nick Gelsomino in the 600-meter run with a time of 1:30.27, Anthon Brown in the high jump with a height of 1.83 meters, Ethan Mulholland in the long jump with a distance of 6.31 meters, and De’Andre Watson in the triple jump with a distance of 12.13 meters. Brown eclipsed his previous career best for the Cards in the high jump, while Mulholland also set a personal record in his event by .1 meters.

The Cardinals will be competing today at the Saint Lawrence University Open for their last regular season meet before the SUNYAC championships that will take place February 23rd and 24th. 

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