Following a season full of unprecedented success, the Plattsburgh State cross country team is eager to improve, exceed expectations and turn heads this year. The Cards, fresh off having productive weekends at the Cardinal Classic and Vassar College finished in the top 10 in both races. The team is looking build off that momentum going into the Ronald C. Hoffmann Invitational.

Head Coach Andrew Krug couldn’t have been happier of how his team has performed at these past couple of meets.

“I think we did really well,” Krug said. “It was good to see some strong performances.”

A calling card of last year’s team was how well they meshed with one another. Krug expects nothing different this season.

“We got a good veteran presence this season,” Krug said. “That will be important for us down the stretch and for our newcomers.”

Sophomore Mike Campbell agrees.

“The veteran presence on the team is very important,” Campbell said. “The upperclassmen who have a lot of experience with these longer races can give us information that can helps us perform the best we can.”

The Cards will now face the first of many tests. Their next meet will be a adjustment for both the men’s and women’s team as they will jump to a 8k and 6k race, respectively.

“I think the team will perform well,” Campbell said. “There may be a few younger runners who might not be prepared for the 8k or 6k, the course is slightly hilly, which could be a problem, but I think everyone will do well.”

This past week at practice has been about getting the newcomers and returners prepared for the transition to longer races.

“It’s going to be a change­­ but I think our training and work ethic will have us ready Saturday,” Krug said. “Running in a race like that this early in the season will be good for us. It will only make us a better team.”

“We’ve been increasing the distance of our runs, mostly just to get mentally ready,” Campbell said. “I think everybody on the team has been working very hard. We also have a few new guys that are placing high on the team which is improving our team average time.”

Saturday’s race will be a good gage to how the team stacks up against opponents like St. Lawrence and New Paltz.

“We see St. Lawrence a lot over the season,” Campbell said. They’re always a good, tough team. I think it’s extremely important for us to see New Paltz as well.”

Campbell said that once SUNYACs roll around at the end of October, New Paltz is going to be one of the teams that will be close to them in the scoring.

“Seeing them now will give us a good idea of what we need to do to beat them at SUNYACS,” Campbell said.

Krug said there will be a lot of teams at the invitational that they will face throughout the season so it’ll be good for the team to compete against them.

“I know they’re up for the challenge,” Krug said.

With the team’s strong start, the Cards are confident they can replicate their success for the entire season.

Krug said that team chemistry will be a key factor as well.

“We got to trust each other,”Krug said. “We don’t want to change who we are and I want to make sure we run our race.”

Email David Luces at managingeditor@cardinalpointsonline.com

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