The Plattsburgh State indoor track and field season ended with junior jumper/sprinter Jess Huber competing in the NCAA tournament, finishing fourth in the 200-meter dash finals and winning All-American honors, which hasn’t happened since Mike Heymann finished fifth in the 5,000-meter during the 2011 Division III Indoor Championships.
Huber went to NCAAs and competed in both the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. In the 60, Huber was unable to qualify for the finals after having a slow reaction to the gun. Huber said this caused her to run mad in the 200.
“I think I had just over an hour in between, so I went and kind of sat on the wall and was just thinking about how this is my chance in the (200),” Huber said. “So I ran mad and did really well and put up a top time.”
Huber was able to qualify with the best time to make it to the finals in the 200 the next day.
Huber was able to run in her favorite lane and felt different than she usually does before the race.
“I felt pretty calm which is weird because I usually am freaking out. I wasn’t freaking out as much as I usually do and I was in the race, I was in lane five, which is my favorite on flat track for 200, and the girl in six was the girl who won the 60 and was behind me in second-seed going in,” Huber said. “So I knew I had to make up the stagger, but I think I caught her too soon because, with about 5 meters to go, my body just kind of quit on me and I kind of collapsed.”
Huber finished fourth in the event with a time of 24.78 seconds.
Huber said that she was happy to be able to win All-American honors, but was angry because she knew she should have done better in her races.
“I am just disappointed I didn’t win, which I think I was totally capable of and should have been able to pull out, but everybody is really proud of me and happy for me, so I am just really grateful for that support,” Huber said.
“I think it’s cool because I knew going into that race Saturday I knew I just had to finish and I would be All-American, which I thought was cool.”
With the end of the indoor season, athletes transtioning between indoor and outdoor were able to get both a mental and physical break from competing and practice.
Head coach Nick Jones said it gave his team a chance to focus on academics for a week, instead of trying to juggle both.
He added that his team has been able to get it done academically all semester.
“These kids are always getting it done in the classroom academically, so it is a lot of stress, and they definitely needed this downtime to recuperate,” Jones said. “A lot of our meets are close, but they are competitive. It is really so we can focus on academics, making sure they are doing well academically and finishing off the year strong.”
Jones said he was happy with how the team performed and is looking forward to the team improving going into the outdoor season. He also said he is excited for the freshmen to keep improving.
“They are starting to get a picture of how things function at the college level,” Jones said.
One of those freshmen is sprinter Ben Wells, who was able to compete in ECACs his first season with the team and was one of the top male runners this year for PSUC. He said he was happy that he was able to hit the marks he set for himself throughout the season.
Wells said he is ready for outdoor and expects to get even better as the season progresses.
“It will be outdoor, so it will be a little bit faster of a track. I expect improvements in my marks already and just be faster,” Wells said. “I expect us to work together as a team and do better in SUNYACs overall.”
The scheduled meet at UAlbany, which was supposed to take place this Saturday, was canceled because of weather, making the first meet the Middlebury Tri-meet April 4.
Freshman distance runner Lindsey Davenport said even though there isn’t a lot of meets, having the first one canceled isn’t the worst thing.
“It wouldn’t have been very nice conditions with the weather and everything, but we will definitely be ready for the first race now,” Davenport said.
One of the adjustments the team will have to make between indoor and outdoor is that with being outside, the weather will factor into how races are ran.
Wells said that the cold isn’t the best to run in because the cold weather makes it more likely to get injured.
Jones is excited for the season to start and hopes the team is able to continue getting better.
“We are just looking for the weather to warm up, have some good performances, stay healthy and look forward to having a good season,” he said.
Email Nick Topping at email@example.com