Most students here at SUNY Plattsburgh return from Thanksgiving break anticipating the end of the semester. However, for members of the PSUC track and field team, their workload is just beginning.

The Cards will have their first chance to prove themselves this season on Saturday at the Saints Holiday Relays.

The incoming freshmen class will be able to show their coaches what they are capable of in a race-type situation—something they have yet to see.

Although there is a heightened anticipation for the opening race, all of the runners on the team realize how crucial their preseason work has been. Two-a-days, intensified training and team building have filled the weeks of preparation that the team has gone through.

“Everyone’s trying to get better,” sophomore Haley Mooney said. “It’s also really nice to see different people pushing each other. That definitely helps.”

Last year, PSUC was successful enough in its regular season endeavors to make the ECAC Championships. Through competing with that caliber of competition, many of the runners feel that race experience will prove to be helpful. Being in a high-pressure situation as the ECAC Championships molds a better runner.

In terms of experience, senior Zach Rose, returning for his final indoor season of winter track, has a lot to offer the team. With respectable credentials such as placing fifth at the Ithaca College Invitational in the 5,000 meter as well as an 18 placing at the SUNYAC championships in the same event, Rose is no stranger to success.

Looking forward to his senior year, Rose is focused on putting everything he has on the line.

“It’s my last year,” Rose said. “I want to be able to end the season without any regret.”

As the holiday season approaches, all members of the track and field team will look to use their time off wisely. In college athletics, the winter season proves to be interesting due to the fact that the winter intermission splits up the season.

For about a month, the runners will be expected to follow their regiments in their home setting. In most cases, a team will get together for preseason and will work continuously through the course of the season. Although the circumstances are unusual for track and field athletes, the runners and coaching staff of PSUC believe they will power through adversity.

“In this case, you’re going to see who really wants it,” head coach Nick Jones said. “It’s their responsibility to improve over break without us coaches, so you have to have some mental strength.”

Jones is a big advocator for the importance of mental strength when it comes to running.

He believes running forces the athletes to dig deeper than any other sport.

For this upcoming season, the Cards are ready to just that—dig deep. The ultimate goal is to compete March 11 at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Rose is prepared to improve both his running and that of his teammates this season and hopes to have a good showing at the championships.

A new season offers a blank canvas for all teams. All the Cards have to do is decide what the final picture will look like.

Email Kevin Morley at kevin.morley@cardinalpointsonline.com

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