The Plattsburgh State cross-country team is primed to perform their best for its most important stretch: championship season. Team chemistry has been one of the reason why this year’s squad is one of the deepest and versatile the program has had since 2012.
Coach Andrew Krug couldn’t possibly be happier.
“I think it’s great. Everything is falling into place like we thought it would in the beginning of the season,” Krug said. “Just having them all be a part of something bigger than themselves and knowing that they’re bringing the program up as a whole … that says a lot.”
How well the newcomers and freshman have meshed with the upperclassmen and bought into the team mentality has gotten the Cards on pace to improve at SUNYAC and regionals.
Krug said that without that chemistry, the team could be in a darker place.
“It definitely shows that things are going well,” Krug said. “People are positive, and we just got to keep working towards that team goal and stay focused.”
Last weekend the team got some needed experience at a course they’ll come back to in November for one of the most important races of the season.
“Everybody ran really well last weekend. I’m happy with how the race went considering the size of the course” Krug said. “We definitely saw some consistency in the middle of the pack, and that’s something we take with us going forward.”
For junior Ethan Vinson, it was another good building block for the team.
“It was nice to be at the course and see that level of intensity there. It will definitely help us down the stretch,” Vinson said.
“Everybody been working together and that’s what we’ll need to do to if we want to continuing doing good.”
Krug stressed that he wants the team to run faster at the end of the season, as they will start to see a lot more New England and Atlantic regions teams in their next meets.
“It’s a strategic move to see how well we stack up against some the best teams in the country” Krug said. “It going to be crucial. That is what our workout schedule is based around being ready for those final meets of the season.”
With a little more than a month left in their season, Krug expects the team to get better as they get closer to those two crucial meets. “Just trying to stay fresh and control all the things we can control and just continue doing what we’ve doing all season. If we do that, we’ll see where we fit in (the conference) and a good idea where we stand as a whole.”
An advantage the Cards will have compared to others is home-field advantage. The team will be hosting SUNYAC, and Krug said that’ll be a positive.
“You don’t have the wear and tear of travel. We’ve been able to train and workout on our course all season long, it makes it much more easier and makes us more confident.”
One thing Krug is keeping his eye on is how the freshman fit into the puzzle in terms of SUNYAC and regionals.
Trust and familiarity between the runners will play a big factor. Freshman Hannah Despres agrees.
“Last weekend was a good introduction race. It was different and more aggressive,” said Despres. “We know each others’ tendencies, I know who starts aggressively and who needs to push who when, and it really helps when we get to our bigger races.”
Though it could be a stressful time for some teams, Krug said that when you know everybody is giving their all it makes his job that much more fun.
“I think the best is yet to come from our athletes.
Email David Luces at firstname.lastname@example.org