The Plattsburgh State track and field team continued to start its outdoor season off on the right foot with a strong performance at the Middlebury Invitational last weekend.

The women placed third out of four teams while the men placed third out of five, with both sides picking up several ECAC qualifiers.

Head coach Nicholas Jones was quite satisfied with his team’s performances on both sides.

“It was a good weekend, it was a good thing we waited until Sunday,” Jones said. “We definitely took advantage of the good weather, and we had some good performances and ECAC qualifying marks.”

The women saw a great weekend out of their throwers. Junior Heather Chapman won the discus with her ECAC qualifying throw of 37.30 meters and took third in the shot put. Freshmen Brianna Coon and Hannah Cunningham also had strong showings in the shot put, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

Trackside, the women didn’t slouch off either. Senior Stephanie Boucher ran a second-place finish in the 1,500-meter while qualifying for ECACs, and fellow veterans junior Lindsey Davenport and Lauren Perschetz took second and third place respectively in 800-meter. Freshmen Claire Deshaies and Elizabeth Plympton each picked up a second-place finish as well, with Deshaies competing in the 400-meter, and Plympton the 100-meter. Finally, the women grabbed one more second-place finish at Middlebury, with the quartet of Plympton, Deshaies, and juinors Ashlee Estes and Courtney Wilson running.

Away from the Middlebury Invitational, the women also sent two runners to run in the 10,000-meter run at Division II American International College in Springfield, Massachussetts. Junior Hayley Mooney and sophomore Hannah Despres finished fifth and sixth respectively. They were the top-finishing Div. III athletes in the event. It was the first time Despres had ever competed in the 10-K (kilometer), but she hopes to get the chance again.

“Honestly, I was expecting the 10-K to be pretty grueling,” Despres said. “Now, after running, I think it may be my new favorite event.”

The men’s side saw several strong results as well.

Junior Sobaan Ayub and senior Zach Grandy dominated the 400-meter hurdles, taking first and second place and with both qualifying for ECACs, while senior Ethan Vinson took second place in both the 800-meter and 1,500-meter. In the 5,000-meter, sophomore Matthew Jenkins and freshman Anthony Erno finished third and fourth respectively.

Freshmen Jarret Pidgeon and Alex Hepburn both had strong meets in field events, with Pidgeon tying for fourth in the pole vault and Hepburn nabbing fifth in the javelin.

Vinson was proud of his team’s performance.

“Everyone did pretty well and did what they were supposed to do,” Vinson said. “We had some standout performances, and I think it was a good step in the right direction.”

More than anything, though, the team seems to be enjoying the beautiful weather that has recently arrived at PSUC.

“Just having the sun out and it being warm, and being able to wear shorts and a t-shirt, it’s definitely a mood-booster,” Vinson said.
Despres agreed.

“Everyone’s really excited and positive,” Despres said. “The weather’s really nice right now, and everybody’s kind of pumped up. There’s a lot of energy around.”

Up next this weekend, PSUC will be competing in two places. Friday and Saturday, a smaller group of competitors including Ayub, Grandy, Boucher, Jones, Vinson, and Perschetz will run at the Bison Outdoor Classic hosted by Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. Saturday, the rest of the team will be running in the RPI Upstate Classic, hosted by RPI in Troy, N.Y.
Vinson said that the Bucknell group’s objective is simple.

“We’re just going to run fast,” Vinson said. “We’re travelling the six-and-half hours or so to get down there, so the goal is to run as fast as possible, and get some fast times.”

When speaking of the Bucknell group, coach Jones was confident in his runners ahead of their big meet.

“We’re Looking to run some faster times,” Jones said. “Lauren will run the steeple-chase for the first time this season, and Ethan will run the eight (800-meter) fresh. The 400 hurdlers will have some competition, and Kyle will have some competition. There should be 47 or 48 guys there from Div I or II teams, and Stephanie will also have some competition in the 800 (meters).

Definitely, some school records could go down, but we’re just looking for some solid marks.”

Email Ben Watson at sports@cardinalpointsonline.com

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