Bucs senior pens intent with Siena College
OSWEGO — Oswego High School senior Miranda Gilbert experienced the New York State cross country meet for the first time back in her sophomore year.
This Saturday at SUNY Plattsburgh, Gilbert will race in it once again in her final cross country season with the Lady Buccaneers.
“I’m really excited for it,” she said. “I’m kind of nervous, but more excited.”
Oswego coach Catherine Celeste said, “She was very determined this year. She worked hard and pushed herself. She met her goal and we’re very happy for her.”
Gilbert qualified for states at last weekend’s Section III Class A meet. Battling knee injuries throughout the season, she was the last of five individual runners that advanced to the state meet. Gilbert took 10th overall with a time of 19:54.
“I didn’t feel as well during the (sectional) race, but I just kept going until the finish,” Gilbert said.
Celeste mentioned how Gilbert’s work ethic at practice led to coaches dialing her back a bit, saying, “We had to restrain her a bit because she wanted to work so hard. She is very dedicated.”
Gilbert’s first trip to states was an eye-opening experience for her. With Oswego competing in Class B at the time, she took 30th with a time of 21:42.
“I don’t remember what it was like exactly, but I’m excited to see it again,” Gilbert said about running at states her sophomore year.
Last season, Gilbert missed out on states by a couple of spots. She finished 10th overall (20:34) in the Section III Class A meet, but fell short by 13 seconds for the final state spot behind her teammate, Molly Fitzgibbons.
“She didn’t like the way that ended so she was determined to not let (not advancing) happen again,” Celeste said.
Since Gilbert has seen what states has to offer — and is also fueled by missing the cut last season — Celeste said the “sky’s the limit” for her chances this weekend.
“I think the first time (at states) was just the experience,” Celeste said. “She has some drive and wants to do well. She wants to place in the top 20. She has the potential. Miranda is a goal-setter.”
The temperature in Plattsburgh may be a factor for Gilbert and the other runners, with highs between 18-20 and a wind chill around 7.
For Gilbert, the cold is her preference over warm temperatures.
“Usually I can handle colder temperatures over warmer," she said. "I’m hoping it’ll be fine, but I’ve never really raced in those conditions.”
Nonetheless, Gilbert is ready to take on the best of the state in Class A.
“There’s a lot of competition, which I’m looking forward to,” she said.
When Gilbert’s XC and track career at Oswego is all said and done, she will be moving on to compete in those sports at Siena College. The Saints are part of NCAA Division I, competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
“I can’t wait. On my visit there, I loved everything about it,” she said. “The team and coaches were really nice. Everything just clicked.”
Celeste added, “I’m excited for her. She’s ready for some more growth. She hasn’t reached her potential yet. She wants to learn.”
Gilbert thinks the transition from high school to college will be OK, but knows it’ll take some work.
“I think it’ll be all right,” she said. “It won’t be as hard as I thought it would originally be. Talking to the girls at Siena, it seems like their schedule is better than a high school schedule.”
The goal for Gilbert is to tackle her knee injuries even more in college, which involves a strict regimen.
“I’m hoping to get rid of the knee problems,” she said. “The goal is to go out there with a training plan.”
The competition between high school and college XC/track will be a drastic change for Gilbert. She sees it more as a chance to get better with every race and event she competes in.
“It’ll be something I’m not used to. It’ll be very competitive, but I think I’ll improve a lot,” she said.
Celeste mentioned when it comes to Gilbert trusting herself and the coaches, she said, “Miranda picked Siena, so she trusts the coach. When you put the trust in your coach, good things happen.
“She’ll be a great asset when she goes to college. She has four years to be the best she can be.”
Gilbert also considered Bryant University in Rhode Island, another Division I program, before choosing Siena. She plans to study political science while attending college.