The Syracuse cross-country season truly began last Friday afternoon at Franklin Park in Boston. After two meets featuring the depth beyond the top 7 runners, it was finally time for the top group to compete. At the Coast to Coast Battle, the SU men finished 2nd behind #3 Oregon, while the women earned a 3rd place finish. Full results can be found here. The men remain at 8th in the current National rankings while the women have jumped up 3 spots to 11th.
Senior Jesse Petersen paced the women finishing 10th overall as SU finished with 134 points, behind #1 Michigan and #5 Georgetown. With the 3rd-place finish, they were able to beat out Northeast regional rivals- Boston College, Dartmouth and Providence. Following Petersen last Friday were Margo Malone in 16th place and Sydney Leiher in 31st. The women will need to continue to close the gap between their 1st and 5th runners as the season progresses, but this is a good start to their season. Here's some footage of the women's race courtesy of Flotrack.org
Martin Hehir led the men with his 4th place finish, as the Orange finished with 52 points trailing only Oregon’s 24. How did the meet go for the Orange? Well, let’s hear directly from Head Coach Chris Fox (video courtesy of LetsRun.com).
If you are wondering why Fox gave the men’s team a B- performance in a race where SU placed 9 runners in the Top 25, here’s what he might be looking at from watching the meet highlight video from Flotrack:
It's clear that the Orange remain competitive with Oregon for the first 5k. As the pace picks up for the final 3k, the Syracuse pack loses some contact with one another. A 10-second gap doesn’t seem like much, but at the NCAA meet it could mean losing 10 places and greatly impact the team standings.
As Coach Fox said, it’s September and this team is training to peak in late-November. Times aren’t as important as seeing how individuals compete and I believe he was hoping to have a closer 1-5 gap based on the relatively slow pace of the first 5k.
After Hehir, Seniors Reed Kamyszek and Max Straneva earned top-10 finishes. As veteran runners, SU will lean on these two to serve as anchors for some of the younger, and potentially faster, runners as SU moves deeper into the season.
The Boston meet also marked the debut of heralded recruit Justyn Knight, which ends the speculation of him taking a red-shirt this season. Knight finished 21st overall and in the 6th position for SU in his 1st collegiate meet. Knight'still remains
After the race, Flotrack spoke with Martin Hehir to get his impressions of the Orange performance
Watch more videos on Flotrack
The Orange will not race again until October 17th when they travel to Wisconsin for the Meet of Champions. It will be interesting to see how both the men's and women's teams are shaping up heading into the ACC Championships.