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Syracuse XC: Two Tickets to Terre Haute

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Both Syracuse cross-country teams qualified for the NCAA Championship meet on Friday afternoon. The Orange will move on to race next Saturday in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The Northeast Regional meet played out like the rest of this cross-country season has for the Syracuse squads. SU's men's team used their superior depth to win their 5th Northeast title in the last six years, while the women's depth issues led them to a 4th place finish. Both teams advance to next Saturday's NCAA Championship meet, but they will head to Terre Haute with different expectations.

The Syracuse women received an at-large bid after their 4th place finish (154 points). Iona won the women's race with a score of 91 points Margo Malone once again led the women with a 5th place finish. Maura Linde joined Malone in earning All-Region honors with her 25th place finish. Finishing right behind Linde was Jesse Petersen in 26th, and rounding out the Orange scoring was Rebecca Skodis (41st) and Sydney Leiher (57th).

SU will head to Terre Haute without the pressure of expectations. I don't think the last two weeks have gone as well as the team would have liked, but they get one more race and despite any disappointment, they earned the program's 4th trip to the National Championships in the last 5 years.

For most of the men's 10k race on Friday, it looked as though Iona or Providence would take the title. At the 7k mark, Syracuse was 40 points behind Iona, but led once again by Martin Hehir in 6th place, the Orange finished strong to claim first place and an automatic bid. Syracuse finished with a total of 45 points to edge out Providence by 3 points. The Orange won despite resting Max Straneva and Justyn Knight, which was the luxury they had coming in with a bid secured.

Each week, we've marveled at the ability of SU to run with their top 5 bunched close together, but this week they took it to another level. 7 seconds were all that separated Hehir, Joel Hubbard (7th place),  Dan Lennon (8th place), MJ Erb (9th place), and Colin Bennie (15th place).  These five along with Reed Kamyszek were named to the All-Region team. It's one thing for a team to run together in the middle of the pack, or at a small race, but what SU is doing this season is impressive.

It will be curious to see which 7 runners are selected to race next week. Assuming Straneva and Knight are healthy, will SU go with the 5th year senior Kamyszek, or the redshirt freshmen Bennie? Will the team continue to stick as a unit through the 1st part of the race, or will Hehir look to maintain contact with the leaders? Will anyone threaten Colorado? We'll take a closer look next week as we preview the NCAA meet.