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Syracuse Cross Country: Harry Lang Invitational Recap

The Syracuse Men's and Women's Cross-Country teams kicked off the 2014 season on Saturday by sweeping the Harry Lang Invitational.

As expected, both Syracuse squads raced to easy victories over Colgate last Saturday.  The women's team won with a perfect score of 15 and took the top ten places in their race. The men's team scored 17 points and 11 of the first 12 places were Syracuse runners. Angelica Peck and Shawn Wilson led the Orange, placing 1st in their respective races.

Race videos courtesy of Bitcon Photo Video

It's hard to gain a lot of insight from this meet, especially with both teams resting their top runners, but let's take a look at a few items of interest:

- The Orange women are showing improved depth. Even sitting most of the top returning runners from last year's squad, they were able to take the top 10 spots. Depth is important because it allows the coaching staff to rest some of the top runners, especially early in the season or while nursing minor injuries, without a large drop-off in team performance. It  also makes the team's workouts more competitive and allows the runners to push each other, which can help runners improve during the season. This improved depth is another sign of the strength of the Syracuse program.

- During last week's preview, I speculated on the red-shirt possibilities of the incoming class. For the women, it appears as though the freshmen will not red-shirt this year. With four newcomers placing in the top 10 (Stephanie Bitcon, Mary Malone, Chelsie Pennello, and Sabrina Olsen), it looks like this group is being counted on to push the returning runners.

- The opposite appears to be the case for the freshmen on the Men's team. Mickey Burke, T.J. Hornberger, and Andrew Paladino ran unattached at Saturday's meet, which keeps their red-shirt option available. Top recruit Justyn Knight did not race, but after a long summer track season that doesn't come as a surprise.

Both teams are back in action this Saturday where they will be competing in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at Penn State.