Last year, the Syracuse Orange men shocked a lot of people with a dominant win in Madison. This Friday, the men will be one of the favorites, but the meet will be more important for the Orange women, who might need the at-large points to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
With 8 of the Top 10 teams on the men's side, and 6 of the top 10 from the women's side, this will be the toughest competition that Syracuse will face before the NCAA Championships. Since it will also be the race that will determine most of the NCAA at-large selections, winning isn't the most important thing, but placing high will give each team a bit of breathing room next month at NCAA Regionals.
The Syracuse women come into the meet ranked #15. Led by Senior Margo Malone, the Orange will look to improve upon last year's 12th place finish, but it won't be easy facing this loaded field or ranked squads:
- Arkansas Razorbacks - 11th
- Boise State Broncos- 6th
- Iowa State Cyclones- 8th
- Michigan State Spartans- 13th
- New Mexico Lobos- 1st
- North Carolina Tar Heels- 19th
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish- 18th
- Penn State Nittany Lions- 16th
- Providence Friars- 3rd
- Virginia Cavaliers- 17th
- Washington Huskies- 10th
- West Virginia Mountaineers- 20th
- Wisconsin Badgers-14th
As mentioned in the preview video, a top 10 finish for Syracuse against this competition will be a very good sign.
It's not much easier for the #2 ranked Orange men's team, which is out to defend last year's title against this list of top 20 teams.
- BYU Cougars- 9th
- Iona Gaels- 8th
- Michigan Wolverines- 8th
- Michigan State Spartans- 15th
- North Carolina State Wolfpack- 17th
- Ole Miss Rebels- 19th
- Stanford Cardinal-4th
- UCLA Bruins- 20th
- Wisconsin Badgers- 11th
Syracuse ends this meet in 2015 as the hunted instead of the hunters, so it will be interesting to see how this team responds to the role of favorite. Even though everyone,including me, says the final results aren't that meaningful, you get the sense that these guys want to show that they are a legitimate threat this year.
Racing begins tomorrow at Noon and you can see additional information at the meet website. We'll have a full recap up this weekend.