The Syracuse Orange Cross Country squads took on a stacked field at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational this afternoon, and both the men's and women's teams have a lot to be happy about from their performances. The men repeated as champions in impressive fashion, while the women took a big step towards locking up a NCAA berth.
Boise State Broncos Freshmen Allie Ostrander took the individual title in a course record time of 19:19 for the 6k distance. The New Mexico Lobos dominated the team competition, placing all 5 scoring runners in the top 10. Syracuse finished in 11th place. Margo Malone finished in 17th place in a time of 20:04, which is almost 20 seconds faster than her 2014 time. She was followed by Sydney Leiher (44th place in 20:28), Shaylyn Tuite (96th in 20:57), Maura Linde (103rd in 21:01), Cassia Hameline (122nd in 21:13), Stephanie Bitcon (172nd in 21: 40), and Beth Wright (210th in 22:06).
The women's race featured a large pack of about 15 runners for the first 4k. Margo Malone was 8th at the 2k mark with Syracuse 12th in the team rankings at that point. At the 4k, Malone was in 11th and still part of the lead pack, while the women stayed in 12th place. At that point in the race, the leaders broke from the pack and Ostrander ou-kicked Molly Seidel from Notre Dame for the win.
Syracuse runners were faster than in 2014 and if the Orange can keep improving, they should greatly improve upon last year's 8th place ACC finish when they head to Florida State in two weeks.
The Syracuse men started a little slow, but took control of the race after the first 2k to repeat as team champions. Justyn Knight once again led the way for the Orange with a 2nd place finish in 23:35, narrowly losing out to Marc Scott of the Tulsa Hurricanes for the overall win. Following right behind Knight were Martin Hehir in 4th (23:36) and Colin Bennie in 6th (23:38). Rounding out the scoring for Syracuse were Joel Hubbard (28th place in 23:59), and Dan Lennon (61st place in 24:15), while Philo Germano (89th in 24:24) and Shawn Wilson (128th in 24:36) held the 6th and 7th spots for the team.
This race was definitely tactical. At the 2k mark, 50 runners were within 2 seconds of the lead and Virginia held the team lead with SU in 7th position. Syracuse started to move up at the next checkpoint as they found themselves in 2nd behind the Cavaliers at the 4k mark. When the runners hit 6k, the Orange had taken the lead and Knight and Bennie were in the top 10 overall. Knight took the lead for most of the final 2k before being passed at the end, but Syracuse had pulled away for the easy team win.
The 1-5 split was a bit wider than it was for the Orange in 2015, but placing 3 runners in the top 6 more than made up for that today. Syracuse still handled a strong field including top ACC rival Virginia. The Orange look strong right now, and the scary thing for other teams is that there is still room for improvement as races move from 8k to 10k next month.
In addition to their title, it looks like the Orange are returning home from Madison with some new accessories for their wardrobes
Welcome to Wisconsin pic.twitter.com/0ybyCoYuMg— Justyn Knight (@justyn_knight) October 14, 2015