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Syracuse XC: GTKYOR Maura Linde and Justyn Knight

Next up in our "Get to Know Your Orange Runner" series are Maura Linde and Justyn Knight. Both of them are looking to build off a successful outdoor track season last spring, and will be counted on to be major contributors for the Syracuse Orange this Fall.

With the Nationally ranked Syracuse Orange Men's and Women's Cross-Country teams preparing for the 2015 season, I decided to take a page from our wildly successful "Get To Know Your Orange" series. Helping me out will be former Orange runners Jessie Petersen and Max Straneva who will give us some insight on their former teammates. Syracuse begins their season on September 5th at Colgate's Harry Lang Invitational.

Name: Maura Linde

Year: Senior

Hometown: Sykesville, MD

High School: Century

2014 Results :

NCAA Championships- 140th place (21:29.9 for 6k)

NCAA Northeast Regional- 25th place (21:02.48 for 6k)

ACC Championships- 40th place (21:23.3 for 6k)

Wisconsin Meet of Champions- 105th place (21:16 for 6k)

Coast-to-Coast Battle- 38th place (17:54 for 5k)

Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational- 5th place (21:25 for 6k)

Jessie's Thoughts: "Maura Linde has made continuous (large) steps forward, and I don't see this season being any different."

Kevin's 2015 Preview: Maura improved her NCAA Championships placement by nearly 60 spots in 2014. She continued her progress in the outdoor track season where her debut 10k earned her a NCAA Regional Qualifier. For many distance runners, achieving success like this gives the athlete confidence in their ability to run faster. It's not a surprise when it suddenly starts to click as runners reach junior and senior years, and it looks as though Maura is experiencing this step forward. In 2015, the senior will be counted on to be part of the group of Orange women trying to lead the team back to the NCAA Championships.

Name: Justyn Knight

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Vaughan, Ontario

High School: St. Michael's

2014 Results :

NCAA Championships-  143rd place (31:53.5 for 10k)

ACC Championships- 8th place (23:30.7 for 8k)

Wisconsin Meet of Champions- 14th place (24:05 for 8k)

Coast-to-Coast Battle- 20th place (24:53 for 8k)

Max's Thoughts: " Probably has the most potential of anyone on the team. The sky is the limit for Justyn. The good thing is, Justyn is humble and absorbs everything he has learned from the coaches like a sponge. After his freshman year, you would think it would be hard for him to surprise people, but I think he will. Racing against so many talented runners in big races last year will help him tremendously this season"

Kevin's 2015 Preview: During last year's XC preview, I said Knight had the most impressive resume of any recruit in the Chris Fox era, and his 1st season at Syracuse was certainly successful.  While many people will remember Knight winning the ACC 1500m Outdoor Championship while only wearing one shoe, his success in the 5k during the outdoor track season shows he's ready to make more noise in cross-country this fall. The transition from the 5k to 10k is challenging, but with a year of training, I'd expect Knight to combine with Hehir to give Syracuse the 1-2 combination needed to be a national title contender this fall.