The Syracuse Orange cross country teams will take on the rest of the ACC Friday morning at Wakemed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. For the men, this is an opportunity to win their 4th consecutive ACC title while the women are looking to win not only the team title, but also improve their chances of making the NCAA Championship.
The host NC State Wolfpack are the favorites in the women’s race, which will start at 10:00 am. They enter the meet as the #3 team in the country and should cruise to a comfortable win behind their leader Erika Kemp. Notre Dame Fighting Irish standout Anna Rohrer has been the top runner in the ACC and is the favorite to take the individual title.
For the Orange women, a return to form from Madeleine Davison will be a big key. Davison had been leading the women before Wisconsin and if she is back running with Paige Stoner and Emma Wilson, Syracuse will be in contention for a top 3 finish along with Notre Dame and Virginia. We’ll also see if Mary Malone can continue to move closer to that top group and tighten the Orange pack. Right now the women need to do some work to insure a NCAA at-large bid, so getting in the top 3 would help them.
The Syracuse men are favored to take home their fourth consecutive ACC title. While I wouldn’t expect a repeat of last year when the Orange took 3 of the top 5 places, it would be a shock if anyone knocked them off. Justyn Knight is primed to capture his 1st ACC XC individual title, but NC State’s George Parsons and Louisville Cardinals’ Edwin Kibichiy (3rd in 2015) will challenge him.
Syracuse will be looking to rebound from their 4th-place finish in Wisconsin and will be counting on Iliass Aouani, Joel Hubbard, and Philo Germano to be closing the gap on Knight and Colin Bennie as the team prepares for the NCAA Championship.
Right now, it looks as though Virginia is the biggest threat to Syracuse in the team competition. The Cavaliers could be returning NCAA mile champion Henry Wynne to their lineup and his addition could make the team battle interesting, but I still expect Syracuse to win and add some more #OrangeEagle points to the Fall total.
The meet kicks off at 10:03 with the women’s 6k. The men are scheduled to run their 8k race at 10:43 and both races are available on ACC Network Extra. We’ll be back over the weekend to recap the competition.