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How are the Syracuse XC squads looking?

Let’s see how the 2016 teams compare to the last two years

Syracuse is looking to repeat this scene in 2016
Brian Vasey

As the Syracuse Orange cross-country team gets ready for their meet at Virginia this weekend, let’s try something new. I decided to use the fact that Syracuse attends a lot of the same meets to start comparing this year’s squads to the last two years. Now, I will admit that it’s hard to compare races from year to year. Even if courses remain the same distance, weather, course conditions, and just how the race unfolds, can impact the times. Instead my purpose is to track the teams and provide some perspective to what we are seeing this year. We’ll use these comparisons as we start to move into bigger meets and see where the Orange could project to finish in November.

We’ll start with Colgate. The first meet of the year often means we don’t see the best runners on the Orange men’s roster. We have seen key runners compete in this meet and end up in the top 7 at the end of the year, so we’ll keep on eye on these runners.

On the women’s side, this year’s race was a full 5k and not 4.6k so times should be slower. What is telling to me is that only 12 seconds separated the top 5 runners, which is an area that has hurt the Orange women the last couple of years. The Orange men have been successful with pack running, so if the women can do something similar this year they can pace higher than anticipated.

Moving on to Penn State, you’ll see a few more familiar names included on the men’s side over the last few years. While the times weren’t as fast this year, there also wasn’t a lot of competition, but four runners from last year’s top 5 ended up in the Orange’s NCAA line-up. The women didn’t change too much from the Colgate meet, but if Sydney Leiher can continue to move closer to the top 4, it’s a great sign for the team moving forward.

Up next for the Orange is a meet at Virginia this Friday morning. The teams last competed on the course for the 2014 ACC Championships and here were some of the results.

This week’s meet does not carry the same importance and with it being still early in the season, I would not expect to see times as fast as these. We will see the 2016 debuts of Justyn Knight and Colin Bennie so this will be our first look at the full Syracuse team. I’m curious to see how close the Orange’s 3-5 runners can stay to that duo at the front. On the women’s side, it will be interesting to see if the newcomers continue to lead the way, or if we see some of the veterans on the team start to have a bigger impact.

If you want to know what helps make the Orange so successful, well a lot of it can be traced to the work put in on Sweet Road. This week, Cuse TV took a trip out to capture the men in action at their favorite workout spot.