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Knight, Stoner, Orange Men all victorious at ACC XC Championships

It was a good morning to be wearing Orange in Louisville

ACC Champions

Heading into this morning’s ACC Cross-Country Championships we assumed that the Syracuse Orange men and NC State Wolfpack women would defend their team titles. Both did just that- earning dominating victories as they continued to lay claim to the top spot in the conference. What no one predicted was that Syracuse senior Paige Stoner would pull away in the final 400 meters to win the ACC title, the 1st XC conference championship for a Syracuse Orange woman. Stoner joined Justyn Knight at the top of the podium giving the Cuse a sweep of the individual awards.

Stoner’s win (19:52 for the 6k course) paced the Orange to a 4th place team finish. Shannon Malone turned in an outstanding race finishing 7th overall (20:11). The rest of the top 7 Orange women were Rachel Bonner (27th in 21:00), Madeleine Davison (30th in 21:04), Eva Scott (72nd in 21:57), Chelsie Pennello (90th in 22:24), and Taylor Spillane (109th in 22:57). Syracuse scored 134 points, just five points behind the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Here are highlights from the women’s race along with Stoner’s post-race interview.

Paige might have been a woman of few words after her victory, but her performance spoke volumes. Hopefully the Orange can use this momentum as they push to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

For the Syracuse men, the Orange kept their ACC domination going by running to a convincing victory for their 5th straight ACC Championship. Syracuse was so good that if the rest of the ACC was scored as a team, the Orange would have still been victorious.

Justyn Knight pulled away from the field over the last 2k and defended his individual title with a winning time of 23:13. This is Knight’s 8th career ACC title and he still has eligibility for three more track seasons to add to this number. The Orange ended up with all five scorers in the top 10 this morning. Colin Bennie (3rd in 23:17), Aidan Tooker (6th in 23:29), Philo Germano (8th in 23:39) and Joe Dragon (10th in 23:42) meant that Syracuse stayed in a tight pack as they controlled the race at the end.

For some perspective on the performance, the BYU Cougars averaged 23:17 in winning the Pre-Nationals race on the same course (against a stronger field) while Syracuse averaged 23:28 today. Dragon’s ability to hang with Germano is a good sign for the Orange as after Wisconsin we wondered who would be able to emerge as the 5th man for this group. Another positive sign was the return of Iliass Aouani today. Dom Hockenbury was Syracuse’s #6 today finishing in 20th place in 24:01, but Iliass was just behind him in 22nd place in a time of 24:03. With three weeks to go before the NCAA these three guys can be X-factors as Syracuse looks to reclaim the NCAA title.

Here are highlights from the men’s race along with Justyn’s post-race interview.

The Orange are back in action for the NCAA Northeast Regional in Buffalo on November 10th.