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Syracuse men’s cross country wins Spiked Shoe Invitational

The Orange women took 2nd as the teams start the NCAA qualifying season

Aidan Tooker (center) led the Orange to the win at Penn State

The Syracuse Orange cross-country teams opened up the NCAA qualifying season on Friday at the Spiked Shoe Invitational hosted by the Penn State Nittany Lions. Syracuse’s third-ranked men’s team won the meet, which was scored as five dual meets, behind Aidan Tooker’s 2nd place finish (25:50 for the 5.2 mile course). Tooker was followed by Kevin James (4th in 26:06), Joe Dragon (6th in 26:14), Dom Hockenbury (8th in 26:18) and Simon Smith (11th in 26:25).

The Orange depth was on display in Happy Valley as the five Syracuse runners were seperated by only 35 seconds, which is what allowed the Orange to edge Penn State 26-29 in the closest scoring of the five duals. This group is going to be battling for those spots in the top 7 and early on Tooker and James have created a little separation. While comparing times from year to year is an inexact science, it’s worth noting that the top 4 Orange runners were faster than Iliass Aouani’s 2016 winning time of 26:17.

For the Syracuse women, Paige Stoner made her season debut with a 2nd place finish in the women’s 6k race. Stoner finished in a time of 21:10, which put her just three seconds behind Penn State All-American Jillian Hunsberger. The other Orange scorers were Julien Webster (9th in 21:34), Shannon Malone (13th in 21:49), Madeleine Davison (16th in 21:53), and Rachel Bonner (27th in 22:24). Syracuse won 3 of the dual meets and lost to Penn State and the Georgetown Hoyas.

In a repeat of last Fall, one issue for the women is their 1-5 spread which was 1:15. With two freshmen and a sophomore in the top 5, it’s too soon to say that this can’t be corrected before the end of the season. Stoner is an All-American caliber runner so we don’t expect the rest of the Orange to be right on her heels, but the rest of the team needs to be closer to her if Syracuse wants to return to the NCAA Championships.

Syracuse is back in action on September 22nd when they will travel to Boston to complete in the Coast to Coast Challenge.