The Syracuse Orange cross country teams brought out more top runners on Friday afternoon in Boston. Competing in the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown we got to see most of the team in action and the men delivered a convincing win over ranked teams Illinois and Indiana. With Justyn Knight still waiting to make his season debut, it was the trio of Colin Bennie, Philo Germano and Aidan Tooker who led Syracuse by finishing 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively. Kevin James (11th) and Joe Dragon (12th) rounded out the scoring as Syracuse scored 35 points to easily take the victory.
Beyond the top five, there was more good news for Syracuse as Mickey Burke (17th), Simon Smith (18th) and Dom Hockenbury (19th) also finished in the top 20. Without Knight and Iliass Aouani competing, the Orange handled their business in Boston. It’s still early in the season, but with the top 8 guys separated by only 32 seconds it shows that the depth will need in November is developing. We didn’t talk about Burke before the season, but if he’s healthy he could push for a top 7 spot later in the year.
For the women, it was a disappointing team finish as Syracuse finished 6th in their first competition against Northeast Regional teams. 7th ranked Providence College won the women’s title and two other regional opponents Dartmouth (4th) and Cornell (5th) were also ahead of Syracuse. Paige Stoner led the way for the Orange. She had her second straight strong race as she finished 3rd and only 14 seconds behind Elinor Purrier from New Hampshire. Purrier was 7th at the NCAA Championships last year and this is another All-American that Stoner has shown she’s capable of running with.
After Stoner, Madeleine Davison (22nd), Shannone Malone (27th), Rachel Bonner (49th), and Taylor Spillane (64th) were the other Orange scorers. Unlike the men, the women weren’t able to stay close together. The gap between Stoner and Spillane was 1 minute and 27 seconds and is an area where the women must improve as the season moves on. Stoner’s ability at the front of the pack will give Syracuse a chance for a high finish at the ACC Championships, she just needs her teammates to be closer together.
The Orange now enter their toughest training portion of the Fall as they take a break from competitions until October 13th when the teams head to the Wisconsin Invitational. While the teams are putting in the workouts, we’ll use the break to dig deeper into the NCAA aspirations of both squads.