The Syracuse Orange cross country teams begin their championship season on Friday morning in Boston. The Orange will compete for ACC Championships at Franklin Park and at the same time looking to lock in valuable NCAA at-large points.
For the men, it’s an opportunity to continue their streak and make it six wins in six years in the conference. The 10th ranked Orange are led by Aidan Tooker who will be one of the individual favorites on Friday. Tooker has finished a close second in his two races this season and he seems ready to grab a victory. The 14th ranked Virginia Cavaliers and 15th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish are looking to take the crown from the Cuse. UVA’s Brent Demarest (last year’s runner up), Virginia Tech Hokies standout Peter Seufer and Emmanuel Choboson of the Louisville Cardinals are expected to be among the top runners.
While it’ll be tough for Syracuse to replicate last year’s results when all five Orange scorers were in the top 10, that’s still possible. It’s important for Noah Affolder and Iliass Aouani remain in closer contact with Tooker this week and the Orange are still deep enough to hold off the challengers.
The 25th ranked Syracuse women are hoping for the season debut of Shannon Malone. The Orange ran well at Pre-Nationals but getting their top runner back would be a big lift as they face the 12th ranked NC State Wolf Pack who are gunning for their 3rd-straight ACC title. Based upon results this season it looks like Syracuse will be battling for 2nd along with the 18th ranked Notre Dame and 22nd ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Last year’s runner-up Dorcas Wasike of Louisville is the individual favorite. She’ll be challenged by Elly Henes of NC State. For Syracuse, getting Malone back would give them a strong 1-2 with Laura Dickinson. If the Orange can get strong races from Madeleine Davison and Rachel Bonner they can set themselves up for a top 3 finish.
Despite the thought that the Orange are really vulnerable this year I think the Syracuse men will earn their 6th straight ACC title and the women will grab 3rd and head into NCAA Regionals with some momentum. We’ll be watching the races live and we think you should too. A full recap will be back here on Saturday.