The Syracuse Orange track and field teams are at the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships being hosted by the Clemson Tigers. The meet kicks off today and will conclude on Saturday afternoon and the Syracuse men are one of the team title contenders. Syracuse rose to the 9th spot in this week’s National rankings and will battle the Florida State Seminoles and Virginia Tech Hokies this weekend.
Syracuse is led by a deep pool of hurdlers and the talented distance squad and will need strong performances from both groups if they hope to take the title. In the 60m hurdles, Angelo Goss leads the ACC this season with Matt Moore (4th), David Gilstrap (7th) and Richard Floyd (8th). A road to the team win begins with getting all four into the finals of the event.
With only Goss and Justyn Knight looking to be locked in for the NCAA Championships, Syracuse can ask athletes to extend themselves in multiple events this weekend. The Distance Medley Relay will start things off on Thursday evening and we could see a group consisting of Aidan Tooker, Noah Affolder or Philo Germano, Pascal Bastien with Knight as the anchor. If Knight gets the baton in range of the lead, he’d be in good position to bring home a win. Even if Knight doesn’t run the DMR, the Orange should be able to land a top 4 finish.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Justyn run both the 5k and 3k again this year. He won both events the last two years and I think it’s what he’ll do at NCAA’s so this is a great opportunity to test out race tactics. With two more ACC titles, Justyn will surpass the five individual indoor Big East titles won by former Cuse jumper Bryan Delsite. Look for Iliass Aouani, Kevin James and Joe Dragon to compete in both events. In the mile, Affolder, Tooker and Germano all hold top 10 ACC times and could help the Orange compile points.
Other potential point-scorers for Syracuse are Kashif Miller in the 60m and 200m, Randall Johnson in the long jump, and the 4x400 relay team.
For the women, it won’t be a team title that the Orange are chasing but some individual honors are there for the taking. Kadejhia Sellers has the top ACC time in the 400m, Paige Stoner (2nd) and Shannon Malone (5th) will contend in the 5k and Stoner if she doubles is 4th on the 3k list. Three Syracuse women will look to score in the 200m as Dassia Pressley (5th), Eunice Boateng (7th) and Imani Clark (8th) are all poised to make the final in the event as underclassmen, which bodes well for the future. Syracuse could also get points this weekend from Tia Thevenin in the 60m hurdles, Aviana Goode in the high jump and the women’s 4x400 relay.
Coverage of the meet will be available Friday and Saturday on the ACC Digital Network and we’ll recap it next week.