Syracuse Orange distance star Justyn Knight came to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships as one of four Orange athletes, but he was clearly the one in the biggest spotlight.
In the 5k on Friday night, Justyn used patience to wait out a slow pace and take control in the final 400 meters for his 1st NCAA title on the track. Knight’s winning time of 14:14.47 was more about his tactics. Unlike last outdoor’s 5k, Justyn stayed out in lane 2 and away from any trouble. He stalked the leaders and when it was time to go, he accelerated away from Vincent Kiprop of the Alabama Crimson Tide and was able to ease across the finsh line with the victory. Justyn’s final splits for the race were:
Final 1600 - 4:09.75
Final 800 - 2:00.48
Final 400 - 56.63
Final 200 - 27.54
After the race he discussed his strategy with LetsRun.com.
Coming back the next night in the 3k, many expected Justyn to complete the double but Andy Trouard of the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks had other ideas. Trouard held the lead for most of the race and was able to hold off Knight twice in the final 250 meters to take the win in a time of 8:04.94. Knight was the runner-up in the 3k (8:05.76) for the 2nd year in a row and finishes as an All-American once again.
The 3k was a lot different from the 5k in that the runners were bunched up tighter and there was a lot of jockeying back and forth throughout the race. Justyn seemed to have to work harder to avoid getting stuck in the pack and I think Trouard’s being out and away from that might have been the difference in the race. When Justyn made his two moves towards the end, Trouard used his inside positioning to fend him off. This was key because it kept Justyn running wider (and a bit longer) and that allowed Trouard to pull off the upset as he ran the final lap in 26.23 to Justyn’s 27.04.
After the race, Justyn reflected on the finish as well as his season. Listen as he says he thinks he’ll be even stronger and faster for the outdoor season.
Paige Stoner completed her indoor season with an 8th place finish in the women’s 5k. She earned 1st team All-American honors with her finshing time of 16:05.88 and becomes the 1st Syracuse women’s distance runner to garner that recognition. As expected Missouri Tigers star Karissa Schweizer took the victory, but Stoner stayed with the lead pack for most of the race as she achieved of goal of earning All-American honors.
The Syracuse hurdle duo of Matt Moore and Angelo Goss were in the same semi-final heat on Friday. Moore ran a time of 7.82 seconds which was just .02 from qualifying for the Final. Goss’ finishing time was 8.07 seconds as he pulled up after the final hurdle.
This was Moore’s 1st NCAA meet and the experience will be helpful for the sophomore;
Goss came into the meet with a hip flexor injury and while he wasn’t able to perform at 100% he was happy to participate.
Goss and Moore will look to anchor the strong hurdle group as Syracuse heads into the Outdoor season. We’ll see if the Orange can bring more to the 110m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championship.
The Orange men finished tied for 10th in the team competition with the Penn State Nittany Lions thanks to Justyn’s 18 points. This also ties for the best finish in Syracuse school history. The Florida Gators took home the men’s team title while the Georgia Bulldogs were the women’s champions.
Congratulations to Paige, Justyn, Angelo and Matt on an outstanding indoor season.