In their first meet after Brien Bell was named Head Coach, the Syracuse Orange men’s cross-country squad sent a message to the rest of the country that they were still a strong program. Led by Aidan Tooker’s 2nd place finish (in a time of 24:02.5) the Orange placed all 5 scorers in the top 13 of the Coast to Coast Battle in Beantown on Friday afternoon. Syracuse finished with 37 points in a dominating win over the Washington Huskies (70) and Ole Miss Rebels (77).
The 10th ranked Orange took control in the second half of the race and Tooker in his season debut showed he’s ready to lead the team as he closed quickly in the final stretch and just missed the individual win. Noah Affolder (5th in 24:10), Kevin James (8th in 24:16), Joe Dragon (9th in 24:17) and Iliass Aouani (13th in 24: 24) were positioned close to one another in what has become a common strategy for the Orange. Syracuse will need these five to maintain this split moving forward if the Orange want to defend their ACC title and land in the top 10 at NCAAs.
The 22nd ranked Syracuse women didn’t have their best day in Boston. The Orange finished in 9th place with 242 points as the Ole Miss Rebels took 1st with 102 points. Madeleine Davison (16th in 17:40) led the Orange over the 5k distance. Rachel Bonner (22nd in 17:48), Mary Malone (53rd in 18:08), Eleanor Lawler (71st in 18:19) and Emma Wilson (80th in 18:28) completed the Syracuse scoring. The Orange women missed out an opportunity for some key at-large points as they finished behind regional competitors Brown and Dartmouth.
Letsrun.com caught up with Coach Bell after the race and captured his thoughts on the meet. For those who don’t know Bell, this is a good introduction. He’s pretty blunt in his assessment of expectations as well as performance and you can see he’s not going to let the team coast on past laurels.
Syracuse will head back into action on October 13th at the Pre-Nationals meet in Madison Wisconsin. Since Madison is hosting the NCAA Championships this year, the Orange will certainly be facing most of the top teams in the country. After that the team will return to Boston for the ACC Championships at Franklin Park. Stay tuned here for all your Orange XC updates.