The Syracuse Orange cross-country teams were missing top runners on Friday and the impact was felt. Without Aidan Tooker and Michael Phillips, the 12th-ranked Orange men ended up finishing 24th with 591 points. The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks dominated the men’s race beating the Stanford Cardinal by 74 points.
Syracuse was led by Nathan Henderson who finished 50th in a time of 24:17. Redshirt freshman Nathan Lawler was next in 63rd place (24:23) and then it was Noah Beveridge (141st in 24:53), Kevin James (170th in 25:05), Matt Scrape (178th in 25:12), Simon Smith (180th in 25:13), and Joe Dragon (189th in 25:20). In the men’s B race, Dom Hockenbury was 10th overall in a time of 24:45 and Stephen Schulz finished 29th in 25:09. The Orange were the 3rd ACC team trailing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Virginia Cavaliers so the team will need a stronger performance in two weeks at the ACC Championships if they hope to reclaim their title.
Losing Tooker takes away the Orange’s leader and it’s up to the rest of the line-up to pick up the slack. Syracuse will need Dragon to get back to his level last fall when he was top 10 at ACCs but the performances of Henderson and Lawler are encouraging.
The Syracuse women were without four runners in their race, most notably Laura Dickinson, and they ended up with a 25th place finish. Amanda Vestri led the way with a 37th place finish in a time of 20:36 for the 6k course. Rachel Bonner was 70th in 21:03 followed by Jordan Jacob (116th in 21:23), Kelsey Potts (193rd in 22:01), Madeleine Davison (194th in 22:02), Justus Holden-Betts (216th in 22:20) and Eleanor Lawlor (232nd in 22:50). In the women’s B race, Kayli Jones was 49th in 22:12, with Olivia Elston (64th in 22:30) and Ryley Higgins (85th in 22:58).
That’s a good showing for Vestri against some top competition but the absence of Dickinson likely cost the Orange 7 or 8 spots in the team competition. There will be more importance for the women to try and stay closer together in the next two meets.
The Arkansas Razorbacks won the women’s team title and Syracuse was fourth among the ACC teams behind the NC State Wolfpack, Notre Dame, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. NC State will be a favorite to defend their ACC title with Syracuse among the group