Top 48 in each individual even, 24 teams in the relays were selected to compete at the Regionals. The top 12 from each of the two regions will advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas which will be held June 5-8.
We’ll start with the Syracuse women:
5,000m- Rachel Bonner (13)
Rachel’s seed time of 16:05 puts her in a group of 12 athletes with times between 16:00 and 16:08 coming into the meet. In a race this size positioning is important so Rachel will want to remain patient early but make sure she’s not boxed in heading into the final 2.5 laps. Making the NCAA meet would be a strong showing for the sophomore and hopefully she can take another step forward next week.
10,000m- Paige Stoner (1), Laura Dickinson (14)
Seeing Paige in only one event is a little surprising as I thought she might try the steeplechase/5k double this year. However the decision makes sense when you look at the bigger picture. Syracuse isn’t competing for team accolades so the goal should be to put the athletes in the best position for individual success. For Paige, the 10k is the race she has the best opportunity in my opinion.
Right now she has the 2nd-fastest time in the country in the event and in a tactical race her experience and finishing speed are benefits. She’ll run hard enough to qualify in Jacksonville but she’s a legitimate NCAA contender in part because she is only focusing on the 10k. Looking at the West regional entries and top contenders Weini Kulati and Ednah Kurgat from the New Mexico Lobos are attempting the 5k/10k double.
Laura Dickinson’s strong ACC Championships performance shows that she’s ready for her opportunity. I would expect the race strategy next week will be for Paige and Laura to work together in the hopes that Paige can pull her teammate into the top 12. Laura’s international experience means she’s ready for the pressure of this type of meet and like Rachel if she can make it to the NCAA Championships it will mark a strong season.
4x100m Relay- (23)
The team of Eunice Boateng, Cheyenne Trigg, Alexis Crosby and Dassia Pressley snuck into the field in one of the last two spots but you never know what can happen in the relay heats. Making the finals in Jacksonville will be a nice boost for a group which features no seniors.
5,000m- Matt Scrape (34)
Matt’s first season at Syracuse has shown his potential. He didn’t fare well at the ACC Championships but he’ll have an opportunity to finish the year on a strong note in Jacksonville. Matt’s going to be one of the distance runners to watch over the next few years so we’ll see how he handles the first NCAA race in his career.
10,000m- Iliass Aouani (2), Joe Dragon (40) and Kevin James (47)
Despite his win in the ACC 5k it’s clear that Iliass’ best chance is in the 10k. After setting the ACC record in the event in April he’s been able to carry the momentum forward. He’s expected to not only qualify next week but to contend for the NCAA crown in Austin.
Joe and Kevin are no strangers to the pressure of the regionals. They gain the advantage of having Iliass to work with over the 25 lap race and hope to use this pack mentality to crack the top 12.
110m hurdles- Richard Floyd (27)
Richard’s senior season has been his best at Syracuse. He enters this meet off a 3rd place finish at the ACC Championships and is looking to become the latest Orange hurdler to qualify for NCAAs.
We’ll keep you updated next week on the results from Jacksonville. Good luck to the Orange.