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Syracuse cross country struggles at ACC Championships

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Notre Dame and NC State dominated Friday’s competition

FloSports: FloTrack ACC XC Championships Matt Lunsford-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been anything but a typical fall for college sports and last Friday’s ACC Cross-Country Championships was the first opportunity for the Syracuse Orange men and women to compete in a big meet.

Amanda Vestri turned in an outstanding performance taking 2nd in a time of 20:06 for the 6k course. NC State’s Domonique Clairmonte was the individual champion in 19:55 and the Wolfpack cruised to the team title with 47 points. Syracuse was still without some of their top runners and managed an eight place team finish. The other Orange scorers were Savannah Roark (42nd in 21:08), Justus Holden-Betts (57th in 21:32), Reilly Zink (64th in 21:42) and Sarah Connelly (72nd in 21:58). Other than Vestri, Syracuse’s scorers were one sophomore (Holden-Betts) and three freshmen.

The Syracuse men turned in their worst performance since joining the ACC in 2013. Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse won the individual title covering the 8k course in 23:03 and leading the Fighting Irish to their 2nd ACC victory in the last three years. The Orange were only able to muster a 6th-place team finish on Friday. Joe Dragon led the way with a 10th place finish in 23:30. Syracuse’s other scorers were Matthew Scrape (21st in 23:39), Silas Derfel (26th in 23:48), Nathan Henderson (29th in 23:52), and JP Trojan (49th in 24:18).

The Orange expected Henderson and Trojan to be with Dragon and without that it caused the team to drop out of contention for a top-3 finish. One positive was the performance of Derfel in his first season and the Syracuse men were also missing a number of potential scorers from this one.

We’ll see if some of the expected Syracuse scorers will be back in the winter season as both squads try to get to the NCAA Championships in March.