The Syracuse Orange cross-country squads spent Friday trying to finalize their rosters for the ACC Championships. Syracuse headed to Penn State and Wisconsin for the final invitational race and tune-up. Once again Amanda Vestri and Joe Dragon led the way for Syracuse but let’s look at how the races unfolded.
In Wisconsin, Vestri finished 9th against a stellar field covering the 6k course in 20:13. Her finish helped the Orange women to their best performance of the 2021 season as they finished 7th and knocked off several solid teams in the process. After Vestri, Savannah Roark (52nd in 20:55), Holly Bent (54th in 20:56), Annie Boos (74th in 21:08) and Abigail Spiers (78th in 21:10) completed the scoring. While it would help to have this pack closer to Vestri, the fact the the 2nd-5th runners are within 15 seconds is helpful in bigger races. This performance could help Syracuse grab a NCAA at-large bid next month as they earned wins over Providence, UConn, Harvard and Columbia. Finishing ahead of these teams should give the women a little momentum heading into the Northeast regional where they will face off again.
The Syracuse men were not as fortunate in Madison as the Orange struggled to a 20th-place finish as a team. Joe Dragon had a strong run finishing 15th in a time of 23:39 for the 8k course. Aidan Tooker (52nd in 24:04), JP Trojan (87th in 24:25), Noah Beveridge (161st in 25:04) and Silas Derfel (174th in 25:08) were the other Syracuse scorers. Matt Scrape had the 3rd best Syracuse time of the day with his 24:23 performance in the B race in Madison and secured his spot in the ACC line-up.
It’s rare to see that large of a gap for a Syracuse team and it’s something the Orange will need to avoid in South Bend in two weeks. If not then the team will be looking at a repeat of last year when they weren’t a factor in the team race.
At Penn State, Justus Holden-Betts led the women with a 18th place finish covering the 6k course in 21:34. She was followed by Reilly Zink (24th in 21:46), Eleanor Lawler (45th in 22:25), Emily Nugent (90th in 23:04) and Olivia Joly (124th in 23:49). The Syracuse men were led by Ethan Wechsler (15th in 26:06 for 5.2 miles) with Joey Eovaldi (29th in 26:28), Nathan Lawler (44th in 26:59), Kevin Robertson (47th in 27:06) and Jack Whetstone (57th in 27:20) the other scorers.
ACC Championships will be held on Friday October 29th in South Bend, Indiana and will be broadcast on the ACCNX streams.