It was a successful season for the Syracuse Orange cross-country teams when they qualified for last weekend’s NCAA Championships. Both teams overcame some rough patches to head to Tallahassee with some momentum but unfortunately the injury bug struck at an inopportune time.
Top women’s runner Amanda Vestri was kept on the sideline with an injury and another top-five runner Holly Bent was also unavailable. That left Syracuse with five freshmen and sophomores competing in their 1st NCAA meet and that group was able to run as a strong pack for the 6k course. Syracuse finished 30th out of 31 teams but each runner improved over the last half of the race and the top five runners finished within 24 seconds. Savannah Roark led the Orange with a time of 20:51.9. She was followed by Abigail Spiers, Annie Boos, Reilly Zink and Sydney Nowicki. Hopefully the experience here will help push this group forward next season as they will not have Vestri leading the way.
The Syracuse men matched their national ranking with a 19th place finish. Joe Dragon had his best NCAA performance with a 55th place finish. He was followed by JP Trojan, Aidan Tooker, Matt Scrape and Alex Comerford. The Orange were once again without Nathan Henderson and his loss probably kept them out of the top 15. Syracuse will lose their top three runners so like the women, it’ll be on the returners to take a step forward in 2022.
BYU produced both individual winners (Whittni Orton and Conner Mantz) but the NC State women and Northern Arizona men cruised to dominating team wins. Next year’s NCAA meet will be held at Oklahoma State and we’ll turn our attention to indoor track in the next few weeks.