It’s been an unusual season for the Syracuse Orange cross-country squads and yesterday they wrapped things up in Stillwater, Oklahoma at the NCAA Championships. Amanda Vestri and the Orange men’s team had received at-large selections to the meet with the men squeaking in late (does that sound familiar?).
On a humid afternoon facing a hilly course the Syracuse runners left without being able to cash in on their opportunity. In the women’s 6k Vestri finished in 71st place in a time of 21:17.9. Mercy Chelangat of Alabama was the individual winner in 20:01 while BYU topped NC State in the team competition.
The Syracuse men got off to a fast start and found themselves in 11th place at the 2k split but as the 10k race went along the Orange struggled and finished in the 30th and final team spot at the end. Joe Dragon was Syracuse’s top runner running 31:56.8 and finishing 128th. He was followed by Matthew Scrape (175th), Domenic Hockenbury (185th), Silas Derfel (202nd), Nathan Henderson (206th) and Alex Comerford (236th).
Connor Mantz of BYU pulled away in dominating fashion in the final mile becoming the 1st American to win since 2008. Northern Arizona controlled the team race placing four runners in the top 10 and overshadowing an impressive performance from Notre Dame.
As the Orange get ready for the outdoor track season thoughts still turn to next fall. Both the men and women distance squads appear to have som ground to make up on their ACC counterparts. The performances in Stillwater by NC State and Notre Dame show they will head into next season as the teams to beat.