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Syracuse cross-country takes the individual titles at Spiked Shoe Invite

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Amanda Vestri and Joe Dragon finished 1st for the Orange

Cross Country: NCAA Division I Championships Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Friday marked the start of NCAA cross-country qualifying season so the Syracuse Orange brought more of their top runners to the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational hosted by the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Amanda Vestri picked up where she left off last year as she rolled to a 31-second win in the women’s 6k race. Vestri finished in 20:15 as the Orange women took 4th behind Georgetown, Minnesota and Michigan. Abigail Spiers (15th in 21:24), Annie Boos (22nd in 21:42), Holly Bent (24th in 21:44), and Sophia Jacobs-Townsley (29th in 22:00) were the other Syracuse scorers. As was the case last Fall, the Orange need to get their other scorers closer to Vestri as they move through the season.

In the men’s race Joe Dragon (25:11) and Nathan Henderson (25:13) went 1-2 leading Syracuse back to a 2nd-place team finish behind Michigan. The Orange found themselves in 5th place around the midway mark of the 5.2 mile race but rallied back with the type of finish we’ve come to expect from the squad.

Syracuse’s other scorers on Friday were JP Trojan (7th in 25:26), Noah Beveridge (17th in 25:44) and Joey Eovaldi (21st in 25:51). The next four Orange finishers were close behind Eovaldi and we’ll be watching to see how the top 7 will shake out as the season progresses.

It’s a solid opener for both teams as the men likely will find their way back into the national rankings and earned wins over potential NCAA qualifier Georgetown. The Orange will look to build upon this performance in a couple of weeks when they head to Boston.