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Syracuse cross-country: 2022 season preview

A lot of new faces at the front of the pack for the Orange this fall

2021 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championship Photo by Jason Parkhurst/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

We continue our look at the Syracuse Orange fall sports with the cross-country squads. Head Coach Brien Bell’s teams will have to replace top runners this fall and prepare for a tougher ACC than in years past.

The Syracuse women will have to replace Amanda Vestri (back for track this year) and Annie Boos but return four of their top five runners from last year’s NCAA Championships. Savannah Roark, Abigail Spiers, Reilly Zink and Sydney Nowicki will look to take the lead for this year’s squad. They will be bolstered by transfers Grace Brock (Boise St) and Ivy Gonzales, who transfers from Colorado State after placing 145th at the NCAA XC Championships. Brock’s personal bests in the 5k and 10k are faster than any of the returning Orange runners so she could help bolster a squad looking to return to the NCAA Championships for a second straight season.

Syracuse will be looking for others to step from experienced team members like Ellie Lawler, Justus Holden-Betts and Sophia Jacobs-Townsley to younger runners like Sage Brooks, Olivia Joly and Caroline Kirby. We’ll be watching as the team starts to compete to see which runners will push for top 7 spots. Joining the Orange this fall are Beatriz Fernandes (Portugal), Olivia Shattuck (NJ), Lizzy Biggelow (CT), Kensey May (MT), and New York natives Pipher Reid, Emily Toth-Ratazzi, and Lucy Zombek.

NC State looks to be the dominant ACC team on the women’s side again this year. Can the Orange improve on last year’s 4th place ACC finish without Vestri leading the way? While Syracuse might not have a top-5 ACC runner this year they could see the rest of the pack take a step forward to stay in reach with the conference’s best. The Orange start the season ranked 3rd in the Northeast region so another NCAA bid is within reach.

The Syracuse men are also looking for new leaders to emerge this fall. Gone are Joe Dragon, JP Trojan and Aidan Tooker who were the top 3 finishers at NCAAs last November. Looking to take over those spots are Nathan Henderson (coming off his All-American outdoor season), Matt Scrape, Noah Beveridge, Alex Comerford and Silas Derfel. The Orange welcome back veterans Dom Hockenbury, Joey Eovaldi, Nathan Lawler and will look for recent highly-regarded recruits Kevin Robertson, Sam Lawler and Kamari Miller to step forward. Syracuse has also added transfers Noah Carey (Penn), Alex Herbst (Alabama Hunstville), and Karl Winter (Pepperdine).

International recruit Assaf Harrari (13:59 5k PR) has already turned 21 so he could challenge for a top 7 spot right away. He’s joined by other newcomers Eamon Burke (CT), Julian Franjeh (NY), Josef Hendershot (CO), Ruben Rojas Betanzos (TX), and Teuen Ter Haar (Netherlands)

After finishing behind Notre Dame last year, Syracuse will be looking to reclaim their spot atop the ACC. Wake Forest is 9th in the pre-season poll which is tops among the ACC squads. Notre Dame is 14th, UNC is 16th, Syracuse is 21st and Virginia

The season starts this weekend at Colgate but it’ll be the end of September before we see all the top runners when the Orange travel to Boston and Oklahoma State (the site of this year’s NCAA Championships).

Keep it here all Fall for updates on the teams.