The Syracuse Orange cross-country teams are in New York City this morning for the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships.
The women’s 6k race starts at 11:00 and the Orange will be battling Harvard and Providence for the two automatic qualifiers. Based on projections from xcquals.com, it looks like the Syracuse women could qualify as long as they finish 3rd in the regional, but that’s where it gets tricky.
Outside of the 18 automatic qualifiers, the remaining 13 teams are picked from the 3rd and 4th place regional finishers. A system based on points (wins) over the automatic qualifiers starts the process, but in some cases the team with the most points is a 4th place regional finisher, which automatically pushes in the 3rd place team from their region. Simple right?
Those above projections would show the Orange as the final at-large as they would only hold two points over auto qualifiers, but have wins over UNC and Duke to be higher in the at-large selections. Of course strange things happen in November so it would be wise for Syracuse to secure one of the auto bids and not let it come down to the computers.
On the men’s side, it’s Harvard, Syracuse and Iona as the clear favorites in the 10k race (start at Noon). The men have accumulated a lot of at-large points so it looks like they could get in with a 4th-place regional finish. The at-large selection process does force schools to race tough competition throughout the year while allowing a team a bit of room should they struggle at regionals.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Harvard and Syracuse try and conserve some energy for next Saturday’s NCAA meet. We’ve seen other regionals where the top schools control the pace in a large pack and let things shake out in the final 2-3k. Either way it’s a fun day of racing as people try and use the results to figure out what needs to happen in each regional to fill those at-large bids.
Live results will be available here and we’ll have a full recap tomorrow.