The Syracuse Orange cross-country teams are in Charlottesville, Virginia tomorrow to compete in the NCAA Championships.
Coverage begins at 9:30 on ESPNU with the women’s 6k race starting at 10:20. The Orange women won’t be in contention for the team title but after last week’s Northeast Regional win, it’s an opportunity for a young team to end the season with some confidence racing against the best in the NCAA. Savannah Roark was 23rd in last year’s NCAA Championships and she’ll be in contention for All-America honors. The Orange will be looking to get back in the top 20 tomorrow and they will need a repeat of last week to do so.
Defending champion NC State will be looking to deny the #1 ranked Northern Arizona squad from their first women’s title in program history. In the individual race, NC State’s Katelyn Tuohy and Florida’s Parker Valby are set up for an epic battle. Valby’s known for taking the race out fast and last year Tuohy reeled her in, but will she be more conservative to pull along her teammates?
The men’s 10k race will start at 11:10 with Northern Arizona and Oklahoma State renewing their battle for the team title. It probably won’t come down to a tie-breaker like last year, but it’s going to be close. Unlike the women, there are a number of individuals who could take the men’s race, but watch out for Harvard’s Graham Blanks.
Syracuse’s chances will likely depend on the status of Paul O’Donnell. The graduate student from Ireland combined with Perry Mackinnon to give the Orange two talented and experienced 10k runners. They are both capable of top 20 finishes, which is what this team would need to land a podium (top four) finish. If the Orange run well, that’s their ceiling and I think the team would feel good about anything in the six or seven tomorrow.
We’ll have a full recap next week.