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Syracuse cross-country: strong showing for the Orange at Virginia Challenge

The Orange should rise in this week’s rankings

NCAA Cross Country: Championships Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange cross-country teams were down in Virginia this weekend for a preview of the NCAA Championship Panorama Farms course.

Against a strong field, the Orange men took 4th place (167 points) behind #1 Northern Arizona (71), #3 BYU (101) and #6 North Carolina (157). Syracuse was only 10 points behind UNC despite the Tar Heels having two top-10 finishers and the Orange’s #1 runner Paul O’Donnell taking 19th. It was Syracuse’s depth that propelled them in this one as they finished 19th, 31st (Perry Mackinnon), 35th (Sam Lawler), 38th (Assaf Harari), and 44th (Alex Comerford). It’s early in the season but with a 15 second gap between the top-5 Syracuse sent notice that they are a threat in the ACC and a potential NCAA podium contender.

The Syracuse women took 10th edging out ACC rivals UNC and Duke. #2 Northern Arizona won the women’s team competition, but it’s a strong showing for an unranked Syracuse squad which has NCAA aspirations. Savannah Roark made her 2023 debut with a 41st place finish. Like the men, the Orange women had a strong compact top five with 50th (Rylie Lusk), 54th (Olivia Joly), 58th (Sophia Jacobs-Townsley) and 66th (Baneet Bains) place finishes. Syracuse picked up potential NCAA at-large points this weekend and they could loom large in November.

Syracuse will send teams to Boston this week with the top runners preparing for the October 13th Nuttycombe Invitational at Wisconsin.