Cross Country

Syracuse men’s cross country picked No. 1 in preseason poll

Courtesy of The ACC

Syracuse has been picked to defend its national title in the USTFCCCA preseason poll.

Coming off its first national championship, Syracuse men’s cross country has been ranked No. 1 in the preseason U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll. The women’s team is No. 15.

The men’s squad garnered 11 of 12 first-place votes and was slotted 20 points ahead of perennial powerhouse Oregon. The Ducks received the other first place vote, but landed 20 points behind the Orange and ranked No. 2.

The SU men are returning four runners from their seven-man roster that competed in the national championship. Juniors Justyn Knight, Colin Bennie and Philo Germano and senior Joel Hubbard are all back. They finished fourth, eighth, 39th and 47th overall in the championship, respectively. Knight, Bennie and Germano were All-Americans last year.

The only scorer from the title run not returning is Martin Hehir. He signed a professional deal with the Northern Arizona Elite, a track and marathon team based in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Aug. 24.

The women’s team slots in as the third-highest Atlantic Coast Conference team. It is returning three of their seven runners from the championship race. Sydney Leiher finished the highest on the team, taking 68th. The women are coming off their second-best season in program history after a 12th place finish.

Syracuse is one of seven schools to have both its men’s and women’s teams in the top 15.

The Orange’s season starts at the Harry Lang Invitational on Sept. 3 in Hamilton, New York.

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