Top contenders Syracuse men and NC State women comfortably secured the team crowns at the 2016 championships Friday morning at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Defending champions Orange dominated the men’s race with a convincing fashion with 29 team points.
They easily beat Virginia, which finished second with 72 points, NC State (82), Virginia Tech (128) and Florida State (134) who rounded out the top five finishers.
Individually, Junior pacer Justyn Knight led the way for Syracuse, which placed all five scoring runners inside the top 10.
Knight sprinted away to post a winning time of 22:50.7 to take the individual men’s 8K crown.
He was well supported by Colin Bennie, who finished in fifth-place with a time of 23:12.8, Iliass Aounai, who took sixth in 23:22.4, Joel Hubbard, who ran 23:25.1 for eighth and Philo Germano, who stopped the clock at 23:25.8 for ninth.
“It came down to the stretch,” Knight said. “Edwin Kibichiy is a very talented runner and a good friend of mine.
“I had a little extra in the tank, and I was able to come up with the win. This is a big deal for our team.
“We have been defending this title for a really long time now. A lot of this was done for our alumni, to show our respect.”
The Orange men were winning their fourth consecutive ACC Cross Country Championships.
“If we run like we did today we can run with anybody,” a very confident and delighted Syracuse coach Chris Fox said after the race.
“I’m not saying we can win the nationals again, but we can be up there. I am really proud of the guys.
“It was hot. They ran really smart for the course and the weather. They just kind of tempoed it early and then ran a really good race for the second half of the race.”
Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy was second behind Knight in the men’s 8,000m race with a time of 22:52.2. NC State’s George Parsons checked in at 22:58.3, while Florida State’s Harry Mulenga was fourth in 23:04.1.
Virginia’s Lachlan Cook, who finished 11th with a time of 23:28.5, won the ACC men’s Freshman of the Year honour.
In the women’s competition, NC State tallied 53 points to win its first ACC Cross Country Championship title since 2006.
Sophomore Rachel Koon was the top finisher for the No. 3 Wolfpack with a fourth-place finish at 20:03.8 in the women’s 6,000m.
Koon was followed home by Wesley Frazier, who was 10th overall in 20:21.0, while Alyssa Rudawsky (20:24.0), Elly Henes (20:26.2) and Ryen Frazier (20:28.0) completed the scoring pack for NC State, with respective placings at 12th, 13th and 14th.
NC State was winning its 22nd ACC Championship title overall.
“I think our depth came through today and that was huge,” said NC State head coach Laurie Henes.
“We had some young athletes that really stepped up. Rachel Koon and Alyssa Rudawsky have just continued to get better, and that saved us today.”
On the individual side, super talent Anna Rohrer of Notre Dame crushed the field to win the women’s 6K with a time of 19:26.4.
Rohrer, who had an 18 second lead on the field at the 4K mark, won the race by 25 seconds.
Louisville’s Dorcas Wasike, who finished seventh with a time of 20:14.7, was named ACC Freshman of the Year honors on the women’s side.
One of SportingAlert.com main contributors and associated staff member. Focus on presenting the best possible news, views and reviews from college and pro sporting events all across the globe. Smith is a track and field writer, who covers several meeting around the world. He is also a regular contributor for TrackAlerts.com and World-Track.org.