BLACKSBURG, Va. (theACC.com) – Cross Country championships go to the Syracuse men’s team, and the NC State women who wear the league crown for a fourth consecutive year.
The Orange placed six runners among the top 19 of Friday’s ACC Cross Country Championships men’s 8K to claim the team title for the sixth time in seven years. The NC State women, buoyed by a gold medal from senior Elly Henes and a fourth-place showing by freshman Kelsey Chmiel, took home the league championship trophy for the 25th time.
Virginia Tech senior Peter Seufer, expertly navigating wet and muddy conditions on his home course, took control of the men’s race early to claim his second consecutive ACC gold medal. Henes placed atop the women’s 6K field after a second-place finish in last year’s race at Boston.
Cross Country Championships
MEN’S TEAM SCORING 1. Syracuse 68 2. Notre Dame 73 3. Virginia Tech 100 4. Virginia 100 5. Wake Forest 116 6. Florida State 155 7. Duke 162 8. NC State 164 9. Georgia Tech 255 10. North Carolina 298 11. Pitt 315 12. Louisville 341 13. Boston College 405 14. Clemson 412 15. Miami 466
WOMEN’S TEAM SCORING 1. NC State 64 2. Florida State 76 3. Notre Dame 116 4. Virginia Tech 146 5. Syracuse 154 6. Wake Forest 158 7. Boston College 159 8. North Carolina 196 9. Duke 202 10. Georgia Tech 238 11. Virginia 276 12. Louisville 314 13. Clemson 352 14. Pitt 410 15. Miami 493
The Syracuse men won five consecutive ACC men’s cross country team titles upon joining the ACC in 2013, but the streak ended with a narrow second-place finish behind Notre Dame in last year’s Championship race. The Orange fought their way back to the top on Friday with a balanced effort that featured a ninth-place showing by Nathan Henderson and a 10th-place effort by Joe Dragon. Noah Beveridge followed in 15th place, while Nathan Lawler placed 16th, Kevin James 18th and Dominic Hockenbury 19th.
“Syracuse has historically been a very deep program and we continued that today,” second-year head coach Brien Bell said. “Its built in our DNA. It’s good to plant our flag to let everybody know that Syracuse University really didn’t go anywhere.”
Bell flashed a wry smile when asked if his returning runners were motivated on Friday by memories of last year’s second-place finish.
“It’s been 371 days (since the 2018 ACC Championship race in Boston) – but who’s counting?” he said.
NC State’s women’s conference championship is the program’s fifth under the watch of head coach Laurie Henes, a former NC State All-American who ran on four championship teams and was the ACC women’s gold medalist in 1991. While Elly Henes and Chmiel led the way on Friday, the Wolfpack added a 12th-place finish by Julia Zachgo, while Savannah Shaw placed 21st and Nevada Mareno 26th.
“We talk about having that depth and our ability to do this as a program, so it was nice to see it today,” Laurie Henes said. “You could have asked me 10 times to pick who I thought would be our top five, and I am not sure I would have picked what it wound up being today.”
Torrential rains on Thursday caused flooding near the finish line of the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course, but steady drainage and high winds dried the running surface to the point Friday’s races were able run as scheduled. Seufer said the slippery slopes were a minor annoyance at best, and he tried to use his home course advantage to the max.
“For the past month, I’ve just tried to visualize this course and get it down in my mind – every turn, every hill,” Seufer said. “The rain the past couple of days threw us for a bit of a loop, but I thought we handled it pretty well.”
With his winning time of 23:42.7, Seufer crossed the finish line nearly 39 seconds ahead of runner-up Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame. Nuguse, last year’s bronze medalist, checked in at 24:21.6, while NC State junior Ian Shanklin was third at 24:22.7. Wake Forest sophomore Zach Facioni, the 2018 silver medalist, took fourth this year with a time of 24:32.5.
Elly Henes followed in her mother’s footsteps by claiming the 12th ACC women’s gold medal by an NC State runner and the first since Laura Hoer placed first in 2010.
“I just had one race plan going in, and that was to gun it from the start,” she said. “The race conditions with all the mud and the rain were really kind of fun. I like that kind of stuff.”