Syracuse wins national championships in cross country, field hockey

Saturday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, the Syracuse men’s cross country team captured their first national championship since 1951. The team entered the race ranked #2 in the country, but bested top-ranked Colorado on the strength of three racers finishing in the top ten.

Justyn Knight was the top runner for the Orange, finishing fourth overall, while Colin Bennie and Martin Hehir were mere seconds behind to finish eighth and ninth, respectively. Philo Germano, who finished 39th overall by passing 14 runners in the final 2,000 meters, joined the other three racers as All-Americans.

The title marks the first national championship in any sport for Syracuse since the men’s lacrosse team was victorious in 2009.

It did not take long for Syracuse win their next national championship, as the field hockey team defeated top-ranked North Carolina, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The ladies finished the year with a 21-1 record and claimed the first national title won by any women’s athletic team in SU history.

The Orange scored twice in the first 18 minutes to take the lead. The Tar Heels tallied two goals in the second half to tie the game, but Zoe Wilson scored her first goal at SU to give the Orange the lead again. Emma Lamison’s empty net goal closed the scoring of the game. Emma Russell, who scored the initial goal of the game, was credited with an assist on Lamison’s tally, which made her the all-time leading scorer at Syracuse.

Also on Saturday, the women’s cross country team competed for a national title. The women failed in their quest for the title, but still finished 12th, the second-best performance in program history.

Sunday, afternoon, the sixth-seeded men’s soccer team debuted in the NCAA Tournament and knocked off Dartmouth in come-from-behind fashion, 2-1. The Orange (14-5-3) knotted the game three minutes after the Big Green got on the board when Ben Polk scored his team-best 10th goal of the season. In the 55th minute, Louis Cross scored what would prove to be the winning goal.

Next Sunday, the Orange will host either UCLA or #11-seed Seattle in third round action at 1:00pm Eastern.

Jim Stechschulte

About Jim Stechschulte

A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.
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