Syracuse prepares for two tournaments after three-week respite

first_imgThree weeks: that is how much time will have elapsed since the Syracuse cross-country teams last competed when they line up for their meets Saturday.The men, sitting at No. 11 in the country, are coming off a second-place finish at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown in Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Sept. 27, while the women are coming off a seventh-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis on Sept. 28.This weekend, both teams will send runners to the Princeton Invitational and the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, the latter being the more competitive of the two.The men’s top runners are confident they can overcome the extended layoff and pick up right where they left off.“The three-week break is always a big push,” said redshirt sophomore Martin Hehir. “It’s a good block of training that sets us up for the big races, and I think we can definitely carry the momentum.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHehir won ACC Cross Country Performer of the Week for his third-place finish in Chestnut Hill. He finished in 24:12, Syracuse’s only top-10 racer, and only one second behind first-place finisher Edward Cheserek of Oregon. After the lengthy break, nine of the top 14 teams in the country, including the Orange, will be sending their top runners to Madison, Wis. “I just need to make sure I run my race and don’t get caught up,” Hehir said. “When you go to Wisconsin there’s going to be 300 kids in the race and you can’t get caught up running out where you think you should be.”Redshirt senior Griff Graves emphasized the importance of keeping the younger members of the team focused and having them realize the role the three-week break plays in their routine. He said that ensuring exciting, but not overly hyped training sessions will be key.Graves also viewed the hiatus as a positive, something the team can use to its advantage this weekend.“It’s nice to get in a solid two or three weeks of training without traveling or having to taper for a meet,” Graves said. “Racing weekend after weekend tears down your training a little bit.”As for the women, who received two Top 25 votes from the NCAA, they look to keep the consistency from key runners such as junior Jessie Petersen.The performances of sophomore Margo Malone, Syracuse’s top runner, along with sophomore Brianna Nerud, will also be vital if the women are to continue their solid spell.Petersen, who has finished in the team’s top three in every race, also finds the long break to be beneficial to the squad.“It gives us a good opportunity to get in a really solid week of work and then a week of backing off a little bit,” she said.Coming off a satisfying seventh-place finish in Minnesota, the women will face a rigorous test as well when they travel to Madison. Eight of the top 15 teams in the country will be competing, including top-ranked Providence.“We ran really well as a team, and it was just a few tweaks here and there that we need to make,” Petersen said. “If we keep working out the way we’ve been working out, I think we’ll be fine.”Until Saturday, both the men and women will continue to play the waiting game, as they have been for 18 days now. But according to the outlooks of both teams’ key runners, rust will be no issue as they look to qualify for postseason races. Comments Published on October 17, 2013 at 1:02 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more