first_img Published on November 7, 2017 at 11:17 pm Contact KJ: [email protected] | @KJEdelman Aidan Tooker and Shannon Malone performed above expectations at the Atlantic Coast Conference championships, Syracuse coach Chris Fox said.Their individual races on Oct. 27 in Louisville, Kentucky, helped the men’s team to a first-place finish and the women’s team to a fourth-place finish, respectively.Tooker, a sophomore, placed sixth and was the third man from Syracuse to cross the finish line behind Justyn Knight (first overall) and Colin Bennie (third). Malone finished seventh for the women, the second member of the Syracuse women’s team to finish behind Paige Stoner. Both Tooker and Malone want to improve on their performances this Friday at the NCAA Northeast Regionals in Buffalo.Tooker called the men’s team’s 27-point finish a “dominating performance,” and saw his performance as a catalyst in the win. He felt that even as a younger runner, he was able to act like a “pro,” in part because he followed the lead of older runners around him.“We were packed up for a while,” Tooker said. “I just had to pay attention to what some of the older guys were doing and follow them.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFox called Tooker’s performance a “medium-hard effort,” but was impressed by the way he ran at ACCs. Going forward, Fox said, Tooker will be the third or fourth runner for the men after his strong performance at the conference championships.Tooker is a future leader for the team, Fox said, especially because three seniors — Knight, Bennie and Philo Germano — will have exhausted their eligibility after this season. Fox expects Tooker to make an All-American spot and place well at NCAA championships this year.“Tooker did exactly what we asked him to do,” Fox said.Junior Shannon Malone was not always pegged as a top runner for the women’s team. Her seventh-place finish at ACC championships was key in the women placing fourth, and it was a little surprising to Fox, who hoped for a 10th place finish for the junior.“She ran with the main pack for most of the race,” Fox said, “and that really put her on a different level.”Malone attributed her highest finish at SU to Stoner, who finished first at the meet, setting the pace.Stoner led the main pack from the start of the race, and Malone said she fed off the senior’s energy and tried to hang close to Stoner as long as she could.“Seeing Paige up there really helped me get back into race mode,” Malone said.The women’s team hopes to qualify for the NCAA championships for the first time since 2015. To get there, it would have to place in the top two of its region or be selected as one of 13 at-large teams. If the women fall short, Malone still has an opportunity to qualify for the meet individually.Fox thinks Malone can make nationals if she performs the way she did at the ACC championships. If every runner exceeds expectations, Fox said, the women have a clear shot at the NCAA championship.“The girls in the middle need to do a little better to make nationals,” Fox said. “They’re doing all of the right things to make it there.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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