First Thoughts: ACC's & BIG East's (Women)


NC State sneaks by Notre Dame

We knew that the battle between North Carolina State and Notre Dame was going to be close, but we had no idea it would be this close with NC State coming out on top, 67 to 68.

Notre Dame looked like the favorite heading into the race and although they won, it was not by the projected margin. Notre Dame’s fourth runner, Jessica Harris, ran a great race to finish 14th and continued opening up the lead. Sadly for the Irish, the absence of Annie Heffernan proved too difficult, as Annasophia Keller closed out Notre Dame’s scoring in 38th. None of their runners underperformed, though, while Harris ran a great race to enter the top 15. This was not Notre Dame losing the race; it was North Carolina State winning.

The Wolfpack were led by junior Elly Henes who came up clutch, passing Anna Rohrer in the final straightaway. Had Henes not finished ahead of Rohrer, Notre Dame wins. Dominique Clairmonte and Nell Crosby also finished in the top 10, each of them one or two slots above their projected finish. Had they not run that well, Notre Dame wins. Most impressively for NC State was seeing Nevada Moreno enter the scoring five, finishing fourth for the team in 22nd. Had she not scored, Notre Dame wins. The sixth and seventh runners for the Wolfpack also displaced Keller of Notre Dame. Had they not, Notre Dame wins.

Okay, you get the point: North Carolina State made no mistakes and it took their entire team performing well to get the victory. Both teams should be extremely proud of their race this weekend, but only the Wolfpack get to bring home the trophy.

Shannon Malone appears for Syracuse

The Orange of Syracuse have been missing a low-stick all season. The search for one is now over as senior Shannon Malone returned to action. Malone finished 5th this weekend, an important statement for a team that had been relying on the placement of their pack throughout the season. You shouldn’t forget about that pack though, as they placed 11th, 18th, 23rd, and 26th with only NC State sporting a better fifth runner (25th for Savannah Shaw). However, Malone’s finish was the difference maker as Syracuse sixth runner (Abigail Spiers) placed 54th. Without Malone, this team is a borderline national qualifier. With her, it will take a major upset to knock the Orange out of the top two of their region.

Dorcas Wasike Wins!

There’s not much to say here, except that Wasike did what she needed to do. Her margin of victory was solid enough for her not to be worried about a loss through the final parts of the race after early challenges from Rohrer and Henes. Keep the Louisville star in your mind for Nationals while the other contenders battle in more competitive regionals.

Can anyone figure out the South Region?

There might not be a more fluid region than the women’s South Region. The season started with projected top two finishes from Georgia and Ole Miss. After a few races, those teams had been replaced by Georgia Tech and Florida. At ACCs, Florida State decided to add their name to the conversation. The Seminoles placed 4th behind a 4th place finish from senior Militsa Mircheva. They beat South Region foe Georgia Tech by over 50 points. Both teams should head into regionals with something to prove, but this weekend just showed how open the top two of the South is. (Check out our SEC review on the conference battle between the other three).

Big East

Villanova, Villanova, Villanova

This race was all Villanova as they placed 1-2-5-6-7-(8). Graduate transfer Carolina Alcorta has found her home with the Wildcats, winning her first Big East title in her first attempt.

Sophomore Rachel McArther has really stepped up this year and placed 2nd for the Wildcats. The sophomore represented the US at the IAAF U20 Championships this past summer. Moving forward, the 4-5-6 trio of Taryn O’Neill, Lydia Olivere, and Ann Campbell will help determine just how high this squad finishes at Nationals.

Tough Year for Providence

The Providence women have been a powerhouse in the Northeast Region behind Catarina Rocha, but with a big crop of seniors graduating last spring, this has been a rebuilding year for the Friars. The team is sporting transfers Regan Rome and Tessa Barrett this season, but neither have been able to compete at quite the level of previous years. Abbey Wheeler has led the squad this year, and placed 4th this weekend. In two weeks, she will likely make sure the Friars are still represented at NCAA's, but the team will most likely miss out on a trip in 2018.