2015 ACC Cross Country Championships set for Friday, October 30, in Tallahassee

Five conference women’s teams ranked, four men’s

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (Oct 26, 2015 - theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference kicks off the 2015 Fall Championship schedule on Friday, October 30, with the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships held at the Apalachee Regional Park, in Tallahassee, Florida.

The men’s 8k race will start at 9 a.m., followed by the women’s 6k competition at 9:45 a.m.

Both championships will be carried live on ESPN3. 

The men’s race features four nationally-ranked teams, with Syracuse leading the way at No. 2. The Orange are followed by Virginia at No. 7, NC State 12th and Virginia Tech 18th.

On the women’s side, Virginia enters Friday’s competition as the highest ranked ACC team in the weekly USTFCCCA poll at No. 7 nationally. NC State is 8th, Syracuse 16th, Notre Dame 17th and North Carolina 29th. The ACC’s five ranked teams are tied for the most of any conference nationally.

Runners to watch on the men’s side include defending individual champion Martin Hehir of Syracuse. Virginia Tech redshirt junior Thomas Curtin, coming off a first-place finish in the Pre-Nationals, is among the runners expected to challenge Hehir at this year’s ACC Championship, along with Wisconsin Invitational runner-up Justyn Knight of Syracuse and 2014 ACC runner-up Ernest Kibet of Louisville.

The women’s lineup features a two-time USTFCCCA Cross Country Athlete of the Week in NC State freshman Ryen Frazier. Also expected to challenge is Notre Dame senior Molly Seidel, runner-up at the Wisconsin Invitational and the reigning NCAA Outdoor 10,000-meter champion. Syracuse’s Margo Malone returns after finishing third at last season’s ACC Championship.

Paced by Hehir’s individual championship, third-ranked Syracuse placed all five runners among the top 11 finishers en route to capturing its second-straight ACC title a year ago, out-distancing runner-up NC State by 58 points (32-to-90). 

North Carolina (95) was third, followed by Virginia (121), Florida State (158) and Virginia Tech (163). 

The Orange’s 32-point total was the lowest team total at the ACC Championship in seven years. 

Hehir won the men’s individual title in a time of 23:15.2, a Panorama Farms course record, while Louisville’s Kibet was second in 23:21.7, and Max Straneva of Syracuse was third in 23:23.1.

In the women’s competition, North Carolina, led by Anne LeHardy’s fourth-place finish, placed all five runners among the top 20 en route to capturing its fourth ACC title and the first since 2003 with a 42-point victory over second-place Florida State (57-to-99). Virginia was third (109), followed by NC State (119) and Notre Dame (132).

Boston College’s Liv Westphal claimed individual honors, finishing the 6k race in a course-record 19:43.8, 13.3 seconds ahead of Florida State’s Colleen Quigley (19:57.1). A senior from Limoges, France, Westphal became the first Eagle to claim the ACC’s individual title.