Track & Field

Previewing the Boston Valentine Invitational

Syracuse head coach Chris Fox only sent a handful of athletes to the Armory Invitational last weekend, possibly tapering most runners for the Boston Valentine Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

Sending almost exclusively sprinters, hurdlers, and jumpers, seven of the 15 athletes that Fox sent scored for SU last week. The Armory meet was highlighted by Shaina Harrison, who cruised to victory in the 60m dash, never running from behind in the preliminaries, semifinals, or finals. She has finished top five in each of her four races thus far, winning two. After winning the Atlantic Coast Conference indoor championship in the 60m, the senior looks primed for another big year.

Surprisingly, Freddie Crittenden did not emerge victorious in the 60m hurdles at Armory despite posting the fourth fastest time in the nation thus far, 7.72 seconds. He was bested by Trey Holloway of Hampton who posted a time of 7.71, which ranks him third in the nation, just a notch above Crittenden. This marked the first time that Crittenden had been taken down this season.

Led by Crittenden, the SU hurdles team may prove to be very dangerous nationally

Crittenden currently sits atop the ACC leaderboard in the 60m hurdles. Sharing the top five with him from Syracuse is freshman Richard Floyd, sophomore David Gilstrap, and freshman Chevis Armstead. This trend will likely continue as both Gilstrap and Crittenden both came within 0.01 of their personal bests, while Floyd and Armstead keep dropping time. Floyd in particular dropped 0.12 at Armory.

Fox will be looking to score big at BU

After resting his entire distance and mid-distance squad, Fox will likely look to unleash it on one of the fastest tracks in the country at the Boston Valentine Invitational. Shaped like a NASCAR track, the Rekortan-covered 200m track is set with an 18.5-degree bank to ensure that runners maintain rhythm through turns, a crucial piece for longer races.

Thanks to the setup of the track, only two weeks after Justyn Knight, Adam Palamar, and Joel Hubbard all ran sub-4:00 miles, faster times may be in store. In between the structure of the deck is also a tuned interface for greater rebound on each step. With each stride a runner takes, there is less stress on their legs than there otherwise would be and gives runners greater bounce with each impact. This helps prevent lower-body pain during races and diminishes fatigue on the runners. Many indoor tracks around the country have bits and pieces of these perks, but the track inside BU’s Track and Tennis Center is one of the few in the nation that has all of these pieces to help runners and is why the track often produces some of the best times in the country. Last year at the same meet, seven runners ran sub-4:00 miles at BU.

Three seasons of running puts a great deal of stress on distance runners so often times they spend indoor meets tapering. The winter season is much more critical for the sprinters, hurdlers, and jumpers, who only get two seasons.

“One thing that we do here is sort of low key indoors,” Fox said. “Outdoors is much more important to us.”

“We’ll take a few big shots this indoor (season), especially on the distance side, we’ll be pretty good indoors, but really great outdoors,” Fox added. “We just don’t feel like you can run three really hard seasons.”

With a forgiving, fast track, BU will likely be one of the places where Syracuse takes a “big shot.”

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