Justyn Knight ’18
Photo courtesy of SU Athletic Communications
Knight leads Orange cross country team to third place at nationals
Justyn Knight ’18 proved without question this fall that he is among the nation’s elite distance runners. The Syracuse junior finished second at the NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country Championship on November 19 in Terre Haute, Indiana, leading the Orange to a third-place finish. “Overall I’m really pleased,” said head coach Chris Fox, whose squad was defending its 2015 national title. It was the Orange’s third-straight top-five performance and fourth-straight top-10 finish. Northern Arizona won the team title and Stanford was second. “The guys ran awesome, they took a shot and we had a real good chance to win until late, but things happen, that’s part of the sport,” Fox said. “To come back after last year and match back up with everyone in the country when no one really thought we could do it is pretty cool.”
Knight’s runner-up showing was the best individual performance in program history at the national meet. Knight, who placed fourth at last year’s championship, headed into the NCAA race with four wins in four outings this season, including victories in the ACC and NCAA Northeast Regional meets. He finished the 10K run in 29:27.3, just five seconds behind Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan, who claimed the title. Three-time defending NCAA champion Edward Cheserek of Oregon placed third. “It was a good race,” Knight said. “Tiernan is a very talented runner—he’s an Olympian and I was happy with the way I finished. Going toward next year it just gives me something to strive for. I’m really happy for the team and what we were able to accomplish with a third-place finish.”
Both Knight and teammate Colin Bennie ’18, who finished 17th (30:10.4), earned All-America accolades for the second-straight season. Joel Hubbard ’17 also collected All-America honors, placing 34th (30:21.3). Rounding out the scoring for the Orange were Philo Germano ’18 (49th, 30:32.5) and Adam Visokay G’17 (108th, 30:55.5). Kevin James ’19 finished 116th (30:58.6) and Iliass Aouani ’19 placed 128th (31:06.4).
Heading into the NCAA meet, the Orange collected its seventh—and fourth-straight—NCAA Northeast Regional title and fifth-straight conference championship (fourth ACC). It was also Fox’s seventh league title in the last eight seasons. In both races, SU placed all five scoring runners in the top 10. Knight, who collected his second consecutive Northeast crown, was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Northeast Region Men’s Performer of the Year for the second-straight year, and Fox received USTFCCCA Northeast Men’s Coach of the Year honors for the fourth consecutive season. He’s collected the honor nine times, including seven for the men’s award and twice for the women’s coach of the year honor. He was the 2015 USTFCCA National Coach of the Year.
The SU women’s tennis duo of Valeria Salazar ’17 and Gabriela Knutson ’19 advanced to the semifinals of the 2016 USTA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Indoor Championships in Flushing, New York, in November. They won two matches in the tournament before falling to the eventual champions from the University of Kentucky.
The pair qualified for the nationals by winning the ITA Northeast Regional Championships at Yale in October. The top-seeded pair posted a 6-2, 6-2 win in the finals. The fifth-seeded Salazar also claimed the singles title, winning all five of her matches in straight sets, including a 6-2, 6-3 victory in the finals.
Seeking to defend its 2015 national title, the SU field hockey team (15-4) moved into the NCAA quarterfinals before dropping a 3-2 double overtime loss to UConn at Coyne Stadium in November.
Backs Lies Lagerweij ’18 and Roos Weers ’19 were named to the Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-America First Team, and midfielder Laura Hurff ’18 was selected for second-team honors. It was the second straight season Hurff collected All-America accolades. The three also earned All-ACC and NFHCA All-Mideast Region first-team honors.
The SU men’s soccer team completed its season with a 12-4-4 record and its third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. Coach Ian McIntyre’s Orange knocked off Dartmouth, 3-0, at SU Soccer Stadium in the tourney’s second round. In its third-round matchup, held November 27 at Murphy Field, Onondaga Community College, the Orange was derailed by North Carolina, 1-0.
Miles Robinson ’19 was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America First Team. He was also voted the ACC’s Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s head coaches and named to the All-ACC First Team along with forward Chris Nanco ’17. Midfielder Mo Adams ’20 earned All-ACC Third Team honors and a spot on the league’s All-Freshman Team. Goalie Hendrik Hilpert ’19 was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Third Team. He is a double major in finance and economics.
Coach Dino Babers’s Orange football team (4-8) capped off its 2016 season with a 76-61 shootout loss to Pittsburgh at Heinz Field on November 26, the highest scoring game in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history. The game featured an FBS-record 20 touchdowns and more than 1,300 yards of total offense. Quarterback Zack Mahoney ’18 accounted for a program record seven TDs, which included tying the school record of five TD passes. All five of Mahoney’s TD strikes went to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo G’17, who had the most prolific receiving season in Orange history. His five TD receptions tied an ACC record and set a new SU record, while his 14 TD receptions for the season tied a program record. Etta-Tawo, a graduate transfer from Maryland, also established SU single-season marks for receptions (94), receiving yards (1,482), receiving yards per game (123.5), and 100-yard receiving games (seven). He was among the nation’s leading receivers and accepted an invitation to participate in the 2016 Senior Bowl on January 28.
A Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, Etta-Tawo was tapped for the 2016 Sporting News All-America Second Team, as well as AP's All-America Third Team. In addition, he was named to the All-ACC First Team by both the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) and the ACC coaches. Also earning All-ACC honors were return specialist Brisly Estime ’17 (second team, coaches; third team, ACSMA), receiver Ervin Philips ’18 (honorable mention, both), linebacker Zaire Franklin ’18 (third team, ACSMA; honorable mention, coaches), linebacker Parris Bennett ’18 (honorable mention, both), and punter Sterling Hofrichter ’20 (third team, ACSMA; honorable mention, coaches).--
Orange tight end Cameron MacPherson ’16, G’17 was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team in December. MacPherson earned bachelor’s degrees in international relations and television, radio, and film, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Pan African studies. He was also a 2015-16 Remembrance Scholar.
The SU women’s soccer team was a recipient of the NCAA Public Recognition Award, an honor bestowed on teams with an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports in the 2014-15 academic year.