The Canisius College men's and women's cross country teams competed in their final tuneup prior to the conference championship. On Saturday morning, the Golden Griffins traveled to the campus of fellow MAAC member Fairfield to compete in the fifth annual Fr. Laurence O'Neil, S.J. Invitational. The men captured their second first-place performance of the season with the women placing second.
"This is the best we have looked all season," said head coach Nate Huckle. "Both teams had rock-solid execution of our gameplan to go out under control and then move up through the field."
In the field of nine teams, the Golden Griffin men secured their first-place finish with 25 points, followed by fellow MAAC opponent Siena with 76 points. The Saints edged Colgate (77 points) for second place by one point with a 76 to 77 advantage. Host Fairfield finished fourth on 107 points with the Golden Griffins snapping the Stags' run of three straight team titles.
Sophomore Chad Maloy earned his second individual title of the season, leading the field of 75 runners with a time of 25:44. A total of six Griffs placed within the top-nine slots of the 8K-race with freshman Cooper Roach taking third place (26:05) to finish in the top-three with Maloy. Beginning with sixth place, the Griffs occupied the next four spots with freshman Travis Jordon in sixth (26:11), freshman Michael Anvelt in seventh (26:12), senior Alex Simon in eighth (26:13), and junior Nate McCabe in ninth (26:14).
"Chad set the pace for our men and they backed him up very well," said Huckle. "For oup gap between the first and sixth man to be as tight as 30 seconds that shows a tremendous team effort."
In the women's race of eight teams, the Golden Griffin women placed second with 50 points behind champion Wagner, who scored 40 points to take the title. The Golden Griffs beat out host Fairfield for second by one point with the Stags scoring 51 points. Siena followed the Stags for fourth with 93 points.
Junior Mikelle Cala paced the Golden Griffin women, posting a third-place finish with a time of 19:20. Junior Jaime Wallace and sophomore Morgan Atkins joined Cala in the top-ten, as Wallace placed fifth (19:38) followed by Atkins in sixth (19:45). Rounding out the Griffs' top-five finishers were freshman Robin Wagner in 17th (20:27) and freshman Mary Kate Chambers in 19th (20:33).
"The women took a big step forward as a team today," said Huckle. "Mikelle, Jaime and Morgan have been getting the job done up front for us, but our fourth
through seventh runners really did their job out there."
The Blue and Gold will next compete in the 2012 MAAC Men's and Women's Cross Country Championship held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Saturday, Oct. 27. Both races will be aired on ESPN3.