The Canisius College cross country team is set to open up the 2014 season this weekend as the Griffs travel to Niagara Falls, N.Y., to partake in the annual Little Three Championships. The event will take place on Sat. Aug. 30 and will feature long-time rivals St. Bonaventure and Niagara.
“This season has the potential to be one of the strongest in Canisius cross country history. The men were picked 12th in the region, after not being ranked for over a decade, and we managed to retain our top-five runners while bringing in some red-shirt talent,” said head coach Nate Huckle, “Besides our men’s team, the women’s squad is legs forward from where they were a few seasons ago, I feel like they are set to surprise some people this year.”
There will be 16 returns on the men’s squad, including its top-five performers from last season. The team will have four seniors, four juniors, eight sophomores and two incoming freshman. The top returners for the men will be senior Chad Maloy, juniors Michael Anvelt, who finished first in last year’s Little Three Championship with a time of 15:48, and Cooper Roach and sophomores Jeffrey Antolos, Brennan Root and Xavier Sauvageau. The Griffs men’s team was pegged to finish 12th in the Northeast Region by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association.
The women’s team brings back 12 members of last year’s squad, including two graduate students, two seniors, a junior and seven sophomores and will also bring in six freshmen runners. The top returners for the Griffs women’s squad are sophomores Haley Keene, Macey Walker and graduate student Catherine Phillips. Huckle is very excited about the incoming freshmen on the women’s side as well, as the head coach noted that, “The six freshmen are already making an immediate impact to the top-seven on our team, with two of them already being included in our top-five performers.”
Canisius has won the Little Three Championship eight straight times on the men’s side and prior to last year’s second place finish for the women, the Blue and Gold had swept the event for seven straight seasons.