Canisius Director of Athletics Bill Maher announced today that the College has expanded its running program to include men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track to its NCAA Division I sports offerings. The teams will begin varsity competition immediately, with the program’s first event scheduled for Friday, Jan. 10, at the Southern Tier Collegiate Open, hosted by Cornell. The track teams will compete in distance events only (400 meters or longer) and there are no plans to add field events to the program.
“The expansion of our running program to include indoor and outdoor track will strengthen our cross country programs and allow the College to continue to recruit student-athletes that fit our institutional profile,” Maher said. “The ability for our student-athletes to compete in both indoor and outdoor track will provide the necessary training and competition as we continue to build toward team and individual championships in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.”
The men’s and women’s teams will run in indoor and outdoor track events, and both programs will compete in the MAAC. With Canisius adding track, a total of eight MAAC schools will sponsor the sport. The 2014 MAAC Indoor Track and Field Championship, which Canisius will compete in, is set for Feb. 21, in the New Balance Armory Track and Field Center in New York City. The 2014 MAAC Outdoor Track and Field Championship will take place May 3-4 at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J.
Canisius cross country coach Nate Huckle, the 2013 MAAC Cross Country Coach of the Year, will serve as the head coach for both the men’s and women’s track programs. Huckle, who just completed his second season as the school’s head cross country coach, will be elevated to full-time status and he will be assisted by former Canisius cross country runner Aileen Hoak, who has been an assistant with the school’s cross country programs for six seasons.
“This has been a year-long process that we have been working on, with the main goals of improving our cross country program and recruiting great student-athletes,” Huckle said. “Adding track will ensure that we are competitive in both the MAAC and at a regional level. This expansion allows for our student-athletes to have year-round training and competition opportunities, and it will improve our recruiting base and allow us to attract the best student-athletes we can to Canisius.”Canisius last sponsored both indoor and outdoor track during the 2002-03 academic year. Track will be the ninth varsity men’s program at Canisius and it will give the school 10 varsity women’s programs for the remainder of the 2013-14 academic year.