After both the men’s and women’s cross country teams improved on their performances from last season at the National Catholic Championships, the Griffs are preparing for another test at the Paul Short Run.
With 141 teams, the event is divided into three tiers. Canisius will be competing in the Brown Race, which is the second seeded race behind the premier Gold Race.
“I was telling the guys on our team that this is possibly and hopefully their last chance to win the Paul Short Run,” said head coach Nate Huckle. “We were second last year and we’re in the mix with five or six other teams to win the Brown Race this year, but hopefully we’ll perform well enough this year and develop into next year to get ourselves seeded into the Gold Race.”
To do so, the Griffs will need to have another strong performance from sophomore Cooper Roach, who finished 9th at the National Catholic Championship. They’re also hoping fellow sophomore Michael Anvelt will join him near the front of the pack after finishing 38th at the National Catholic Championship.
Canisius will also get its first taste of conference competition, with eight MAAC programs participating in the Paul Short Run.
“We really haven’t seen what other teams can put together so far,” Huckle said. “At this point teams are still hashing out their lineups and getting freshmen experience with longer distances. This is a large race and probably one of the first times we’ll see varsity squads racing at 100 percent, so this will give us a good idea of where we’ll stack up in the MAAC this year.”
In addition to competing against other MAAC Schools this will be one of the largest events on the Griffs’ schedule providing a good source of competition, especially in the women’s race.
“I think we’re going to see a big jump this year on the women’s side,” Huckle said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we jump into the top-10, and that’s our goal. I think the women’s Brown Race is actually a little stronger than the men’s. There are a lot of very solid teams, but I’d be disappointed if we finish outside the top-10.”
The Griffs are hoping to build on the breakout performance from senior Catherine Phillips at the National Catholic Championship, in her first competition in three years. Phillips was Canisius’ top finisher in 18:58.
The action will get underway at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday with the men starting at that time, and the women following 45 minutes later.