The Canisius College cross country team will head to Van Cortlandt Park in New York City, to compete in the MAAC Championships on Friday.
The Griffs are coming off a sweep at the Canisius Alumni Classic on Oct. 19, where Canisius focused on improving its gaping while cruising to the victory in the inaugural event.
Head coach Nate Huckle has high hopes for his teams heading into the races. On the men’s side, Huckle is hoping the talent of his top-five runners can help the Griffs onto the podium.
“Really what we’re looking at is finishing in the top three, we could be anywhere from second to fifth going down there,” Huckle said. “The difference between second and fifth is really how many guys we can pack into the top-20. [Sophomore] Cooper Roach is going to be right up there at the front of the pack and [freshman] Jeff Antolos is coming on strong and looking at probably an all-conference finish in the top 15. After that it’s really going to depend on where we can pack in [freshman] Brennan Root, [sophomore] Mike Anvelt and [freshman] Xavier Sauvageau.”
Roach has been the top-finisher in the Griffs last three events, highlighted by a ninth overall finish at the National Catholic Championships and a fourth place finish at the Paul Short Run.
The Canisius women come into the meet having avenged its second place finish in the Little Three Championship with a first place finish against the same field at the Canisius Alumni Classic.
The Griffs will also return senior Catherine Phillips, who took was the team’s top finisher at the National Catholic Championship. She’ll join fellow senior Mikelle Cala in leading the Griffs’ pack.
“With Catherine and Mikelle up front that gives us a strong one-two punch,” Huckle said. “[Freshman] Haley Keene is coming on strong and senior Jamie Wallace is an experienced runner as well, so they’re both runners who should finish in the top-30 for us. It’s going to come down to what our fifth runner is going to do. Right now we’ve got six runners vying for that sixth spot. We’re in a much better place than we were in last year, so we’re just hoping one can have a great race and bring home our top-five scoring.”
The Griffs’ women will get underway first at 12 p.m. and the men will start 45 minutes later.