After completing their sixth straight sweep at the Little Three Championship, the Canisius College men's and women's cross country teams return to action on Friday afternoon at the 33rd annual National Catholic Championship on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.
The women's 5K-race will begin at 4:15 p.m. followed by the men's 8K-race at approximately 5 p.m.
The National Catholic Championship will feature a combined 34 teams from Catholic institutions from across the nation. A total of 13 NCAA Division I teams will compete at the championship, including host Notre Dame, rival Niagara, Marquette, Xavier, Dayton, and DePaul. Among the 34 teams represented, the championship will feature a combined 846 runners.
Competing in every National Catholic Championship since its inception in 1987, the Griff women secured their best team-finish in 2002 with a second-place finish. In 1990, the former Griff Heather Whalen had the Griffs' best individual performance with a first-place finish in a time of 17:54.
Since 2008, the Griffs have recorded top-ten finishes in their last four appearances at the National Catholic Championship. The senior trio of Christine Mulvihill, Julie Dahlkemper, and Jill Shea finished in the top-50, which helped the team finish ninth among 32 teams. Mulvhill secured the team's best finish, placing 23rd overall with a time of 18:17, a mere two seconds behind her personal best.
On the men's side, the Griffs have performed at every National Catholic Championship except for the inaugural race in 1980. The men matched the women's second-place finish in 2002 for their best team-finish. The highest finish by a male was in 1993, as Jeremy Ashfield placed sixth overall with a time of 25:07. The Griffs' top time of 24:53 belongs to Tom Appenheimer from the 1991 race.
Entering this year's race, the Griffs will try to break into the top-ten for the first time since 2009 when the team placed ninth overall. Last year, Chad Maloy led the men as he knocked over a minute off his personal best with a time of 25:42 to place 40th among 255 runners. Maloy's time ranks 19th among the Griffs' top-40 performances in the men's race at the National Catholic Championship.