A second place finish from the Canisius College men’s cross country team – which ties the best finish in program history, and is the best finish since 1995 – highlighted the Griffs performance at the MAAC Championship in Van Cortlandt Park on Friday in New York City.
The Canisius top-five all finished in the top 21 overall and sophomore Cooper Roach led the way with a ninth place finish (26:04).
Freshman Jeff Antolos (26:23) and sophomore Michael Anvelt (26:24) finished in 13th and 14th respectively. Freshmen Brennan Root (16th) and Xavier Sauvageau (21st) rounded out the Griffs scoring.
"I'm very proud of our program and what our student-athletes accomplished today," said head coach Nate Huckle. "On the men's side, we had an opportunity to do something great and we took advantage of it. Our runners went out aggressively through the first two miles and then kept pressing hard through the hills in the middle of the course. By the end of the third mile we had second place wrapped up, but our leaders kept driving hard and we ended up with three individuals earning All-Conference honors."
Roach, Antolos and Anvelt were all awarded All-MAAC honors by finishing in the top-15.
"It was a total team effort, as one through nine had their best races of the season," Huckle said. "Cooper and Jeff were outstanding up front, but Mike, Brennan and Xavier really pulled through for us. Mike finally broke out of his sophomore slump and rallied our pack behind Cooper. They were not to be denied today."
Iona swept the top-six places in the race to win the title with 15 points. Canisius raked in 73 points, and Rider finished third with 109 points.
On the women’s side, Canisius raced to a sixth place finish. The Griffs were led by a pair of seniors up front as Mikelle Cala (23:21) and Catherine Phillips (23:43) finished 15th and 20th overall respectively.
Freshman Haley Keene was the third Griff to cross the line in 31st place (24:22). Senior Jaime Wallace and freshman Macey Walker both crossed the line at 24:52 and finished 51st and 52nd respectively.
"The women were only three points back from Rider, which overall was tough to take," Huckle said. "But overall, they were in the hunt for a top-five finish. We were solid up front and our pack ran well, but we needed to hold position better through the second mile. We are a young team, and we gained valuable experience and confidence this weekend."
The Griffs finished with 150 points, behind Rider's 147. Iona also won the women’s competition with 30 points.
The Griffs will now have a two-week layoff before competing on the same course at the NCAA Northeast Regionals on Nov. 15.