The Canisius College Cross Country team will host the inaugural Canisius Alumni Classic on Saturday afternoon. The event will feature local rivals St. Bonaventure and Niagara.
Following a two-week layoff after the Paul Short Run, the Griffs return to the Delaware Park course that they competed on for the Little Three Championship. The women will compete on the same 5k course, while the men will extend the course to compete at the 8k distance.
“I think having a home meet each year is important for the program,” said head coach Nate Huckle. “It helps give the program an identity on campus, and gives a better chance for students or other athletes to come over and support us. It makes our student-athletes feel more tied in with the campus and I think having an event here every year is important.”
Earlier this season when the programs went head-to-head the Canisius men were able to take the top spot, while the women finished second to St. Bonaventure.
The men took the top five-spots in that event with sophomore Michael Anvelt taking the victory.
Senior Mikelle Cala was the Griffs top finisher, placing fourth overall, with freshman Haley Keene following closely behind in fifth place. The Bonnies finished with five of the top-nine spots last time around.
“St. Bonaventure’s running very well this year,” Huckle said. “Their women’s team is firing on all cylinders this season. We know we can run with them, we beat them at the National Catholic Championship and they beat us again in the Paul Short Run, so there’s a nice rivalry developing with them. I think we’re hungry to go out and prove ourselves this weekend. They know they can run with them and they know that they can contend for the championship this weekend.”
This will be the Griffs final race prior to competing in the MAAC Championships, so the Griffs are looking to solidify their lineup heading into their biggest event of the season.
Action will get underway at noon when the women’s race takes off, followed 45 minutes later when the men’s race begins.