ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The 2012 men's and women's cross country seasons will kick off Friday morning as St. Bonaventure will be host to the Little Three Invitational against rivals Canisius and Niagara at the St. Bonaventure Golf Course, located directly across the street from campus.
The women's 5K race is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m., while the men will begin their 5K at 11:30. The men's team will look to avenge last year's third-place finish while the women's squad will look to build on 2011's second-place finish.
Canisius won the last season's men's race for the sixth year in a row and finished first in the women's race for the fifth consecutive year. The Griffs dominated the men's event last year with a score of 19, while Niagara finished in a distant second with a 52 and St. Bonaventure rounded out the trio with an 87. The Canisius women also won by a sizable margin with 26 as St. Bonaventure took second place with 47 and Niagara scored a 51.
The Bona men's team returns nearly all of its top finishers from last year but has no seniors and only two juniors (another junior, Peter Eller, is out for the season with a foot injury). The team is made up of four freshmen: Joe Ferencik, Nick Konotopskyj, Caleb Lecker and Kevin Sidoran; seven sophomores: Dan Egan, Steven Kibbe, Nick Masiello, Dan Myers, Nick Taylor, Harley Thompson and Matt Trifoso; and the aforementioned juniors: transfer Christopher Spiker and captain Terrance Petty.
The Bonaventure women's team also has no seniors and holds only one junior, transfer Kady Weisner. The squad has four freshmen: Kerry Caher, Rachel Dorogi, Aubrie Russell and Maggie Schunk; and five sophomores: Emily Steves, Hannah Robinson, Elizabeth Dickinson, Taylor Greene and Morgan Mayo.
Both teams were picked to finished last (16th) in the Atlantic 10 Conference in the preseason poll. Defending champion La Salle was picked to finish first in both polls.
Highlights of the St. Bonaventure 2012 schedule include trips to Notre Dame for the National Catholic Championships, Leesburg, Va. for the Mason Invitational and Gettysburg, Pa. for the Gettysburg Invitational. The A-10 Championships will be held Philadelphia on Oct. 27.
Following the Little Three Invitational, the team will have a couple weeks off from competition before heading to South Bend for the National Catholic Championships on Sept. 14.