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Niagara cross country announces newcomers, 2018 schedule


xcNIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Niagara University cross country head coach Christine Kloiber announced the incoming class of 2018, which features six freshmen from around New York state. She also released the team's schedule for the 2018 season. The team will take part in four events prior to the MAAC Championships, which will be hosted by Siena College on Oct. 27.
"Our recruited class of freshmen were really hand-picked to shape the balance of abilities we have on the squad," said Kloiber. "Recruiting rarely goes as well as you hope, so we were incredibly fortunate it unfolded the way we had envisioned. There's guaranteed to be a few surprises, but I think we should have a strong showing in the conference if everyone stays healthy."
The additions to the women's cross country squad include: Meggie Hart, a four-year member of the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams at Cazenovia High School; Grace Kibler, a five-year member of Attica High School's track and field team and a four-year runner for the Blue Devils cross country squad; Alison Marabella, who ran cross country for three years and track for two years at Mount Mercy Academy; Annina Marullo, who completed six years of track and five years of cross country experience at Cicero-North Syracuse High School; Casey Roman, an Elmira High School alumna who competed in indoor track and outdoor track for four years, and cross country and soccer for two years; Elle Russell, who spent six years running for Springville-Griffith Institute's cross country squad and five years each with the school's indoor and outdoor track programs.
"Looking at the athletes we have on the team – those that are returning and those who are new – it will be an exciting season," Kloiber added. "We have a really strong group of sophomores who were a tremendously attentive and coachable freshmen class a year ago, and with the growth they've undergone since that time, I know they're already way ahead of their fitness compared to last summer. The upperclassmen are going to be the backbone of the team, as they will mentor their younger teammates through the year."
Niagara's first meet of the 2018 season will be the Little 3 Invitational on Sept. 1 at St. Bonaventure. The women's 5k will start the day at 10 a.m. followed by the men's 5k at 10:45 a.m.
The following week, the Purple Eagles will take part in the Siena College Invitational on Sept. 8. The men's 8k will get underway at 9:45 a.m., while the women's 5k will begin at 10:30 a.m.
"In terms of the schedule, we shook things up a little bit. With Siena hosting the MAAC meet this year, we're taking the opportunity at the beginning of the season to compete at their home invitational to preview the course," Kloiber commented. "That means we won't be traveling the way we usually do to Notre Dame and will have two weeks off from a competition prior to Paul Short, but I don't feel that's a bad thing. It will give us some additional time to bring the younger athletes along."
Niagara's next meet will occur on Sept. 29 at Lehigh University. The men will race in the Paul Short Run's 8k at 12:15 p.m., with the women following in the 6k at 1 p.m.
The final regular season meet of the fall will be hosted by Canisius at Delaware Park on Oct. 13. The women will open their 5k at 12 p.m., with the men set to start the 8k at 12:45 p.m.
Two weeks later, the Purple Eagles will return to Albany for the MAAC Championships at Siena on Oct. 27. The men's 8k will lead off the day at 11 a.m., while the women will race the 6k at 12 p.m.
Pending qualification, Niagara will also send runners to NCAA Regionals, which will be held on Nov. 9 and hosted by the University at Buffalo.
2018 will be Kloiber's sixth season as head coach.


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