By Marshall Haim
Assistant Sports Editor
Senior runner Brennan Root and sophomore Siobhan Quinn have a couple things in common with one another. They both graduated from Rush-Henrietta High School in Henrietta, New York (a suburb of Rochester), and they both broke a Canisius course record at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Root finished 40th overall in the invitational hosted by Lehigh University, the best among Canisius runners. The senior runner finished with a time of 24:21, breaking the course record set by one of his roommates, Jeff Antolos, by 16 seconds. Root’s time was also a personal best in an 8K race at Cansius, finishing seven seconds better than his MAAC Championship time from last year.
“Coach Huckle is really knowledgeable, and we buy into his process,” Root stated about his success. “We trust his mileage and all of his techniques to build us up to that point where we need to be. We focus on each race and worry about peaking when it matters which is late-October, early November.”
Through the first three races of this season, Root has been amongst the top two Canisius runners and has finished as the team’s top runner twice. He placed first overall in the Little Three Championship (Sept. 2) with a time of 15:34 in the annual 5K race, which was also a personal best for a 5K. He finished 8th overall in the National Catholic Championship held at the University of Notre Dame on Sept. 16 with a time of 25:40.6, which was the second best for Canisius, behind freshman Donovan Glavin, who finished just over a full second better.
“Brennan has always been a great competitor and is a talented athlete,” Canisius head coach Nate Huckle stated about his senior runner. “He decided to come out and compete (instead of redshirting), he came into his season in fantastic shape from a strong summer and decided that he would compete this year and take advantage of the excellent form he was in.”
Root’s success has also helped fellow roommate and senior, A.J. Stuver. Just like his roommate, Stuver set a personal best at the invitational last week with a time of 25:50.6. His time shattered his old personal record by 17 seconds, which was also set at last year’s MAAC Championships.
“Team 308B, as we call it. We roomed in the same exact room half of a suite our freshman year and we’ve been living together since,” Stuver said about his connection with Root. “We were competitors in high school (Stuver attended McQuaid Jesuit in Rochester). He’s always been a little bit ahead of me, as far as the elite status, but it’s been really great to see everything he does.”
While success has been coming to Root and Stuver recently, Siobhan Quinn has finished as Canisius’ best runner in all of her eight collegiate races. The sophomore broke the women’s course record for Canisius in the Paul Short Invitational by an outstanding 37 seconds with a time of 20:58. Ironically, she broke the record that she set last season, where she finished seventh amongst 387 runners.
“I’d say she’s arguably the best cross country runner on the women’s side that we’ve had at Canisius,” Coach Huckle stated about the sophomore. “She’s posted some of the best times on courses we’ve consistently ran on. She was one of those runners in high school that was an incredible talent. She qualified for the Nike Nationals her sophomore year. I think we were really lucky to bring her in, she’s truly a fantastic runner and she’s just on a role right now.”
“Like most other runners, my running career has had a lot of ups and downs,” Quinn said. “I had some great successes in high school, but I also had longer periods of not achieving what I wanted. It really comes down to having goals in my head of the type of runner I want to be. I have to go through a mental pep talk with myself before races in order to calm myself down and not psych myself out. During the race I repeatedly have to think to myself things like ‘you’re strong’ or ‘believe’.”
At Notre Dame this year, Quinn set a personal best for a 5K with a time of 18:00.4, breaking her personal best that was set in her first collegiate race. In Quinn’s collegiate races so far, she has placed in the top 10 in all but two races. She has also finished in the top 10 in races that has featured 129, 178, and 387 racers.
“I am very proud of both of them,” Quinn and Root’s cross country coach from Rush-Henrietta, Mike DeMay said. “They have both had their share of ups and downs, but through it all they have continued to work hard to improve and be contributors to their team.”
Quinn has also helped a teammate and fellow classmate achieve better times this season. Aileen Doyle not only has a tight bond with Quinn, but with all of her teammates. She says that the entire team has brought the best out of her.
“I feel indescribably fortunate to be a member of this team,” Doyle explained. “My teammates are also my sisters. Everyone brings something unique to the team that creates strength on the course and that atmosphere continues off the course.”
Doyle, just like Quinn, Stuver, and Root, set a personal best at the Paul Short Invitational with a time of 22:43.6. Her time was just a little over a second better than her time she had at last year’s MAAC Championships, her original personal best time.
The entire cross country team will look to improve on their positive performances from last week when they will compete in the Canisius Alumni Classic. The annual race will occur at Delaware Park, the home course for the Griffs, on Oct. 15 at 12pm.