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The Canisius men’s team had its best finish in a decade and Kim Vona had the best individual finish for the Niagara women in five years as the cross country championships for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference were held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Saturday.

The Golden Griffin men finished fourth for their best team performance since 2002. Sophomore Chad Maloy placed ninth overall with a time of 24:53 on the 8K course. That was the best individual finish for a Golden Griffin since Chad Bader placed seventh in 2000.

“Chad really set the tone for how aggressive we were going to race today,” Canisius coach Nate Huckle said. “He is our first runner in over 10 years to crack the top 10 in the MAAC Championship, so for him to go after it and mix it up with Iona and the other top runners in the conference gave our men confidence.”

Iona, ranked fourth nationally, won its 22nd straight MAAC title.

The Canisius women finished sixth, led by junior Mikelle Cala, who took 10th overall on the 6K course in 22:17.23.

For Niagara, Vona placed 11th overall, finishing in 22:17. It was the best finish for a Purple Eagle since Julie Dickhans took fourth in 2007. For Vona, it was her fourth top-15 finish of the season.

Niagara’s women were seventh in the team scoring while the men were eighth.

Meanwhile, the Buffalo State men’s cross country team earned its best team finish since 1980, placing fourth out of 10 teams in the SUNYAC Championships at Lake Erie State Park.

Freshman Alex Ngabo, who lost a shoe during the race, finished 16th on the 8K course in 27:16, missing All-SUNYAC honors by one place. The Bengal women finished eighth.

Soccer

One local team was guaranteed to advance in the Alleghany Mountain Collegiate Conference women’s soccer playoffs, and D’Youville was the team that lived to play another day.

The Spartans advanced in the AMCC playoffs with a 1-0 triumph over cross-town rival Medaille. Rebecca Alvira’s (Mount Mercy) second-half goal was the difference. Goalie Christina Ventresca (Niagara-Wheatfield) made six saves.

D’Youville, which set a program record by notching its 11th win of the season Saturday, will play at No. 1 Penn State-Behrend at noon Wednesday.