Bonnies’ Aim To Surprise Little 3 Rivals

[Photo courtesy of ]

By Tim Harfmann, Staff Writer, @Timharf

The St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s cross country teams start their season on Friday as they host rivals Niagara and Canisius in the Little 3 Invitational on the St. Bonaventure golf course.

The Bonnies have not had much success against their Little 3 opponents, but head coach Bob Macfarlane is confident that his team has the potential to change that this season.

“Canisius is going to be very good again. Obviously they’re the favorite, both the men and women. I think we have a legitimate shot to be with them in the mix of it,” said Macfarlane.

Canisius’ men’s team won last year’s Little 3 Invitational for the sixth consecutive year, while their women’s team won for the fifth consecutive year. Although the St. Bonaventure men’s team finished in last, the women’s team placed second for the first time in team history.

This year’s invitational will be different as the men will run a 5K race at 11 a.m. compared to a usual 8K race.

The 2012 men’s cross country team, without senior leadership, is made up of four freshmen, seven sophomores and three juniors, two of whom are out for the season due to injury.

“The men’s race will be very tough,” Macfarlane said, “but I think we have some freshmen that can step up and make a big difference.”

The women’s race is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. and will also be a 5K race, which is their normal distance.

Macfarlane, who is in his third year with the Brown and White, hopes to see the women improve from last year’s second-place finish and believes Kady Weisner, a junior transfer from Bucknell University, could make a huge impact in the race.

“Don’t be surprised if you see Kady Weisner win the race,” Macfarlane said, speaking highly of the Saint Marys, Pa. native, “I’m not taking anything away from the other girls, but we brought (Weisner) in to be our number one runner and she hasn’t disappointed me in that aspect. She’ll be very competitive.”

The 2012 women’s cross country team consists of four freshmen, five sophomores and one junior.

This year’s invitational, which St. Bonaventure hosts once every three years, will be held on the golf course compared to the athletic fields, where it has been held in previous years. Macfarlane does not believe the times in this year’s 5K races will be as fast as last year’s, due to Niagara’s flat course, but believes this year’s hilly course should not be a challenge for the Bonnies.

“During high school, the kids were so used to running on hilly courses. That’s all they ever ran on,” said Macfarlane.

Macfarlane said the goal is for each individual runner to have their best times at the Atlantic 10 Championship on Oct. 27 in Philadelphia. However, the 1977 St. Bonaventure alum believes that it should not stop them from being competitive on Friday.

“Let’s put it this way, if we come in last, I’ll be disappointed,” the head coach said.
After Friday’s Little 3 Invitational, the Bonnies will compete in five other races.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have been predicted to finish last in the Atlantic 10 Conference, according to this year’s preseason rankings.

Is Macfarlane surprised that both teams were predicted to finish in the “basement of the A-10”?

“Historically, we’ve never been out of the basement and when I got hired that was one of the goals, not to be the doormat for every team in the Atlantic 10,” said Macfarlane.

“I’m hoping that we will be able to move up a spot or two in the men’s and the women’s this year.”

Unlike previous seasons, both the men’s and women’s teams will compete on a biweekly basis. Macfarlane said the reason is for training purposes.

“We had a stretch last year where we had three meets in three weeks and by the time we got to the Paul Short Invitational, the team was tired,” said Macfarlane.

This year’s cross country schedule is filled with unfamiliar courses. In fact, the Bonnies have not ran on any courses this season.  

“I wanted to check out new courses and the kids wanted to see different colleges,” Macfarlane said.

St. Bonaventure will compete for the National Catholic Championship at Notre Dame on Sept.14 and then travel to Leesburg, Va. for the Mason Invitational on Sept. 29.

“We’re going to see some A-10 schools at George Mason and it will be nice to see a few more A-10 schools that we normally don’t see,” said Macfarlane.

The Bonnies will have another two weeks off before heading to Gettysburg, Pa. on Oct. 13 for the Gettysburg Invitational.

On Oct. 27, both teams will compete in Philadelphia as Temple hosts this year’s Atlantic 10 Championship. Macfarlane said the top 10 runners from each team will compete and out of the top 10 from each team, the top seven will compete at the Northeast Regionals in Boston, Mass. on Nov. 9.

“It will become more of a competitive thing for the kids to strive for,” Macfarlane said.

St. Bonaventure mourns the loss of recent graduate

Ashley Sandau [Photo courtesy of]

By Joe Pinter, Assistant News Editor, @jpinter93

ST. BONAVENTURE (April 9) — At 10:25 pm on March 30, a vehicle struck Ashley Sandau while crossing the street. She later died of her injuries at the hospital. 

The tragic accident took the soon-to-be St. Bonaventure University integrated marketing communications graduate’s life while in the company of her father in Silver Lake, California where she had eaten dinner just minutes before.

Sandau, 24, graduated with a journalism and mass communication degree in 2010 but returned to St. Bonaventure to finish her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications in 2011. She had been working as a marketing coordinator at United Consortium in Los Angeles. 

“Ashley came to SBU from Germany where her mother was teaching in a department of defense school for American students of military families,” former cross country coach Tom Hagen, said. “Ashley ran cross country over there. She was a great student while in Germany and a very solid runner.  She knew what she wanted and worked to make it happen.”

Sandau’s mother also had ties to the Olean area, and Hagen said he believes she grew up near Ripley, PA.

While writing and social media were her passions, she also ran cross country at Bonaventure.

Denny Wilkins, professor of journalism and mass communication, said she was one of the leaders every year she ran and her teammates looked up to her.

“She was highly regarded in athletics because she provided leadership on her team, and she was also involved in the student athletic advisory group,” Wilkins, who was also her adviser, said. “Her interests were varied, but she was one of these people that are easy to like.”

Both Hagen and current cross country coach Bob Macfarlane know how much Sandau meant to the team. Both coaches raved about her work ethic and, among other things, her likeable personality.  

“She was the captain of the team for the last two and a half years,” Hagen said. “She had the leadership aura about her, and the team loved her. The student athletes on the cross country team and in the school did look up to her.”  

Hagen also spoke about how she was always a good representative of the women’s team, and how she was mature and very professional in both her athletics and academics.

“Words seem inadequate to express the sadness the cross country team feels about Ashley’s death,” Macfarlane said. “I know the former runners that knew Ashley are deeply sorry to hear about her death. They lost a great friend and a wonderful person.  I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death.  They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make.  Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories.  We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.”  

Wilkins said she will be dearly missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to have her in their lives.

“The young should not die,” Wilkins said. “To me, personally, it’s an incomprehensible loss. I can’t imagine what her parents are going through, or what her boyfriend is going through.”

According to Wilkins, the one trait that stood out far and above everything else was her modesty.

“She was humble,” Wilkins said. “I mean this was a kid who graduated cum laude. She’s a brilliant mind. She knew it, but she was never someone to push it in your face. She was always self-effacing. She went about her business, and she didn’t seek credit where it wasn’t due. She’s really one of the best writers I ever coached here.”

What Hagen will most remember her for is her motivation and her leadership. He said Sandau simply had a drive and no matter what it was, she gave her full effort. She also never let her coach or her teammates down, offering to host a team dinner when Hagen could not.

“I could show up at the Richter Center on any afternoon, and she would be there on the elliptical or doing some other exercise to stay in shape,” Hagen said. “Also, when I was not able to get back for the team dinner for the start of the 2009 season, she stepped up and helped host it in her townhouse. She was just a good captain.”

Sandau became very close with Wilkins and Hagen, staying in touch over the years.

 “She took four courses from me, and even after she finished her undergraduate degree and started her graduate work, she was in my office every two or three weeks, so I spoke with her regularly,” Wilkins said.” And after she left last May and went to California, I still talked with her several times by phone.”

While Ashley won’t be able to finish her masters, she will never be forgotten, especially in the halls of the John J. Murphy Professional Building.

“Sooner or later, I will have the picture of her that ran on,” he said. He then pointed to a blank space on the wall in his office and said, “I’m going to have it framed, and it’s going right there. I am going to make sure that Ashley Sandau is not forgotten in this journalism program.

Bonnies show academic leadership

Student athletes’ GPA averages for spring 2011 semester is higher than the university student body’s

By Tony Lee, editor in chief, @sHecKii

ST. BONAVENTURE (Aug. 23) — St. Bonaventure University student athletes had a higher average semester GPA for the spring 2011 semester than the university’s entire student body, according to data supplied by the athletics department

The data showed students who compete in Division I athletics earned a 3.114 average GPA, compared to 3.035 of the student body this spring. Eleven of the university’s 14 intercollegiate teams had higher than a 3.00 average semester GPA, too.

Women’s soccer, coached by Manoj Khettry, had the highest semester team GPA at 3.476. Softball, coached by Mike Threehouse, had 3.395; women’s cross-country, coached by Bob Macfarlane, had 3.329; and women’s tennis, coached by Mike Bates, had 3.305.

“They take great pride in their achievements in the classroom, and our coaches make sure they understand the importance of academic success,” said Steve Watson, director of athletics.

Out of 240 Division I student athletes, senior cross-country runner Elizabeth Moran was one of nine who achieved a perfect 4.0 in the spring.

She said time management skills helped her handle the delicate balance between athletics and academia.

“It’s being able to decide what’s the most important thing to do and (do it) at a certain time,” said Moran, an elementary and special education major. “I don’t sit around and watch a bunch of TV. Basically, I go to class, go to practice, and go do my work.”

The average semester GPA for women was 3.241; the average semester GPA for men was 2.991.

“I am very proud of the student athletes for achieving such great success in their academics,” said Michelle Kent, assistant athletic director for academic support and student services. “They have a lot of things they have to balance and they do a great job of managing their time to be successful.”

Women’s basketball (2.830), baseball (2.760) and men’s basketball (2.607) fell below 3.0.

Cross-country had the highest semester average amongst men at 3.204.