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Frauenhofer seeks Whalen's mark

She has the biography pinned to her bulletin board, so every day she sees the accomplishments of Heather Whalen at Canisius College.

Maura Frauenhofer is determined to surpass them.

If the start of her junior season at Canisius is any indication, Frauenhofer is off to a solid start on that journey.

The cross country runner from Nardin has two impressive results, winning the Duquesne Duals and placing 10th in the National Catholic Championships at Notre Dame.

On the 5K Notre Dame course, she ran a personal-best 18:31 and helped the Golden Griffins to a second-place team finish, their best ever in the 31-team field.

While she was very excited about the team performance, she was disappointed in her time. Frauenhofer was 34 seconds off Whalen's 1990 record of 17:54, set at the same meet.

"I was happy with my performance but I was hoping to run a little faster," Frauenhofer said. "I'm really hoping to break the school record, and it was set at that course. I was still really happy with that race because last year I ran about a minute and a half slower.

"I was really impressed with the team performance. It was one of those races where not all of us ran perfectly but together the team was perfect. It's races like that which can win us conference championships."

Frauenhofer's previous best time in a collegiate cross country meet was 19:07 at the Albany Invitational her freshman year. Last year, she was recovering from a puncture injury that came when she fell while training and landed on a rock.

This year, she is not only healthy, but has a different plan of attack and mind-set that has helped her improve her times.

Finding a comfort zone in distance running, Frauenhofer trained for the Buffalo Half Marathon last year and finished the 13.1-mile course in 1:22:04 -- good enough for fifth overall among women.

That type of distance training helped her gain strength and sparked her confidence for her cross country season.

"During that time I realized I do better with higher mileage training," she said. "The entire spring I was running about 65 miles a week to train for the half marathon. Then throughout this season I've been running a little more than I usually do for cross country training. I've been running about 55 to 60 and in the past I've only done about 45 to 50.

"I've just been working hard for a long time and I think all of a sudden, finally, it's starting to pay off."

She plans to run the Buffalo Half Marathon again this spring and is looking forward to training for her first marathon once her collegiate cross country career is completed.

Until then, her goal is to break that 17:54 record. She stares at Whalen's biography every day as her source of motivation and inspiration.

"I made a decision that running was going to be the most important thing in my life. Freshman year, I cared about running but it's nothing like it is now. For me, it's the No. 1 most important thing. It's a huge sacrifice but great athletes make huge sacrifices and that's how you become great at what you do."

Frauenhofer will have a chance for another title Saturday when Canisius, Niagara and St. Bonaventure compete in the annual Little Three Meet in Olean. Canisius won both team titles last year; the women have won nine of the last 11 and the men seven of the last 11 team titles.

>Volleyball

The University at Buffalo already has more wins this season than the previous two combined. Not a bad way for first-year coach Todd Kress to start his tenure with the Bulls. The team won its second tournament of the fall, sweeping three matches to take the Cornell Invitational title and move to 9-4 overall.

Mid-American Conference play hasn't historically unfolded well for the Bulls. They open the MAC season this weekend with road matches at Miami and Bowling Green.

In Division III, Medaille continues its best start ever at 8-1 overall. The Mavericks will host Penn State-Altoona (7-8 overall) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

>Men's soccer

Another year, another stellar start for Medaille, where success has come to be expected, and a 7-0-1 record is almost ho-hum.

Not so ho-hum is the play of Gary Boughton (Lancaster). The senior recently became the NCAA Division III career assists leader. Boughton has seven assists this season and 67 for his career.

His coach, Dan Krzyzanowicz, entered the 100-win club. Coach K is 102-32-13 in his eight years with the Mavs.

Medaille is ranked 21st in the nation this week by D3Soccer.com. It's the third highest national ranking ever for Medaille. The 2006 team was ranked 20th and 16th.

The Mavericks will be seeking their sixth straight win when they travel to a neutral site, McDowell High in Erie, Pa., to face Hiram (Ohio) College (4-3) at 7 tonight.

>Women's soccer

There was something special for Canisius (6-0-1) in its victory Sunday over Buffalo. It not only prolonged the longest streak without a loss to start a season in school history, it also was the first win over the Bulls since 2003. Senior Syvlia Kowalski is tied for second in points per game (3.00) and is fifth in goals per game (1.14) nationally.

>Streak of the week

Sam Morgan, a sophomore libero at Niagara, has recorded double-digit digs in every match of her collegiate volleyball career. That's 43 straight matches, which ranks third in the nation, according to Niagara's sports information staff. Starpoint graduate Allie Matters of Seton Hall and Tracey Lam of Rice have 51 straight double-digit dig games.

>Milestone mark

Senior Siblea McFarland (Salamanca) became the fifth D'Youville women's volleyball player to reach the 1,000-career dig mark. Her three digs against Roberts Wesleyan on Saturday pushed her career total to 1,002. The four-year starter already earned another milestone this year, becoming the Spartans' all-time assist leader. D'Youville will host LaRoche College at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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>On the Web

Follow the college beat on the Campus Watch blog at buffalonews.com

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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