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Cayuga Community College is adding cross country to fall-sports lineup

AUBURN — Cayuga Community College has decided to add men’s and women’s cross-country running to its intercollegiate athletic program this fall.

The college considers student interest, cost, and scheduling when determining if it should add a sport to its athletic program, says Pete Liddell, the school’s athletic director.

“So, this particular sport has been something’s that been identified with prospective students as something they’d be interested in participating in,” he says.

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Cayuga started discussions on adding the sport earlier this year and notified the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) that it was adding cross country and had the budget to handle the sport, says Liddell.

The addition of cross country will bring the number of intercollegiate athletic teams at Cayuga Community College to 12.

The school tapped Toni Giannettino to coach the cross-country team on a part-time basis. Giannettino had joined the college back in December as the executive director of the Faculty-Student Association at Cayuga.

The college describes Giannettino, an Auburn resident, as an “avid, and experienced runner who will be able to provide great coaching and mentoring for the Cayuga student-athletes.”

“The Faculty-Student Association was supportive. The college was supportive. And we were fortunate [to] have somebody on staff that was interested in coaching,” says Liddell.

Liddell declined to disclose how much the cross-country program costs the school, but noted it will incur costs for uniforms, transportation, meal money for the participating students, and a part-time stipend for Giannettino.

“Nothing that’s too outrageous or too expensive, so that’s another obvious benefit of adding cross country,” says Liddell.

“We are very excited to be able to add this to our athletic programs and feel it will be a great opportunity for area high school graduates to attend Cayuga and continue
their cross country careers as college athletes,” Brian Durant, president of Cayuga Community College, said in a news release.

Liddell also noted that it’s not the first time that Cayuga Community College has offered cross country.

In 1993, the school’s women’s team won the Division III junior college national championship.

Student involvement
Liddell is aware of some students who are possibly interested in participating in the sport, and is hopeful that they’ll “follow through.”

The program’s pre-season begins in mid-August and cross-country meets start in the beginning of September.

“I think as we get closer to the beginning of August, we’ll have a better idea of how many participants we’ll have,” says Liddell.

He’s hoping for five male and five female runners for the team but also notes the team can run “with however many we have.”

Cayuga Community College competes at the Division III level of junior-college sports, so it doesn’t offer athletic scholarships for its sports.

The school offers an athletics program because it can attract students to the campus, Liddell notes.

“That’s the real revenue piece of it,” he says. “How many students is it going to bring to the college?”

The Cayuga Spartans have already committed to running events at the University of Rochester, SUNY Geneseo, Roberts Wesleyan, Houghton, and Finger Lakes Community College this fall.

The school doesn’t plan to host any meets this fall.

“We’re looking at the future of possible hosting a meet down the road once we get a little more established,” says Liddell.

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