JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- A resurgent James Vander Wiele (Pequannock, NJ) led a short-handed Felician College men's cross-country team to a fourth-place finish out of 14 schools at the 2011 Collegiate Track Conference Championship, hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology on Saturday morning at Liberty State Park.
Felician was without the services of its top two runners, juniors Rob Albano and Taylor Trumbetti, who were resting for next weekend's Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship. But Vander Wiele, a senior who was the 2008 CACC Runner of the Year, broke 27 minutes for 8,000 meters for the second consecutive week -- and for just the third time since his freshman campaign, when he did so on five occasions.
Vander Wiele's time of 26 minutes, 49 seconds on Saturday placed him fifth out of 148 entrants. Felician's next three finishers clocked in fewer than five seconds apart -- freshman Steven Omari (Cherry Hill, NJ) was 24th in 27:44, followed by classmate Keenan Huggins-Filozof (Farmingdale, NJ) (26th, 27:48.4) and junior Tim Kicha (Saddle Brook, NJ) (27th, 27:48.9).
Freshman Joe Eagan (Haddonfield, NJ) was the final Golden Falcon scorer, putting up points for the first time in his career. He placed 41st with a time of 28:37.
Felician's 120 points were three behind host Stevens for third place. The Golden Falcons easily out-pointed two other CACC schools in attendance. Rowan University won the CTC title with 36 points, and New Jersey Institute of Technology junior Brian Mendez was the individual champion in 26:38. NJIT was the only Division-I school in the field and finished second.
The Golden Falcons will look to defend their 2010 CACC Championship at this year's league meet on Sunday, October 23, at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia.