PHILADELPHIA – After winning the 2011 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference team championship on Sunday, the Felician College men's cross-country team nearly earned a sweep of the four major postseason conference awards. The winners were announced at the conclusion of the league championship race, hosted by Philadelphia University at Fairmount Park's Belmont Plateau.
Junior Rob Albano (Pompton Plains, NJ/Pequannock Township) was named the CACC Runner of the Year, an automatic award accorded to the winner of the conference championship race. Albano bested a field of 70 runners on Sunday, winning by 10 seconds over runner-up and 2010 champion Bill Steele of Wilmington (Del.) University. He ran the five-mile course in 26 minutes, 35.54 seconds, narrowly missing the meet record.
Albano is the fifth Felician male CACC Runner of the Year, joining Ricky Pfeifer (2000), Travis Graham (2001), Paul Chegwidden (2007), and teammate James Vander Wiele (2008). Two Golden Falcon women have also captured the honor.
"Rob worked hard all year, and especially so this summer," said 10th-year Felician head coach John Brennan. "It's good to see that his efforts produced results."
Brennan, of Clark, was voted the conference Coach of the Year by his peers, with the vote held prior to the league race. Brennan guided the Golden Falcons to two invitational championships in the regular season, and his runners claimed five CACC Runner of the Week awards (four by Albano) in 2011. He wins the award for the sixth time, and it is the eighth such honor for a Felician coach – his predecessor, Bob Symons, was the winner in 2000 and 2001.
"The Coach of the Year award is based on the hard work and effort that all of our guys put in, plus our assistant, Sebastian Powell," Brennan said. "It's not the result of the work of any one person."
The CACC coaches also voted the Golden Falcons the winner of the league's Team Sportsmanship Award. The honor is handed out annually in each conference sport to the squad which best exemplifies the spirit of competition and sportsmanship throughout the season.
Felician wins the Team Sportsmanship Award for the first time. The last four Golden Falcon teams to win the award, 2007-08 women's basketball and 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 men's golf, were coached by Felician director of athletics Ben DiNallo Jr.
The award not captured by the Golden Falcons, the Rookie of the Year award, went to Philadelphia University freshman Tim Malloy, who finished fifth on Sunday. Felician's top rookie, Keenan Huggins-Filozof (Farmingdale, NJ/Freehold Township), was ninth.