BOSTON – Felician College junior Rob Albano (Pompton Plains, NJ/Pequannock Township) and senior James Vander Wiele (Pequannock, NJ/Pequannock Township) attained All-Region status by finishing sixth and 23rd, respectively, out of 178 competitors at the 2011 NCAA Division II East Region Men's Cross-Country Championship, hosted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell on Sunday afternoon at Franklin Park.
Albano and Vander Wiele are the first Felician cross-country runners of either gender to make an All-Region team since the Golden Falcons joined the NCAA in 2002. The Golden Falcons also posted their best team result in an NCAA Regional meet, finishing seventh out of 25 schools. Complete results are available at http://www.felicianathletics.com/sports/mxc/2011-12/files/Mx-c_reg_11.htm. Felician was eighth in 2008 and 10th in 2010.
The NCAA Regional meet is run on a 10,000-meter course, two kilometers longer than a regular-season race. Albano became the highest Felician finisher ever in a Regional, and set the school 10K record with a time of 31 minutes, 52 seconds. Both marks were previously held by Vander Wiele, who was 22nd in 2008 and ran a 32:37 (to finish 28th) in 2010.
Vander Wiele posted a 32:43 on Sunday. He benefited from a new rule passed by the nation's Division II coaches for 2011 that expanded the All-Region team in each of D-II's eight regions from 15 members to 25. The meet was the final one as a collegian for Vander Wiele, and capped a career that saw him become only the third Golden Falcon to be named all-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference four times.
Also scoring for Felician on Sunday were junior Taylor Trumbetti (Montvale, NJ/Pascack Hills) (50th, 33:49) and freshmen Keenan Huggins-Filozof (Farmingdale, NJ/Freehold Township) (54th, 34:00) and Stephen Omari (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) (73rd, 34:29). The Golden Falcons' 203 points were 15 more than sixth-place Southern Connecticut State University and 43 better than LIU-C.W. Post, which was eighth.
Host UMass Lowell won the regional championship with 71 points and second-place Stonehill College (77) also earned an automatic berth into the NCAA D-II National Championship. American International College junior Glarius Rop was the individual champion in 29:50.