PHILADELPHIA – Felician College put five runners on the 2012 all-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Men's Cross Country Team, including individual champion Rob Albano (Pompton Plains, N.J./Pequannock Township) and runner-up Taylor Trumbetti (Montvale, N.J./Pascack Hills), at Sunday morning's CACC championship meet, hosted by Philadelphia University at Belmont Plateau.
Felician, however, was dethroned as the CACC team champion. The Golden Falcons entered the race as the winners of the previous two conference crowns and seven of the last eight. However, on Sunday, Wilmington (Del.) University put all five of its scorers among the top eight finishers to post 27 points and capture its first league championship. Felician placed second out of 10 teams with 39 points.
Wilmington is ranked No. 7 and Felician No. 8 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region coaches' poll.
Albano became the first male in CACC history to repeat as the individual champion, having also won the 2011 race. On Sunday, he traversed the five-mile course in 26 minutes, 23 seconds. He broke the meet record, set by Felician's Paul Chegwidden in 2007, by 11 seconds, and finished 35 seconds ahead of Trumbetti, his closest competitor. For his efforts, Albano was named CACC Runner of the Year, the Golden Falcons' sixth on the men's side all-time.
Albano and Trumbetti are both seniors who earned the third all-CACC honor of their careers. Felician's only other senior, Tim Kicha (Saddle Brook, N.J./Saddle Brook), finished 10th with a time of 28:39 and also made his third all-conference team.
"I'm very proud of the efforts of our three seniors," said 11th-year Felician head coach John Brennan. "They have all had outstanding careers. I'm especially happy for Taylor, who proved today that other than Rob, he is the best runner in the conference."
All-CACC status is automatically accorded to the race's first 15 finishers. In addition to the three seniors, the Golden Falcons put a pair of sophomores on the squad. Joe Eagan (Haddonfield, N.J./Haddon Township) crossed the finish line a split-second behind Kicha to place 11th in 28:39, and Stephen Omari (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) won a three-way battle for the final spot to be honored, finishing 15th with a 29:14. Eagan picked up his first all-league award and Omari his second. The race saw 66 entries.
Also in Felician's line-up on Sunday, and able to raise the point totals of those running behind them, were freshmen Aiden Lynch (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) (17th, 29:16) and Tom Cooke (Clarksboro, N.J./Kingsway Regional) (27th, 30:29). Omari, Lynch, and Stewart Reich of Goldey-Beacom College came across within two seconds of each other, with Omari edging out the others for the 15th all-CACC position.
Felician will complete its season at the NCAA Division II East Regional Championship on November 4 in Nashua, N.H. Albano and James Vander Wiele '12 earned all-region honors in 2011, the first two Golden Falcons to do so.
RUNNER OF THE YEAR: Rob Albano, Felician
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Jesus Amezquita, Wilmington
COACH OF THE YEAR: Keith Jones, Wilmington
TEAM SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: USciences and Wilmington (tie)