NEWARK, N.J. – Facing its largest field and warmest temperatures of the season, the Felician College men's cross-country team put three runners among the top eight finishers and placed second out of 21 non-Division I teams at Saturday morning's 10th Annual Technology Challenge, hosted by New Jersey Institute of Technology at Branch Brook Park.
Felician's 98 points trailed only the 66 of LIU Post, the No. 7-ranked team in the NCAA Division II East Region. A team can officially enter as many as seven runners in an event, with the top five counting toward the team results, and a lower score wins. After each team's first three men had crossed, the Golden Falcons led LIU-Post, 16-26. But the Pioneers had the deeper pack, putting all five scorers in the top 20 to earn the victory.
Felician edged third-place Molloy College, the region's No. 10 squad, by two points. The Golden Falcons were the only Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference member in attendance and were among six D-II institutions.
For the first time in his career, sophomore Tom Cooke (Clarksboro, N.J./Kingsway Regional) was the Golden Falcons' No. 1 man. He shook off the mid-80 degree weather and took advantage of the flat, fast Branch Brook course to post a personal best 8,000-meter time of 26:16, the 14th-fastest 8K in program history. Cooke was third out of 167 entrants in the small-college division.
Freshman Mike Secreti (Paramus, N.J./Paramus) was fifth in 26:24, and junior Keenan Huggins-Filozof (Farmingdale, N.J./Freehold Township) ran a career-low 26:31, placing eighth to produce a 15-second spread among the Golden Falcon top three. Both times join Cooke among the top 20 8K performances in the 14-year history of the Golden Falcon program.
Felician sophomore Aiden Lynch (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) ran his best collegiate race and finished in a scoring position for the first time this season. He was the team's No. 4 man and placed 41st overall with a 28:48. Junior Nick Mardirosian (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) nabbed the Golden Falcons' final set of points, running 54th with a 29:18.
Dowling College junior Scott Litts was the individual champion in 25:24.
On the Division-I side, the host Highlanders won a dual meet over Saint Peter's University, with NJIT freshman Zakaria Fouad completing the course in 26:48 to take the top spot.