Men's Cross-Country Runs Final Tune-Up Before CACC Championship

Frontrunner Mike Secreti and the Golden Falcons tuned up for the CACC Championship by running the Cougar Chase on Oct. 15, 2016. (Steven R. Smith)
Frontrunner Mike Secreti and the Golden Falcons tuned up for the CACC Championship by running the Cougar Chase on Oct. 15, 2016. (Steven R. Smith)

CALDWELL, N.J. – Felician University cross-country runners Mike Secreti (Paramus, N.J./Paramus), a senior, and sophomore Andre Francisco (Lyndhurst, N.J./Lyndhurst) placed among the top five finishers in the men's race at the Cougar Chase, hosted by Caldwell University on Saturday afternoon on the Caldwell campus.

The race was run on a 5,000-meter course, three kilometers shorter than most regular-season men's meets. The event concluded regular-season competition for Felician, which will next compete in the 2016 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship on October 23 in Philadelphia on an 8,000-meter course.

Sixty-seven runners completed Saturday's men's race. Secreti crossed the finish line in 17 minutes flat, while Francisco established a collegiate best for 5K by running a 17:16. The duo guided the Golden Falcons to fifth place out of nine schools in the team standings.

Fernando Gomez (Secaucus, N.J./Secaucus) held off teammate Connor Gillespie (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J./Hasbrouck Heights) for the No. 3 spot in Felician's pack. Gomez placed 30th in 19:45. Gillespe sliced 1:39 off of his previous best collegiate 5K and finished 32nd in 19:57.

Freshman Mark Whaley (Wood-Ridge, N.J./Wood-Ridge) was Felician's No. 5 man and was 49th overall. Whaley's time was 22:14, 25 seconds better than his only other career 5,000-meter race, at Ramapo on Sept. 2.

Felician's total of 112 points was 13 behind fourth-place Caldwell, and 20 better than Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham in sixth. The Golden Falcons were third out of five CACC members in attendance.

The United States Military Academy Prep School won the event with 43 points. Army Prep runners Allen Sparks (16:56) and Evan Peterson (16:58) were the only two entrants to finish ahead of Secreti.