RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Felician University men's cross-country coach Rob DeCarlo Jr. has received five in-state athlete commitments from current high-school seniors who have signed national letters of intent to continue their careers with the Golden Falcons. The signees come from four northern New Jersey counties, plus Camden County.
"We return a solid core in captains Andre Francisco and Fernando Gomez and fellow scorer Mark Whaley," said DeCarlo, entering his third season with Felician. "These five young men, along with on-campus newcomers Bryan Acevedo, James Mbugua and Derrick Washington, give us great hope for the future."
Jason Argueta (Fairview, N.J./Cliffside Park) is a two-time all-Big North American honoree at Cliffside Park High. The 5-foot-5, 135-pounder was also an honorable-mention all-Bergen County selection as a senior. He is undecided on a major course of study. "Jason was one of Bergen County's best runners," DeCarlo said. "He was Cliffside Park's No. 1 in cross-country and one of their top distance runners indoors and outdoors. He will bring consistency and potential to our program."
Danny Driscoll (Audubon, N.J./Audubon), 5-foot-11 and 135 pounds, ran for Audubon High, where he was awarded the cross-country team's Pride and Excellence Award. He intends to major in management & marketing at Felician. "Danny was one of South Jersey's best small-school runners," DeCarlo said. "He had a strong cross-country campaign and continued his success indoors by qualifying for State Groups. In his spring season, he set personal bests in all of his events."
Joel Garcia (Passaic, N.J./Passaic) helped lead Passaic High to the 2016 Passaic County championship, finishing fourth in the county meet. Garcia, 5-foot-6 and 118 pounds, was first team all-Big North Liberty and first team all-county as a senior. He intends to study nursing. "Joel was part of a renaissance for Passaic's distance program," DeCarlo said. "With an unparalleled work ethic and a true burning desire to succeed, his potential to develop as a distance runner is exciting. Joel has a bright future."
Adam Mahabub (Bloomfield, N.J./Bloomfield) assisted Bloomfield High to victory in the 2016 Super Essex Conference Liberty Division Championship meet. At 5-foot-9 and 135 pounds, he set a school course SEC record en route to being named first-team all-division. Mahabub expects to major in history. "Adam had a solid cross-country season and backed it up with excellent indoor and outdoor seasons," DeCarlo said. "He will look to continue the success with us that he enjoyed as one of Bloomfield's best distance runners and an Essex County standout."
Jesse Villari (Randolph, N.J./Morris Tech), 5-foot-6 and 137 pounds, was named team Most Valuable player in his only season of cross-country for Morris County Tech in 2016. He also played baseball for the Devils. Villari is likely to major in secondary mathematics education. "Jesse will look to develop as a true distance runner in college," DeCarlo said. "As he learns the sport and builds his fitness, he should grow into a scorer for us."