NEWARK, N.J. – In her collegiate debut, senior Kassie Topp (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Northern Highlands) posted the second-fastest 5,000-meter time in the 15-year history of the Felician College women's cross-country program on Saturday morning. Topp led Felician to a fifth-place finish out of 20 schools at the Highlander Challenge, hosted by New Jersey Institute of Technology at Branch Brook Park.
Topp completed the flat, fast Branch Brook course in 19 minutes, 40 seconds, and placed 16th overall out of 162 runners in the non-Division I portion of the event. She was 22 seconds short of the Felician record, set last year by teammate Sabrina Roldan (Woodbridge, N.J./Woodbridge), also at Branch Brook. Topp became the fourth Golden Falcon female to run a sub-20 minute 5K, joining Roldan, Toni Fowler (2007) and Amanda Scibetta (2007).
While Roldan was unable to duplicate her 2013 Branch Brook time, she did run a 20:07 to finish 26th and fill in the No. 5 slot on Felician's all-time 5K list. Senior Andrea Sarracino (Wood-Ridge, N.J./St. Mary-Rutherford) was the Golden Falcons' No. 3 runner, placing 50th in 21:14.
The final two scoring spots went to seniors Lianne Rossi (Nutley, N.J./Nutley) and Sylvia Bialy (Lodi, N.J./Lodi). Rossi ran a 21:45 to finish 57th, and Bialy was right behind in 58th with 21:46. All 11 members of Felician's roster participated in the race, and all completed it in fewer than 25 minutes.
The Golden Falcons tallied 171 points. That total was three behind fourth-place New York Institute of Technology and only four back of third-place Molloy College. Ocean County College finished sixth with 187 points.
St. Thomas Aquinas College won the small-college team championship, putting four runners in the top 10 to edge out runner-up LIU Post, 40-42. Pioneer freshman Talya Williams was the individual winner, clocking an 18:10.
On the Division-I side, Saint Peter's College and the host Highlanders ran to a 28-28 tie in a dual meet.