One Week Before CACC Race, Women's Cross-Country Completes Cougar Chase

Kelly Murphy was the No. 1 runner for Felician at the 2017 Cougar Chase. (Meghan DeCarlo)
Kelly Murphy was the No. 1 runner for Felician at the 2017 Cougar Chase. (Meghan DeCarlo)

CALDWELL, N.J. – Five members of the Felician University women's cross-country team participated in their second race of the weekend on Sunday morning, completing the Cougar Chase, hosted by Caldwell University. The course took runners through the Caldwell campus and the adjacent Mount Saint Dominic Academic Academy.

Felician entered less than a full team in a meet earlier this season, and did not attend another scheduled race due to team injuries. Those developments necessitated this weekend's double duty as a way to meet NCAA Division II participation requirements. The Golden Falcons ran in the Jersey Blues Invitational, hosted by Brookdale Community College, on Saturday.

Felician's entrants used Sunday's race as a "tempo run" to avoid injury after having been in full race mode the previous day. The Golden Falcons still managed to out-point New Jersey City University, 235-270, to finish eighth out of the nine full teams in attendance. Purchase College totaled 176 points and finished seventh. Felician was third out of the three Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference teams present.

Senior Kelly Murphy (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) was the team frontrunner for the first time in her two-year Golden Falcon career. Murphy spent most of the race travelling with fellow Felician runner Valentina Gonzalez (Wood-Ridge, N.J./Wood-Ridge), and crossed the finish line less than a second ahead of her sophomore teammate. Murphy placed 44th out of 75 individuals with a time of 26 minutes, 25 seconds, and Gonzalez was credited with a 26:26 and 45th.

Freshman Kayla Hightower (Camden, N.J./Camden) was Felician's No. 3 runner, clocking in a 27:43 and finishing 52nd. Classmate Vanessa Saiboo (Jersey City, N.J./County Prep) was 53rd in 27:57. Rounding out the scorers for the Golden Falcons was junior JeanMarie Kaminski (Carteret, N.J./Saint Dominic Academy) (64th, 31:46).

The United States Merchant Marine Academy edged Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham, 67-70, for the team championship. FDU Florham's Corinne Boucher won the race in 20:07, 27 seconds faster than her closest competitor.

Felician will compete in the CACC Championship race, hosted by Goldey-Beacom College, on Sunday, October 22, at 11 a.m. at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, Del.