LINCROFT, N.J. – Two weeks after competing in the College White Race at the Paul Short Run, a meet containing 32 full teams and 271 student-athletes, the Felician University women's cross-country team attended a much more intimate venue on Saturday morning.
The Jersey Blues Invitational, hosted by Brookdale Community College, saw only three schools enter complete teams. In all, 32 runners crossed the finish line, including five from Felician.
For the first time in her career, sophomore Valentina Gonzalez (Wood-Ridge, N.J./Wood-Ridge) was the Golden Falcons' frontrunner. Gonzalez traversed the 5,000-meter course in a personal-best 22 minutes, 38 seconds and ended up in 12th place.
Freshman Vanessa Saiboo (Jersey City, N.J./County Prep) enjoyed the best race of her young career. Her 23:46 was her top 5K as a collegian, and was good for 16th place on the day. Right behind, in 23:49, was Felician senior Kelly Murphy (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson), who ran her fastest 5K as a Golden Falcon. She finished 17th.
Freshman Kayla Hightower (Camden, N.J./Camden) clocked her best college time, a 25:27, to cross the line in 23rd place. Concluding the Golden Falcon scoring was junior JeanMarie Kaminski (Carteret, N.J./Saint Dominic Academy), who was 30th in a personal-best 29:23.
Mercer County Community College won the event with 18 points. The Vikings captured the top four spots, including individual champion Hayley Baydar (19:06). Delaware Technical Community College totaled 53 points, followed by the Golden Falcons with 63.
Many of the Golden Falcons who raced on Saturday, will tune up one more time on Sunday at the Caldwell University Cougar Chase. That will be Felician's last competition prior to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship meet on Sunday, October 22, in Newark, Del.