Men's Cross-Country Repeats 9th-Place Result At Rainy CACC Meet

Runner in white jersey in rain.
Jake Thoden concluded his college cross-country career at a rainy 2019 CACC Championship meet. (Ellen O'Brien)

PHILADELPHIA – The Felician University men's cross-country team placed ninth out of 12 schools at the 2019 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championship race, hosted by Chestnut Hill College amid a steady rain on Sunday morning at Fairmount Park's Belmont Plateau.

Felician held steady from its ninth-place result a year ago. All 14 conference members entered runners into the race, with two listed as incomplete in the final results. The meet was the final one for the Golden Falcons this season.

As he has been all season, junior Joel Garcia (Passaic, N.J./Passaic) was the Golden Falcons' top man on Sunday. Garcia was the only Felician runner to finish in the top half of the conference pack. He completed the 8,000-meter course in 30 minutes, five seconds, which was good for 27th place.

Jake Thoden (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough), Felician's only senior, ran a 31:37 and finished 42nd. Thoden completed a two-year career for the Golden Falcons after transferring from Raritan Valley Community College.

"Jake was an all-star senior," said Felician second-year head coach Elson Smajlaj. "He was never selfish and was the ideal teammate. We're very happy with his two years with us."

Freshman Anthony Sarmiento Rodriguez (Somerset, N.J./Franklin) and junior Jason Argueta (Fairview, N.J./Cliffside Park) crossed the finish line consecutively. Rodriguez clocked a 33:09 and finished 60th, and no one else came across until Argueta was 61st in 33:30.

Junior Danny Driscoll (Audubon, N.J./Audubon) completed the Felician scoring with a 64th-place result in 33:34. Junior Jhasim Dunn (Newark, N.J./Cristo Rey), running in the conference championship race for the first time, set a course personal-best of 41:32 and was 76th.

"It didn't reflect in the team standings, but our returning runners have shown a pattern of improvement," Smajlaj said. "Hopefully Joel will continue to lead us on that path into 2020."

By CACC rules, the top 15 finishers were automatically named all-conference. Felician has not had a runner so honored since Mike Secreti in 2016.

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Felician totaled 240 points, 37 behind eighth-place Caldwell University and 30 ahead of Dominican (N.Y.) College in 10th.

Wilmington (Del.) University captured its fourth CACC Championship in the last five years by out-pointing runner-up Bloomfield College, 41-65. Chestnut Hill senior Ziggy Fisher was the Runner of the Year, winning the race in 27:42, and Goldey-Beacom College freshman Zach Landvik-Larsen took Rookie of the Year honors, placing eighth with a 28:23. The Jefferson Rams were voted the winner of the CACC Team Sportsmanship Award.