Women's Cross-Country Team Continues Its Emergence

Women's cross-country action shot tight.
Shayla Morales finished fourth of 122 at the 2019 Jack Saint Clair Memorial Invitational. (Steven R. Smith)

PHILADELPHIA – Felician University sophomore Shayla Morales (North Bergen, N.J./North Bergen) set a school course record and freshman Ashley Linares (Passaic, N.J./Paramus Catholic) was nine seconds behind as the Golden Falcon women finished second of 13 schools at the Jack Saint Clair Memorial Cross-Country Invitational, hosted by the Jefferson Rams on Saturday afternoon at Belmont Plateau.

Felician entered the day as the No. 10 team and Jefferson No. 8 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region coaches' ranking. But for the second time in three head-to-head meetings this season, the Golden Falcons defeated the Rams. Felician scored 62 points, trailing only the 29 of race champion Eastern University. Jefferson was in third place with 74 points.

The 6,000-meter course was the at the same site and distance as will be the D-II East Regional Championship race on Nov. 9. On Saturday, Morales crossed the finish line in 24 minutes, 10 seconds, easily surpassing the three-year-old Felician 6K record at Belmont of 25:17 held by Sabrina Roldan. Morales placed fourth overall out of 122 finishers. Her time ranks sixth overall in Felician history for 6,000 meters.

The next two Golden Falcon finishers also surpassed Roldan's previous record time. Linares was fifth in 24:19. Sophomore Hadeel Alshujaieh (Clifton, N.J./Clifton) clocked in at 25:13 and finished 11th.

Junior Vanessa Saiboo (Jersey City, N.J./County Prep) and senior captain Jane Burgoyne (Glen Rock, N.J./Glen Rock) gave the Golden Falcons the final surge they needed to slip past Jefferson into the runner-up spot. Saiboo produced a personal-best 6K of 25:35 and slotted into the 15th spot in the results, while Burgoyne placed 28th with a 26:32.

The race was open to non-collegiate teams, and Christine Eisenberg of the Philadelphia Runner Track Club was the individual champion with a time of 23:16. Eastern senior Megan Bernotas was the runner-up and top NCAA finisher in 23:18.

The Golden Falcons are next in action at the St. Joseph's (N.Y.) College Invitational on Oct. 19. It will be Felician's final competition before the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference championship meet.