Linares, Felician Women Win St. Joseph's College Invitational

Women's runner crossing cross-country finish line.
Ashley Linares was the first finisher at the 2019 women's St. Joseph's College Invitational. (elitefeats.com)

KINGS PARK, N.Y. – The Felician University women's cross-country team won the St. Joseph's (N.Y.) College Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Sunken Meadow State Park. Felician put five runners among the top 10 finishers to score 22 points and best a field of 24 schools. The Golden Falcons are the No. 7-ranked team in the NCAA Division II East Region.

Felician freshman Ashley Linares (Passaic, N.J./Paramus Catholic) was the individual champion. On a sunny fall afternoon with a slight breeze, Linares completed the 5,000-meter course in 19 minutes, 58 seconds to capture a collegiate race for the first time. She was four seconds faster than sophomore teammate Shayla Morales (North Bergen, N.J./North Bergen), who took the runner-up spot.

The Golden Falcons placed their next three scorers in the fourth, fifth, and 10th slots, with a total spread of just 38 seconds from 1 to 5. Juniors Jillian O'Brien (Bogota, N.J./Bogota) and Vanessa Saiboo (Jersey City, N.J./County Prep) ran tightly, with O'Brien clocking a 20:22 for fourth place and Saiboo right behind in fifth with a time of 20:23. Sophomore Hadeel Alshujaieh (Clifton, N.J./Clifton) registered a 20:36 and placed 10th. Alshujaieh improved her time by two minutes, 12 seconds from a year ago on the same course.

Morales finished second in the St. Joseph's Invitational for the second consecutive year.

The last time Felician was the team champion in a meet was Sept. 21, 2018, at the Goldey-Beacom College Invitational in Wilmington, Del. Morales was the individual winner that day, representing the previous occasion a Golden Falcon female won a race

The Golden Falcons easily out-pointed runner-up College of New Jersey, which scored 87 points. Bloomfield College, the only Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) member other than Felician to attend, was third at 135.

The meet was Felician's final one before the CACC Championship race on Sun., Oct. 27, at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia, Pa. The Golden Falcons seek their first conference crown. Felician has finished second in the CACC on three occasions and was fourth in 2018.