NEWARK, N.J. – For his second consecutive meet, Felician University junior Joel Garcia (Passaic, N.J./Passaic) ran his fastest collegiate 8,000-meter cross-country race. This time, he helped the Golden Falcon men to 19th place out of 31 schools at the Technology Challenge, hosted by New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday afternoon at Branch Brook Park.
Garcia crossed the finish line in 27 minutes, 22 seconds. He was Felician's top performer for the third consecutive race and placed 55th overall out of 274 runners. He was a beat faster than senior teammate Jake Thoden (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough), who ran a season-low 27:23 and finished 56th.
Two weeks ago, Garcia completed the Osprey Open at Stockton University in 27:59. Entering the season, his 8K PR was 28:07 as a freshman at the 2017 Paul Short Run at Lehigh University.
The next two Golden Falcon finishers, junior Jason Argueta (Fairview, N.J./Cliffside Park) and freshman Anthony Sarmiento Rodriguez (Somerset, N.J./Franklin) also ran tightly with each other, and were credited with times less than one second apart. Officially, Argueta ended up in 132nd place with a 29:47, and Sarmiento Rodriguez was assigned a 29:48 and finished 133rd. Both runners produced season-best times.
Junior Danny Driscoll (Audubon, N.J./Audubon) completed the Felician scoring, also with a season low. He ran a 31:53 and was in 167th place.
While not figuring into the scoring, junior Jhasim Dunn (Newark, N.J./Cristo Rey) shaved more than 3 ½ minutes off his personal record. His time of 39:01 left him in 254th place.
The Golden Falcons scored 455 points, one behind the 18th-place College of Staten Island and 19 ahead of Caldwell University in 20th. Felician was fourth out of six Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) members in attendance. The vast field contained teams from all three NCAA divisions, plus the NJCAA and USCAA.
The host Highlanders easily captured the team championship with 33 points, putting five runners among the top 10 finishers. St. Thomas Aquinas College was the runner-up with 119 points, five ahead of Seton Hall University. New York Institute of Technology junior Noah Simatei won the race. He broke the tape in 24:53, 17 seconds ahead of second-place Ziggy Fisher of Chestnut Hill College.
Felician is next in action on Oct. 12 at the Jack St. Clair Memorial, hosted by the Jefferson Rams at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia. Belmont Plateau is also the site of the CACC Championship meet on Oct. 27.