Smajlaj Takes Over Felician Track & Field, Names Staff

Felician cross-country coach Elson Smajlaj has taken over the women's track & field program on an interim basis. (Steven R. Smith)
Felician cross-country coach Elson Smajlaj has taken over the women's track & field program on an interim basis. (Steven R. Smith)

RUTHERFORD, N.J.Elson Smajlaj of North Bergen has been named the interim head coach of the women's track & field team at Felician University, Felician director of athletics Ben DiNallo Jr. has announced. DiNallo and Smajlaj have also appointed Marc Peck of Haskell and Anthony Scannella of Garfield as assistant coaches of that program.

Smajlaj recently completed his first season as the women's and men's cross-country coach at Felician. He spent four years, 2013-16, in the same position at Bloomfield College, winning one Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Coach of the Year award for each gender. A native of Albania, Smajlaj owns a bachelor's degree in mathematics education from Bloomfield (2012) and a master's in mathematics from New Jersey City University (2018).

Felician sponsors varsity intercollegiate track & field only for women and only in the outdoor (spring) season. Smajlaj is the fourth coach in program history. He replaces James Pipkins II, who resigned after one year.

Peck is the head boys' and girls' track & field coach at Becton High School of East Rutherford. He has previous collegiate coaching experience as the women's and men's throws coach at Stevens Institute of Technology in 2016-17. He has completed the USATF Coaching Education Level 2 program for throws.

Peck earned a bachelor of education degree from Arizona State University in 2012. He was a two-time scorer in the javelin throw in the Pacific 10 Conference Championship meet, and graduated No. 7 all-time on Arizona State's javelin list (67.20 meters).

Scannella is the head girls' indoor track & field coach at Bergen County Technical School in Hackensack and the president of the United Athletes Track Club. He was formerly a graduate assistant in hurdles and jumps at East Stroudsburg University. He is USATF Level 2 certified in jumps.

Scannella competed in track & field for East Stroudsburg, qualifying for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships in hurdles and decathlon. He earned a B.S. in sports management in 2007 from ESU and a second B.S. in physical education, health and driver's education from William Paterson University in 2012.

Felician is next in action at the Brick City Classic, hosted by New Jersey Institute of Technology, on Apr. 28 in Newark. The Golden Falcons will compete in the 2019 CACC Championship meet on May 5 at Georgian Court University in Lakewood.


Felician University engages more than 2,400 undergraduate, graduate, and adult students through programs in Arts & Sciences, Business, Nursing, and Education. Universal Franciscan values of respect, social justice, and compassion form an inclusive foundation for transforming the lives of tomorrow's leaders. Felician University was ranked 3rd-best return on investment for private colleges in New Jersey in 2018 by the College ROI Report and is ranked the No. 1 safest college campus in the state by Felician University also sponsors 14 varsity intercollegiate sports that compete at the NCAA Division II level. To learn more about Felician University please visit