RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Recent high-school graduate Ashley Linares (Passaic, N.J./Paramus Catholic) has signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to continue her cross-country career at Felician University, Felician head coach Elson Smajlaj has announced.
The 2018-19 NCAA signing period began on Nov. 14 and runs continuously through Aug 1. It replaces the separate early and regular signing periods of past years.
As a sophomore, the 5-foot-2 Linares attained Second-Team All-Bergen County status. She ran a 5,000-meter time of 19 minutes, 17 seconds, at the 2016 Lou Molino Memorial Meet of Champions, setting a Paramus Catholic High School record that still stands. The following year, she was a First Team All-Big North Conference United Division honoree.
"Ashley has had an amazing high school career both in cross-country and as a distance runner on the track," Smajlaj said. "She joins a relatively young Golden Falcon cross-country team and with hard work, can make an immediate impact."
Smajlaj is entering his second season coaching both the Felician men's and women's cross-country squads. He guided the 2018 Golden Falcon women to a fourth place finish out of 14 schools in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship meet, an improvement of nine slots from the previous year.
"I'm excited to see Ashley and the rest of our runners grow and mature," Smajlaj said. "If all goes well, we have the ability to contend for a CACC Championship, something the Felician women have never accomplished."
Felician is a member of NCAA Division II. Both Golden Falcon cross-country teams expect to start the 2019 campaign at the Wilmington University Invitational on Sept. 7 in Wilmington, Del.
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 PayScale.com College ROI Report and is ranked the No. 1 safest college campus in the state by niche.com. Felician University also sponsors 14 varsity intercollegiate sports that compete at the NCAA Division II level. To learn more about Felician University please visit www.felician.edu.