RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Felician University women's cross-country program has notched a milestone achievement.
The newest edition of the NCAA Division II Regional Rankings was released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Felician is ranked No. 9 in the East Region. The listing marks the first regional ranking for the Golden Falcons in the 20-year history of its women's cross-country program.
More information is available at http://www.ustfccca.org/2019/09/featured/2019-ncaa-dii-cross-country-regional-rankings-week-1.
"We are humbled to be considered a top 10 regional program, and proud to represent Felician University and the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference," said second-year Felician head coach Elson Smajlaj. "The team and coaches have been working tirelessly each week. We take this recognition as a challenge to continuously live up to the expectations that Felician and the CACC have for us."
Tuesday is the first time in nearly eight years that any Golden Falcon intercollegiate women's program has been ranked in the top 10 of its region by a recognized coaches', writers', or NCAA committee. The women's soccer team was ranked in the East by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (now United Soccer Coaches) late in the 2011 campaign.
Tuesday's edition of the USTCCCA rankings is the first of the 2019 regular season. Felician has competed once, finishing third overall and first among regional schools at the Philadelphia Metropolitan Championship on Sept. 7.
"Our goal right now is simply to run together and for each other," Smajlaj said. "Everything else along the way is secondary to acting as a true team."
The Golden Falcons have just one senior – team captain Jane Burgoyne (Glen Rock, N.J./Glen Rock) – among their anticipated top seven runners. Sophomore Shayla Morales (North Bergen, N.J./North Bergen) was the 2018 CACC Rookie of the Year, and freshman Ashley Linares (Passaic, N.J./Paramus Catholic) was Felician's frontrunner at the Philadelphia Metropolitan meet.
The NCAA Division II East Region consists of the CACC, East Coast Conference and Northeast 10 Conference. There are 36 schools in the region that sponsor women's cross-country.
The USTFCCCA Regional Cross-Country Rankings are determined subjectively by a single member coach in each respective region. The regional representative is tasked with weighing returning teams' strength with current season results in determining a rank-order of squad potential.
Felician is next in action on Saturday at the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) Championship. The meet will be hosted by Stockton University on its Galloway, N.J., campus.
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.