CHICOPEE, Mass. – The University of New England (UNE) women's team earned first place honors in the women's 5-kilometer race, while Babson College earned top team honors in the men's 8-kilometer race at Saturday afternoon's Blazers cross country invitational at Chicopee Memorial State Park.
On the men's side, Babson won the team event with 23 points, followed by UNE (52), Gordon College (89), The Sage Colleges (117), MCLA (117), Massachusetts Maritime Academy (125), Daniel Webster College (208), Eastern Nazarene College (228) and Mount Ida College (262).
Babson's Mark Gulesian sprinted to a first place time of 26:30 and set a new course record in the process, besting the previous mark of 27:04 which had stood since 2009 (Greg Redfield – Johnson & Wales).
Gulesian's teammates Nate Kolman, Ian MacLean and Brian DeLeon were the next three finishers , followed by UNE's Shane Murphy to round out the top five.
Elms' junior runner Jesse Zina (Ludlow, Mass.) set a new Blazers course school record, notching a time of 32:12 to finish 43rd overall. Zina surpasses Chris Biron whose mark of 32:14 set in 2004 was the previous course record by any Elms runner.
Freshman Adam Kuzdzal (Chicopee, Mass.) clocked a time of 35:19 in his first race at Chicopee Memorial State Park and sophomore Nicholas Green (Ware, Mass.) crossed the line in a time of 53:06.
For the women, UNE finished in first place with 28 points, followed by Gordon (55), Sage (100), Babson (153), MCLA (174), Curry College (191), Eastern Nazarene (193), Elms (193), Mass. Maritime (201), Mount Ida (230), Bay Path College (282), Newbury College (302) and University of St. Joseph (Conn.) (359).
Babson's Marina Capalbo won individual honors with a top time of 19:53 in the women's 5K race, followed by UNE's Michaela Moran, Babson's Kelli Halligan, and Colleen Ahern and Lindsay Forrette, both from UNE to round out the top five finishers.
Junior Devon DeGrazia (Westport, Mass.) was the Blazers' top finisher with a time of 22:38 which lists her fifth on the Elms course school record list. Sophomore Rachel Lehouillier (Belchertown, Mass.) clocked a time of 22:54 which puts her seventh on that list, while freshman Emma Bernard's (Springfield, Mass.) mark of 25:34 was third-best by an Elms runner at the invitational.
Both teams return to action on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the James Earley Invitational hosted by Westfield State University. The men's race is at 11:00 a.m. followed by the women's race at 12:00 p.m.