Capalbo, Gulesian Key Cross Country's Strong Opening at NEC

Capalbo, Gulesian Key Cross Country's Strong Opening at NEC

HENNIKER, N.H. -- The Babson College cross country teams opened their 2012 campaigns with stellar showings at the Mayflower Kickoff at New England College on Friday afternoon. The men's squad won the event for the second straight season, placing five athletes on the All-Invitational Team along the way, while the women took third overall and had two runners earn All-Invitational honors. In addition, the Beavers boasted the individual winner in each race, with sophomore Marina Capalbo (Gainesville, Va.) finished first in the women's race and sophomore Mark Gulesian (Miami, Fla.) claiming victory in the men's competition.

Gulesian's first-place finish was his second in as many showing at the event, as his time of 16:00 in the shortened 5k event outpaced the second-place runner by 10 seconds. Joining the Babson sophomore in the top 10 were junior Nate Kolman (Long Grove, Ill.), who took sixth with a time of 16:48, junior Brian deLeon (Princeton, N.J.), who came in eighth in 16:53, first-year Ian MacLean (South Hamilton, Mass.), who finished ninth in 16:57, and junior AJ Skains (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who took 10th in 17:31. All five individuals were named to the All-InvitationalTeam for their efforts.

Rounding out the top seven for the men's team were Brian's younger brother Chris deLeon (Princeton, N.J.), who placed 14th with a time of 17:47, and fellow first-year Brian Hickey (Loudonville, N.Y.), who followed in 16th with a run of 17:58.

After finishing fourth at the 2-mile 2011 Mayflower Kickoff, Capalbo claimed her first collegiate victory by placing first overall at this year's event, which featured the women's traditional 5k format. The sophomore sensation's time of 20:34 was the fourth best of her career and was 17 seconds ahead of the runner-up. First-year Kelli Halligan (Melrose, Mass.) also cracked the top ten by placing seventh in 22:13, as she joined Capalbo on the All-Invitational Team.

 The ladies' scoring five was rounded out by sophomore Rebekah Miller (Johnson, N.Y.), who placed 21st with a time of 24:06, junior Alyssa Carelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.), who came in 38th in 25:34, and senior Jess Lack (Glen Mills, Pa.), who took 43rd in 26:18. Sophomore Jessica Santiago (Reseda, Calif.) followed in 64th place with a run of 28:36 and sophomore Hailey Walsh (Evergreen, Colo.) capped off the team's top seven in 82nd with a time of 30:45.

Both teams return to action on September 8, when they compete at the Smith College Invitational in Northampton with the first race beginning at 11 a.m.