LEOMINSTER, Mass. – Senior tri-captain Christina Gosselin (Old Saybrook) led the Eastern Connecticut State University women's cross country team at the finish for the first time in her career, and four newcomers finished among the top five for the men Saturday at the Jim Sheehan Memorial Alumni Cross Country Meet, hosted by Fitchburg State University at the Doyle Conservation Center.
Competing at the Sheehan Memorial for the first time in seven years, both Eastern teams placed fifth in nine-team fields. UMass Dartmouth of the Little East Conference captured the men's title with 50 points after placing its five scoring runners in the top ten. Worcester State University edged Springfield College by a point to take the women's race with 41 points. UMass Dartmouth trimmed Eastern by one point for fourth place. The Eastern men had 132 points, the women 128.
All-Little East senior tri-captain Haley Knox (Bristol) paced the women throughout much of the 5,000 meter race before Gosselin pulled ahead over the final 200 meters to finish 17th overall in a time of 20:51. Knox was 20th, two seconds back of her teammate.
Competing in their first collegiate cross country races, junior Maggie Dulak (Northford) and sophomore Lauren Bresson (Roxbury) followed Gosselin and Knox closely, capturing 27th overall (21:11) and 31st (21:18), respectively. Dulak, Knox, Bresson and injured senior tri-captain Samantha McKosky (Deep River) comprise Eastern's record-setting 4x800 meter relay last spring. McKosky is expected to re-join the team shortly.
Junior Rachel Osak (Portland) competed the Eastern women's scoring runners, placing 59th overall (22:07), four seconds faster than junior Samara Johnson (Lebanon), who was 60th.
Four of the men's five scoring runners are in their first collegiate seasons. Ryan Escoda (Newtown) and John Walker (Westerly, RI) placed in the top 20 at 14th overall (28:03) and 18th (28:49), respectively, over the 8,000 meter course. Sophomore Brian Balkus (Ashford), one of the team's top runners as a freshman in 2017, was 21st overall (29:04), with Jorich Swift (Mansfield) and Cameron Gonzales (Plainfield) 40th (30:10) and 44th (30:43).
Eastern returns to action Sept. 15 at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational.
Fitchburg State U. Jim Sheehan Memorial Invitational
at Leominster, MA
MEN'S TEAM SCORES
- UMass Dartmouth 50; 2. Fitchburg State U. 74; 3. Worcester State U. 83; 4. Springfield College 84; 5. EASTERN CONN. 132; 6. Fitchburg State U. Alumni 135; 7. SUNY Cobleskill 162; 8. Western New England U. 200; 9. Framingham State U. 267.
WOMEN'S TEAM SCORES
- Worcester State U. 41; 2. Springfield College 42; 3. Mount Holyoke College 79; 4. UMass Dartmouth 127; 5. EASTERN CONN. 128; 6. Western New England U. 172; 7. Framingham State U. 183; 8. SUNY Cobleskill 220; 9. Fitchburg State U. 226.