Naranja wins Vermont state meet, women finish second, men third as hosts
COLCHESTER, Vt. - Sophomore Gabrielle Naranja (Fort Kent, Maine/Fort Kent Community) became just the second Saint Michael's College woman to win the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship when the Purple Knights hosted the 10-school meet on Saturday, as the Saint Michael's women took second and the men third.
Naranja joined Mary Lynn Denholm '09, in 2008, as the lone Purple Knight women to win the state meet, and the third overall, as Brian Curtin '88 topped the men's race in 1986. Saint Michael's last held the Vermont championship in 2006, as the route takes competitors through campus fields, woods and a portion of Camp Johnson, a neighboring military base. Conditions were cold and rainy on Saturday, particularly during the women's race.
The Purple Knight women scored 41 points while competing in a nine-team field, which was topped by defending Division III national champion Middlebury College, a squad that collected 23 points and is currently ranked first in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's (USTFCCCA) national poll. On the men's side, Saint Michael's totaled 72 points in a 10-school field, trailing only Middlebury (19) and Lyndon State College (65). The Panthers are tied for 13th in the national poll.
Naranja's winning performance was thanks to a time of 19:14 and overshadowed freshman Chloe Boutelle's (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) fourth-place showing, as she chopped 29 seconds off her best previous time this season to clock in at 19:21. Freshman Lindy Heffernan (Sutton Mills, N.H./Kearsarge Regional) was 12th in her second college race, trimming more than a minute from her time at her first meet, while classmate Colleen Gilliatt (Grantham, N.H./Lebanon) was 15th.
Freshman Allie Gratton (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) completed the Purple Knights' scoring by taking 17th, while seniors Elyse Desmarais (South Hadley, Mass./Holyoke Catholic) and Caitlin Ferland (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union/Bay Path) were 19th and 20th, respectively, each cracking the top 20. Sophomore Mary Miller (Aurora, N.Y./Southern Cayuga) finished one second behind Ferland.
Each of the Saint Michael's men's scorers was among the top 19 and placed within 10 spots of one another. Senior Matt Smith (Winchester, Mass./Winchester/Muhlenberg) took 10th at 28:15, while senior Tom Perekslis (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) and sophomore Dana Glubiak (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Gilmour Academy) were separated by one second while taking 14th and 15th, respectively. Perekslis crossed the finish line in 28:24, and Glubiak at 28:25. Junior Colin Delaney (Lake Placid, N.Y./National Sports Academy) took 18th and senior Robert Sitzer (Lenox, Mass./Lenox Memorial) 19th, also coming within one second of one another.
Both Purple Knight squads head to Boston's Franklin Park on Friday afternoon for the New England Championships, where Division I, II and III programs from around the region square off.