Besides being a season-opener, Saturday morning’s Mark Covert Classic Cross-Country Invitational provided a rare challenge for the Glendale Community College men’s and women’s teams.

Both squads competed against fellow community college entrants and alongside regional NCAA Division I programs, such as Pepperdine and USC.

Each Glendale team impressed as the men won the open eight-kilometer race and the women earned third in the open 5K event, while former Vaquero Grace Zamudio, of Loyola Marymount, won the invitational run with a mark of 17 minutes, 45.4 seconds.

“It was a great day for cross-country,” said Vaqueros sophomore Enrique Ramirez, who finished third in the open event and fifth overall in 25:43.1. “It was great to run against Division I teams. We had some coaches looking at us and asking, ‘Is that Glendale?’”

Jorge Serrano was Glendale’s next top finisher, taking 12th in 26:55.8, and was followed by teammates in Steban Aviles (13th, 26:57.7), Jorge Mendoza (16th, 27:06.5) and Hoover High product Daniel Marin (19th, 27:09.8).

Edwardo Vasquez (28th, 27:24.8) and Sean Paknoosh (42nd, 28:12.6) were sixth and seventh for Glendale, which defeated Division III Pomona-Pitzer, 46-56.

As for the women, the Vaqueros (67) were third behind Orange Coast (25) and Concordia (60) as sophomore Elizabeth Nelson led the way by taking 12th in 20:04.3.

“It was a little intimidating running with Division I runners, but we did well,” Nelson said. “The course was difficult with mud and grass mixed together, but we worked though it.”

Glindyll Mancia (18th, 20:32.0) was second for Glendale, while Teresa Villafuerte (20th, 20:33.8), Kelly Castillo (27th, 20:54.2) and Caitlyn Selve (31st, 21:31.2) rounded out Glendale’s scoring. Narges Motamedi (41st, 22:38.2) and Joselyn Castaneda (43rd, 22:44.3) were sixth and seventh for the Vaqueros.