Colorado Mountain College to host first cross country meet Saturday in Leadville
FRISCO — Colorado Mountain College’s new cross-country running team will race for the first time this weekend with a roster loaded with High Country locals, including one familiar runner from Summit.
After a year of planning and recruitment since CMC announced in August 2018 that it would be launching the program, the Eagles will toe the line for their inaugural season at 1:10 p.m. Saturday. Running for the first time as an officially sanctioned National Junior College Athletic Association program, the Eagles will host 5K races at their 10,000 Foot Invitational on the trails surrounding CMC’s Leadville campus at 901 U.S. Highway 24.
The meet, hosted in conjunction with Lake County High School’s home cross-country meet, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The 2019 Summit High School graduate and CMC Leadville freshman Chris Rohlf joins a group of Rocky Mountain locals and one runner from Kansas on coach Darren Brungardt’s first team. Other runners include Tyrone Chavez, of Valley High School; Jason Macaluso, of Battle Mountain High School; Connor McDermott, of Elizabeth High School; Caleb Neel, of Green Mountain High School; and Jack Setser, of Wichita North High School.
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Brungardt, also an assistant professor of mathematics at CMC Leadville, has led the way in elevating the college’s running program from a club to NJCAA designation.
“They are really neat guys,” Brungardt said in a news release. “They are fast. This will be one of the fastest cross-country teams I have ever coached.”
The program provides athletes with the opportunity to run on the team even if they do not attend school at CMC’s Leadville campus. This year, two team members — Macaluso and McDermott — are training remotely, competing with the team at meets. Macaluso is attending CMC Vail Valley at Edwards, and McDermott is attending CMC Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs. The rest of the team attends classes at CMC Leadville.
“They train when we train and are part of the team online and at meets,” Brungardt said about the remote duo.
Rohlf will run this year after taking concurrent education classes at CMC while enrolled at Summit High last year. He’s the only runner on the team, composed entirely of 2019 high school graduates, with that CMC education experience before stepping foot on campus this summer.
Last year at Summit High, Rohlf was a standout senior distance runner for the Tigers’ cross-country running and track and field teams. Most recently this month, Rohlf finished in third place on the 8K short course (36:44.3) at the final Summit Trail Running Series race of the season, the Carter Park 8K/14K.
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Many of the trails in the Roaring Fork Valley, especially from the midvalley up, are far from ready and it’s important that people stay off of them despite having cabin fever.