Summit’s Rohlf caps inaugural season for CMC Leadville cross country team
FRISCO — Summit County local and Colorado Mountain College freshman Chris Rohlf broke the 30-minute mark in an 8-kilometer race during Colorado Mountain College’s inaugural cross-country running season this autumn.
Rohlf, a 2019 graduate of Summit High School, set his personal best time in the 8K at 29 minutes and 25.6 seconds at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs open Oct. 12. Though the 3:41-per-kilometer pace ranked Rohlf 104th of 126 runners at the meet, it was the kind of growth Colorado Mountain College head coach Darren Brungardt aimed for in the Eagles’ first competitive season at the National Junior College Athletic Association level.
The Eagles premiered and hosted their first meet at the 10,000 Foot Invitational on Aug. 31 on CMC Leadville’s running trails before also competing Sept. 7 in Alamosa, Oct. 5 in Denver and Oct. 12 in Colorado Springs.
This year’s team, including Rohlf, featured six runners. At the season’s second meet at Adams State University in Alamosa, Caleb Neel shed eight minutes off his previous best 8K time to finish 45th overall. Teammate Tyrone Chavez was close behind in 47th overall after shedding five minutes off his best time.
It was at the Alamosa meet where the team saw early progress, finishing fifth out of seven collegiate teams at their second-ever meet.
“I look at the work that they have all put in and how they have come together as a group, and that makes me beam,” Brungardt said.
Jason Macaluso, of the Vail Valley, was one of Colorado Mountain College’s best runners this year, constantly improving and breaking his school record by more than a minute, topping out at 27:49.2 during the Colorado Springs race for an 89th-place finish.
“He averaged nearly 5-minute-and-33-second miles,” Brungardt said. “He is going to be a force in the (National Junior College Athletic Association) next year, and the nation better watch out for our Vail speedster.”
As Brungardt looks back on the team’s first year, he is confident about the future of CMC Eagles cross-country running.
“Those men are exactly what we needed in our first year,” the coach said. “They are like brothers. They gelled so well. Each man was a critical cog in this team’s machine. I cannot wait to see what they will do next year for the Eagles.”
CMC Leadville to host U.S. Olympic runner wheating on Nov. 24
Colorado Mountain College, in conjunction with On Performance running shoes, will present a meet, greet and run with world-class middle-distance runner Andrew Wheating at CMC’s Leadville campus Sunday, Nov. 24.
Wheating, who won three NCAA titles and made two Olympic teams and a World Championship team, retired from competitive running last year at age 30. He is now a sports marketing specialist for On Inc., which this year entered into its first collegiate partnership with the Eagles cross-country team.
Wheating found success running the 800 and 1,500 meters for the University of Oregon and later the Oregon Track Club Elite, topping out at 3 minutes and 30.90 seconds in the 1,500 meters in 2010 in Monaco, which was the fifth-fastest time in the world that year.
The event, which will go from 3-5 p.m. Nov. 24, will include a 30-minute group run on CMC Leadville trails with Wheating, followed by light refreshments and an opportunity to listen to stories about his running life. The event is free.
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