Running club readies for change

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CMC Running Club

From left, CMC cross-country running club members Ethan Moyer (Steamboat Springs), Marley Seifert (Canon City), Vanessa Schultz (Larkspur), coach Darren Brungardt, Gerry Lopez (Vail Valley), Brandon Hanson (Leadville), Keith Minick (Vail Valley) and Jason Gomez (Los Angeles) at the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association Cross Country National Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.

Seven members of the Colorado Mountain College cross-country running club men’s and women’s squads ran in the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association Cross Country National Championships at Masterson Station Park, in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 10. The CMC club competed against major universities from across the country.

“I am extremely proud of all of them,” coach Darren Brungardt said. “They ran really well against very tough competition, on a difficult rolling-hills course through a muddy horse pasture. To fly halfway across the country and see the way they competed and pushed each other, it was awesome.”

Early morning temperatures were frigid and warmed up to the high 30s, he said. Still, several CMC runners finished with their personal or season-best times.

After two years of tough competition, the CMC club will join the National Junior College Athletic Association next year.

By joining the NJCAA, the CMC club earns the designation of a team and will compete in the Wyoming, Colorado and western Nebraska region against two-year colleges “of similar size and mindset as us,” Brungardt said. The Leadville campus will host races and travel to other colleges.

Brungardt said it will be possible to run with CMC for two years, then transfer to a larger program. It will also be possible for athletes to compete on the team from any of CMC’s campuses. A runner attending another CMC campus can follow the workout schedule online, attend meetings virtually and travel for meets. Members must attend school full-time (12 credits) and not have any previous college degrees.

“The running club is so grateful for the Leadville and greater CMC community for supporting us through community fundraisers and words of support,” Brungardt said.