LEADVILLE – Aug. 31, Colorado Mountain College Leadville hosted the 10,000 Foot Invite, officially introducing the college’s new cross country running team. The meet signified the first time CMC has ever had a sanctioned cross country team, which means it can now compete as part of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
“I saw a lot of positive things today,” said Coach Darren Brungardt of the all-freshmen team, who competed
against a cross country team from Colorado College. “These six men are trailblazers for the future of this team.”
Brungardt recruited five runners from high schools in Colorado, and one runner from Kansas.
“This is the highest collegiate cross country race in the galaxy,” Brungardt said, grinning, of the 10,000 Foot Invite. “Each man is dealing with our altitude in different ways. It is not easy, but they are a group that knew that this was going to be a challenge and are persevering.’
CMC’s Jason Macaluso graduated last June from Battle Mountain High School. He clocked the fastest time among CMC racers in the men’s 8K at Saturday’s 10,000-ft. Invite.
With a time of 32:22, the CMC freshman vied for top spots with two Colorado College seniors who came in at 29:41 and 30:29, respectively.
“Jason hung with runners that are, at sea level, 25:00 8K racers,” said Brungardt.
Brungardt said that all of CMC’s runners ran their fastest time for an 8K at altitude.
“We have been primarily working on being fast on our course,” Brungardt said following the race. “Now that we are done with the most challenging cross country meet of the season, we can focus on speed.
“I am so proud of each guy,” said Brungardt. “These men made history today as the first ever collegiate cross country team to race for the Eagles.”
Team members are Tyrone Chavez, Gilcrest Valley High School; Jason Macaluso, Battle Mountain High School; Connor McDermott, Elizabeth High School; Caleb Neel, Green Mountain High School; Chris Rohlf, Summit High School; and Jack Setser, Wichita North High School.
The team’s next meet is the Joe I. Vigil Open in Alamosa on Sept. 7. For more on the Colorado Mountain College Cross Country Team, visit coloradomtn.edu/athletics/cross-country-team.