A strong finish

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From left, CMC Eagles cross-country runners Caleb Neel and Chris Rohlf racing at the team’s last big meet of the season, at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Rohlf ran his fastest 8K at 29:25.6, and Neel ran a two-minute personal record finishing with a 30:11.6.

LEADVILLE – The six runners who formed Colorado Mountain College’s first sanctioned cross-country running team in August are looking back on a productive season of competitive 8K racing in the National Junior College Athletic Association.

“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,” said head coach Darren Brungardt.

The team premiered and hosted its first meet at the 10,000 Foot Invite Aug. 31 on CMC Leadville’s running trails, and ran in their last big meet of the season at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs XC Open Oct. 12. In between the team competed in Alamosa Sept. 7 and Denver Oct. 5.

Coach Brungardt and Jason Macaluso

From left, Darren Brungardt, head coach of the CMC Eagles cross-country team, and runner Jason Macaluso of Vail at the 10,000 Foot Invite in August. Macaluso clocked the fastest time among CMC’s racers at the Leadville meet.

Standout moments

Runners consistently achieved personal records with each meet. During the second meet at Adams State University in Alamosa, Caleb Neel dropped eight minutes off his time to finish 45th overall, and Tyrone Chavez dropped almost five minutes from his time to finish 47th overall. At that meet, the team came in fifth out of seven collegiate teams.

Several runners finished their 8K season hovering around the 30-minute mark.

As Brungardt looks back on the team’s first year, he is looking forward to the future of CMC Eagles cross-country running.

“Those men are exactly what we needed in our first year,” he 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.”