After a year of planning and recruitment, Colorado Mountain College is launching its first National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) cross-country running team.
CMC Leadville is hosting the team’s season opener from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on August 31. The meet is in conjunction with Lake County High School’s home cross-country meet.
Darren Brungardt is the running coach and an assistant professor of mathematics at CMC Leadville. With CMC’s new team, he has elevated the college’s running program from a club to a team by securing an NJCAA designation for CMC’s runners.
Brungardt has recruited six recent high school graduates from schools in Colorado and one runner from Kansas.
“They are really neat guys,” said Brungardt. “They are fast. This will be one of the fastest cross-country teams I have ever coached, and it is only our first year!”
Because it’s possible for team members to compete on the team while attending any one of CMC’s campuses, two team members – Jason Macaluso and Connor McDermott – will be training remotely, then 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 are students at CMC Leadville.
“They train when we train, and are part of the team online and at meets,” Brungardt said.
The college’s cross-country running team members are all 2019 high school graduates, and all are new students at Colorado Mountain College, except for Chris Rohlf who’s been taking concurrent education classes while in high school.
Team members are: Tyrone Chavez, 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.