The Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Eagles men’s and women’s cross-country teams wrapped up their fourth season at the Division 1 NJCAA National Championships on Nov. 12. The meet took place at Apalachee Regional Park on the Florida Panhandle in southeastern Tallahassee, Florida.
The multi-use park features one of the nation’s few sites designed for cross-country running.
The team flew into Pensacola, Florida and made the three-hour trek east to Tallahassee on Nov. 10. The group rose early Friday, tested the course and attended the national championship banquet that night at Florida State University.
Head coach Darren Brungardt said the course was surprisingly hilly and temperatures were steamy, ranging from 70 degrees at the start of the women’s race to almost 80 degrees for the men two hours later. Humidity was high after Tropical Storm Nicole passed through two days earlier.
The men finished with three personal records led by Ben Lague of Buena Vista. He ran 30:34.4, good for 137th place. “He competed so hard in a very fast field,” Brungardt said.
Korben Long of Silverthorne “ran out of his mind,” Brungardt said, and beat his previous personal best time by three minutes. His time of 32:21.1 put him in 169th place.
The Eagles’ usual top runner, Harrison Freis-Levy, was under the weather and finished in a time of 32:29.2 (171st).
Kenneth Obregon was fourth overall (33:39.6, 182nd). Paulo Aponte took 90 seconds off his previous best time to run his best-ever race at 34:50.7.
Harrison Walter rounded out the men’s squad with a time of 35:25.2 and ended up 187th. The men’s team placed 27th out of 29 teams.
For the women’s team, Abby Hagen ran her last cross-country meet in an Eagles uniform and finished 131st in a time of 23:09.7.
She was followed by first-year runners Zoe Plummer (25:03.4, 159th) and Brooklyn German (25:20.2, 161st). They both ran season bests.
Ana Garcia placed 174th in her last race as a CMC runner (27:03.2).
Due to injury and illnesses, the women’s team didn’t score since they didn’t have a fifth woman.
“It was a great way to wrap up the season,” Brungardt said of competing in the championship races. “I’m so proud of this team overcoming adversity and pushing themselves to personal greatness.”
The team will rest for a few weeks before beginning training for track in the spring.