CMC Eagles cross-country team scores some ‘firsts’
Colorado Mountain College’s cross-country running team is finding success in just its second season of competition, coming off two National Junior College Athletic Association meets and a home meet this past weekend in Leadville.
The multi-campus CMC team raced in the northern Colorado town of Carr on Sept. 5, where the men’s team won its first-ever meet, while the CMC women competed in their very first NJCAA race.
On Sept. 12, the team headed to Central Wyoming College in Riverton, where 10 CMC student-athletes ran their fastest races ever, while three others ran their season best.
While Leadville was experiencing an early cold snap at the beginning of September, CMC’s Eagles had just returned from northern Colorado after running in temperatures over 95 degrees.
“It was dry as a bleached bison skull on the plains,” said Darren Brungardt, the team’s head coach and an associate mathematics professor at CMC Leadville. “To say the race was difficult is an understatement.”
The men overcame the high temperatures for the team win over Central Wyoming College.
First-year runner Reese Fledderjohn won the 8-kilometer race, followed by Jason Macaluso of Vail. CMC runners Luke Plummer, Skyler Winter and Dylan Dunbar finished fifth, ninth and 10th, respectively, giving the Eagles the overall team win.
The five-member women’s team was missing two CMC runners at the Carr meet, though first-year Eagle Kya Jackson finished fifth overall in the 5K, followed by Madisen Johnson and Anayeli Almanza.
Following the meet in Carr, the NJCAA ranked the CMC men’s team 10th in the nation.
“Although this is way too early, for racing in such extreme heat and missing two of our male runners, this is exciting news,” Brungardt said. “The women will be ranked once the full team is competing.”
Successes in Wyoming
The following weekend, the team traveled to Riverton, Wyoming, competing against the College of Southern Idaho and another matchup with Central Wyoming College.
CSI swept the meet, winning both men’s and women’s competitions, though CMC’s Macaluso ran a strong 8K (28:36), placing him 10th overall.
Second-year runner Jack Setser broke 30 minutes for the first time in his career, while first-year Eagle Autry Lomahongva covered the 8K course in 29:52.
The Eagle women hit their stride as well. Jackson stayed within striking distance of regional rival runners from Central Wyoming to have a season best race of 23:04 and 16th overall in the 5K.
Johnson ran a nine-second PR, finishing in a time of 23:41, and Cami Trujillo ran her first race of the season, finishing with a time of 26:54. Just behind her was Almanza with a two-minute PR of 27:09.
“There isn’t an ‘I’ in this group,” Brungardt said. “I only hear ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘family.’ I am having so much fun coaching them, and they are working extremely hard.”
Home, sweet home
The CMC runners also hosted a home race in Leadville Sept. 26, again competing against Central Wyoming and inviting five unattached runners with Black Cloud Racing.
CMC edged CWC by one point for team honors, though the BCR runners swept the top four positions, with Ryan Phebus leading the way and finishing in 29:25.
The top runner for the CMC men was again Macaluso, finishing fifth with a time of 31:50. Lomahongva was ninth for the Eagles in 32:34, and Luke Palmer was 10th in 33:06.
For the CMC woman, Jackson was the top runner in second place overall with a time of 27:08, followed by Johnson in fourth (27:42) and Almanza in seventh (31:02).
The Eagles are gearing up for the NJCAA Region 9 Championships in Alamosa on Oct. 31, with qualifications for the Nov. 14 NJCAA Division I National Championships at Iowa Central Community College on the line.
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