Kayenta’s Autry Lomahongva prepares for another cross country season at Colorado Mountain College
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Mountain College (CMC) cross country team is gearing up for another season of running this fall as they kicked off the 2021 meet in Colorado Springs Sept. 11.
Returning CMC Eagle Autry Lomahongva from Kayenta, Arizona said he is excited to get back on the trails at CMC Leadville and start the 2021 season.
“Being Native American, running has always been a huge part of my life, religiously and physically,” said Lomahongva, who graduated from Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona. “Running, being outdoors is just a spiritual activity for me.”
And that spiritual connection is what brought Lomahongva to CMC Leadville to study in the outdoor recreation leadership program.
“Backpacking and guiding teach you to be a leader and practice self-reliance,” Lomahongva said. “Teaching people about the outdoors has a much deeper intention in keeping the land around us beautiful.”
At over 10,000 feet elevation, CMC Leadville is the highest elevated college campus in the nation. This creates a unique challenge for runners as they train for competition.
“Runners adapt to Leadville’s elevation after two to three weeks and are flying high from that point forward,” said Head Coach Darren Brungardt. “The greatest part of their training takes place in October. Their personal bests start to drop, and they reap the rewards of their tireless efforts as we head into regionals and nationals.”
Brungardt said the Eagles are projected to have a strong season. Both the men’s and women’s teams have full rosters this year with a mix of returning and new student-athletes.
“CMC runners are the toughest runners in the collegiate ranks,” he said. “I am excited to see this team gel together into a tight crew.”
CMC Athletic Director Angela Dunn noted that the team — in only its third year of competition — has recruits from all over Colorado as well as six out-of-state student-athletes who have chosen degree programs unique to CMC.
The college’s cross-country team competes as a National Junior College Athletic Association sanctioned team. Even though the team is based at the college’s Leadville campus, students from any of CMC’s 11 locations can compete from their home campus.
Information provided by Colorado Mountain College