Runners Shake Rust Off At UCCS

The Chadron State College cross country runners broke their long gap since last competing in February, competing against three other Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference squads at the 2020 Colorado Springs Cross Country Open on Friday. Both CSC entries, men and women, were fourth in the team standings, as the young harriers adapted to the course, situated 6,371 feet above sea level.

“Friday was challenging,” said CSC Head Cross Country Coach Luke Karamitros. “It was a really challenging course for us, and with the elevation added, they got out of their element a little bit. I was impressed with some of our freshman girls. Our veteran women did a good job of competing, and for a couple of them it was one of the best openers of their careers. Considering we still have a little more than a month left in the season, I think it bodes well for them moving forward.”

Emma Willadsen was the only women’s runner to finish in the top half, out of 47 entries, with a 22nd place showing in a five-kilometer time of 21:09.20. Despite the challenging location, she knocked nearly 30 seconds off her season-opening 5k result last year in Rapid City.

Madison Watson was right behind Willadsen at 24th overall in a time of 21:14.7. That was more than a 45-second improvement over Watson’s performance at the same meet.

Other CSC entries finished in a four-runner pack from No. 34 to No. 37.

“The course was a struggle for everyone,” said Karamitros, “but it was particularly tough for our men. I think it will be a huge learning experience, going forward. It was great to see the men rallying together, not being satisfied with the results, and looking forward to improvement throughout the rest of the season. Jesse Jaramillo gave it a really solid effort, and he made a statement to be our leader this year.”

On the men’s side, with a field of 58 competing, CSC’s top finisher was Jaramillo at 37th, clocking in at 28:48.7 over eight kilometers. His 90-second improvement over last year’s opener in Rapid City was the best among both teams.

Chadron State’s eight other men’s runners were scattered between 40th and 55th.

Host University of Colorado Colorado Springs were on top of the women’s team standings at the end of the evening, with MSU Denver’s Alden Gruidel winning the race individually.

Colorado Christian won the men’s team race, with UCCS’ Afewerki Zeru taking top honors individually.

CSC now prepares to host its annual open race on October 3, with South Dakota Mines officially signed up to compete against the Eagles head-to-head. Karamitros said that after talking to the three other head coaches in Colorado Springs, he may add to his competition, in the coming days.

CSC Individual Results:
Women’s--22, Emma Willadsen, 21:09.2; 24, Madison Watson, 21:14.7; 34, Hannah Wilkie, 21:53.5; 35, Sydneey Settles, 22:05.4; 36, Tukker Romey, 22:06.0; 37, Kassyl Swinney, 22:19.2.

Men’s–37, Jesse Jaramillo, 28:48.7; 40, Logan Moravec, 29:22.1; 41, Noah Burtis, 29:29.4; 43, Garrett Avery, 29:58.0; 49, Ethan Roberts, 30:19.4; 51, Treyvin Schlueter, 30:23.0; 53, Cale Schafer, 31:13.4; 54, Jayson Caudell, 31:20.1; 55, Joaquin Venzor, 31:36.3.

Team Results:
Women’s–1, UCCS, 25 pts; 2, MSU Denver, 40; 3, Colorado Christian, 71; 4, Chadron State, 112.
Men’s–1, Colorado Christian, 27; 2, UCCS, 29; 3, MSU Denver, 76; 4, Chadron State, 116.

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