Colorado School of Mines runners, Summit alums to race in Denver on Friday

Colorado School of Mines runners and Summit High School alums Jeremiah Vaille, right, and Max Bonenberger race during the spring season at the Stermole Track & Field complex in Golden.
Caleb Coatney/Courtesy photo

On Friday, Sept. 17, at Washington Park in Denver, Summit High School alums and Colorado School of Mines cross-country runners Max Bonenberger and Jeremiah Vaille will race the Roadrunners Invitational.

For Vaille and Bonenberger, it’ll be the first cross-country race they’ve run together as part of the national championship Mines program. Each of them graduated from Summit High in 2020 to add to Mines’ running depth as the Ore Diggers — the 2019 Division 2 national champion — moved up to No. 1 in the current U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association rankings Wednesday. The ascent to No. 1 was based on redshirt sophomore Dillon Powell’s win at the Wyoming Invitational on Sept. 3, finishing the hilly 8,000-meter race in 14 minutes and 54 seconds.

“I still look up to many of the athletes on my team,” Vaille said. “It’s great to run with so many fast people. It pushes me to want to perform better as I can learn from the top guys in the nation.”

Vaille and Bonenberger — who are in their second consecutive redshirt season for the team — raced in one 8K time trial contest last fall. This year, Vaille ran to a 35th-place time of 16:05 — a pace of 5:10.6 per mile — at the 58-runner Wyoming Invitational 8K at Little America Golf Course on Sept. 3.

Bonenberger did not race in Laramie earlier this month but will toe the line with Vaille on Saturday.

“Jeremiah and I have been pushing each other forever, and we still are,” Bonenberger said. “… Being able to run with all these fast kids, it’s so great to have the motivation of nationals.”

Powell, who hails from Colorado Springs, is one of several top runners from the Centennial State who Vaille and Bonenberger have joined on a 33-man Mines boys cross-country running team. Vaille said workouts for the runners include exercises like running as many back-to-back 400 meters as you can with one minute of rest in between.

Bonenberger also said the young Tigers have been able to gel with the upperclassmen more this season due to the relaxed COVID-19 environment. Before the team set out to defend its national championship, it took a group trip to Grand Lake for few days.

Because Vaille and Bonenberger are redshirting this season, they will have four seasons of running eligibility starting next fall. Despite the redshirts, Vaille and Bonenberger can enter a few races a year, just not while officially donning Mines uniforms and counting toward the team’s total. After each race at Washington Park on Friday, they’ll also race Oct. 8 at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Each hopes to break 26 minutes in the 8K by the end of the season.

Come spring, Vaille will concentrate on the 5,000 meters on the track while Bonenberger is settling into competing in the steeplechase, a college competition his father also competed in.

“I like that I don’t have to keep running in the same fashion,” Bonenberger said. “I get to do something a little different.”

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