Kansas product turns heads at Evergreen Mountain 15K

-A A +A

By Craig Harper
For the Courant


EVERGREEN — All Austin Bogina wants is a professional team to run for.
Recognition hasn’t come easily for the Kansas native and a December 2016 graduate of Pittsburg (Kan.) State, whose best finish in the NCAA Division II cross country championships was 108th in 2015, his senior season.
But Bogina is doing his best to gain attention during a summer stay in Colorado.
The 23-year-old from Arma, Kan., a short drive north from Pittsburg in southeast Kansas, blistered the field of 90-some runners in the Evergreen Mountain 15K on Saturday, the second of the five-race Evergreen Trail Racing Series.
Bogina ran alone the entire race, which began and ended at the west parking lot of Alderfer/Three Sisters Park, crossing the finish line just under three minutes ahead of runner-up Andrew Adamowski. His time of 1 hour, 38 seconds is a race record.
“I’m just trying to get signed. It’s so hard,” said Bogina, who is spending the summer in Boulder before heading to Lawrence, Kan., to work on a master’s degree in sports management at the University of Kansas. “Honestly, I just want somebody to give me a uniform and maybe a couple pairs of shoes, and I’m going to run my butt off for them. I’m just taking the mentality of racing as much as I can and win as many times, and maybe somebody will give me a shot. I’m a Kansas kid, but I feel like I can make it.”
Bogina, who has trained previous summers in Alamosa, where his sister Kaylee runs for Adams State, won the FIBArk 10K Trail Run in Salida on June 18 and earlier placed fourth in the GoPro Mountain Games’ 10K trail race.
He quickly caught the attention of the 43-year-old Adamowski and other runners at the start of the Evergreen race.
“We saw him show up and said, ‘That guy’s fast,’” Adamowski said. “We figured he’d probably win. He’s a little guy. Look at him; he’s a runner.”
 Bogina wasted no time separating himself from the field.
“Right across the meadow (at the start/finish line), and he was gone,” Adamowski said.
“I just try to get out pretty hard,” Bogina said. “I had that mentality in college and my coach, if he reads this article, he’ll laugh too. I always try to win it from the gun.”
Adamowski, a former Evergreen Park and Recreation District board member, was second in 1:03:36.
“I was hoping to go under 1:10, so I think I did all right,” he said
Third place went to Greg Friedman (1:06:12), whose wife Amy claimed the women’s title with a time of 1:18:02.
The couple, from Missoula, Mont., are visiting Amy’s mother in Lafayette and ran the race for the first time. They have run other races in Colorado during previous
summer visits.
“We are trail runners at heart,” Amy Friedman said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been here. We spend the summers in Colorado, usually July, with family, and we try to do as many local trail races as we can.
“I’d never been in this trail system. I was just talking with the director, and it’s a phenomenal system, just beautiful every which way you turn.”
The Friedmans ran a race the previous weekend in Bozeman, Mont., before heading to Lafayette. They train at about 4,000 feet in Missoula. The Bozeman race was at about 7,000 feet, about the same elevation as Evergreen.
“But in my warmup I could feel the altitude,” Amy Friedman said. “We don’t get that all that much. So it’s good to be reminded of that, be humbled by the altitude.”
Next up in the Evergreen Trail Racing Series is the Meyer Ranch Park 5-mile run on Aug. 5.