Run for it: Team Prep USA

For the past ten years, Team Prep USA has trained distance runners of fame who have been weaned on the thin air and tough trails of the north valley. Olympian CU runner Emma Coburn started here with Team Prep USA as did Jack Lineham (Boston College), Erin Kelly (University of Portland), Daniel Roberts (Florida State University), Joe Bosshard (CU) and Adam Lenz (Mississippi State University). 

Trent Sanderson created the company a decade ago and says, “All these kids who started here all went off and ran at the next level and on scholarships. We’re a distance running program that works with high school kids from around the world. We put on the Rocky Mountain Cross Country Camp,” referring to his spin-off from the defunct Crested Butte Academy where he taught distance running. This year, the camp has grown to about 110 participants daily from 42 states and seven countries. They come here for the orientation and then train both online via Skype and in person. Some come for the summer, spending anywhere from four days to six weeks at the Team Prep camp. Kids can be in training all year as well. Sanderson coached at Glenwood Springs High School in the 1990s and later coached at the college level in Baltimore. He came to Crested Butte with the intention of building bigger. “We bring such a diverse group from all over the world. Some of them buy homes and stay. It’s gotten very big,” he notes. “Now we have Teen Prep World for other countries,” Sanderson says of his clients from Germany, Italy, China and beyond. “This summer we had kids training from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Peru. These young kids from around the world are all so educated. We create the connection they want in the USA and we create a network. Our kids learn how to make those connections beyond the camps and training,” he says. The training encompasses life beyond the running world as well. Loren Donahue is also part of the Team Prep USA and with the company entrenched internationally now, she’s the cornerstone of management in Crested Butte. Sanderson was interviewed by ESPN about four years ago, and the network was impressed with the program’s success rate. “They realized how we seemed to be setting the bar on high school distance running around the U.S. We help our clients get into college. We have nutritional, academic, athletic and life components,” he says of the holistic philosophy. “We spend more time planning our vacations than our own lives. We teach our clients how to think long term, how to fail better, because in society today we’re not taught how to fail. We’re taught this sense of entitlement, which is the farthest thing from the truth. The kids are realizing that thinking outside the box is allowing them to find their passions. We have a theme word every year. Last year it was Relentless, the year before it was Fail Better, this year it’s Gratification.” Sanderson has a vision for the future. “We’re all here in this area for a quality of life but they don’t get the opportunities that they would get in a large city. We bring them those opportunities. This is a major network. I want kids to come back and network off each other. We’ll have reunions down the road. We’re building a facility to be able to create that bigger vision, for friendships, occupation, and for life. They’re finding common ground together, people who are just like themselves and they’re excited and passionate. The world is just starting after high school and they find that they can be themselves. In our program, we want them to have some failure in their lives because it allows them to become as good as they want to be. They take pride in it. Hard work is a privilege. I think once they learn that, then you’ve taught them the game of life. It’s about empowerment.” For more information on Team Prep USA and its international programs visit online at

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