Ric Rojas formed a junior and adult running club in Boulder in 1980. Because of his vast coaching experience, success of his athletes, and his own running accomplishments, his club “Ric Rojas Running” took off instantly. Ric recruited Nell, his daughter, to coach for him in the summers after she graduated from high school, and full time when she graduated from college. In 2017, Ric began his transition to retirement while Nell has passionately and full-heartedly taken on the position of Head Coach and Owner of what is now called Rojas Athletics. Combining many of Ric’s philosophies with knowledge she has gained from other mentors and coaches along her competitive athletic career, and her studies in exercise science, Nell is proud and excited about her club, Rojas Athletics!
Nell grew up in Boulder immersed in the running community since day 1. She was highly influenced by her first coach, dad, and 1st Boulder Bolder winner, Ric Rojas. She quickly fell in love with running at an early age and dedicated many hours to being a elite athlete and elite coach. She started coaching right out of high school for Ric Rojas and since then has studied all aspects of coaching and created her own philosophies and training systems. She was very competitive in her running career at the University of Northern Arizona, the top D1 running school in the nation. Nell earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at Northern Arizona University in 2010. After college she earned her pro card and competed as a professional triathlete. This expanded her endurance sport knowledge and experience by adding swimming and biking. With 12 years of coaching under her belt, Nell is a USATF Level 1 Certified Coach, USAT Level 1 Certified Coach, USA Weightlifting & Sports Performance Coach, Precision 1 Coach, and FMS certified provider. Nell is also the Head Girls Cross Country Coach at Boulder High School.
At Northern Arizona, she was a 3-time Big Sky Steeplechase Champion, 5k Big Sky Champion, and All-Conference/All-Regional in cross country. In 2013, Nell qualified as a ITU professional triathlete.
• 3k Steeple PR- 10:16
• 5k PR- 16:28
• 1600m PR- 4:44
Triple and High Jump Coach
Sarah Hopkins graduated from New Vista High School in 2016, and is currently studying Media Design. Sarah is from Boulder and currently studying Marketing at the University of Colorado. Sarah is CU’s leading triple jumper with a PR of 38’6″ (11.63m). Sarah is a graduate of Ric Rojas Running where she placed 6th at the 2016 Simplot Games with a jump of 37’3.5″.
Sarah currently attends CU, read her full CU Track & Field Bio here.
• Triple Jump PR – 38’6”
Morgan excelled in Track and Field and Football in his time at Aurora Central High School. He went on to play Football at the Air Force Academy and then at the University of Colorado. Morgan is a Ric Rojas Running athlete himself and has PR’s of: 60m: 7:38s, 200m: 23.8s and 400m: 52.92s.
Morgan holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado. He is currently working at Ball Aerospace and pursuing his masters in Electrical Engineering.
Distance and Sprint Coach
Ric Rojas graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1970, received his BA from Harvard University in 1974, and his MBA from the University of Denver in 1982.
In high school, Ric won four New Mexico State High School Championships, two in Cross Country and two in the Mile, and was ranked in the top 10 United States High School Milers by Track and Field News.
Ric still holds the New Mexico 5A State Mile/1600m record* of 4:12.6=4:10.85 1600m, which he set at UNM Stadium in Albuquerque (5,000ft.), New Mexico (1970). His best high school mile time was 4:11.6 (=4:09.85 1600m), run at the USATF National Indoor Championships at the Houston Astrodome in February 1970.
Beyond High School, Ric had successful College and Professional careers. While at Harvard, he set the Three-Mile school record with a time of 13:30 at the 1974 Penn Relays, won numerous Greater Boston Track and Cross Country Championships, and qualified for “All-Ivy” honors in Track and Cross Country. His 1974 3-Mile mark at the Penn Relays remains among the top ten fastest 3-mile/5000 marks ever run at Harvard.
Ric set the 15K World Record at the 1981 Gasparilla Distance Classic (43:12) and won numerous major road races, including the 1975 San Francisco Bay-to-Breakers, 1978 Utica Boilermaker, 1979 Bolder-Boulder, the 1979 Lilac Bloomsday Run, the 1978 Tucson Sun Run, the 1978 Garden of the Gods 10-Mile, the 1979 Springbank International Road Race, the 1980 Salt Lake City Deseret 10K Run, and the 1978 Schlitz Light National Championship. He also won the US AAU National Cross Country Championship at Belmont Park in Philadelphia in 1976.* As a master’s runner, he has won three USATF Age-Group National 5000-meter Track Championships. He competed in the 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials, running in the 10,000-meter finals in 1980.
While living in Boulder, Ric has coached hundreds of masters, open, and junior runners including National Junior Champion Sarah Cocco, Olympic Trials Qualifier, Patty Murray, and Age-Group Mile World Record, Laurie Rugenstein.
High Jump and Throws Coach
Aaron grew up only a couple miles north of Boulder in Longmont, CO. He is currently at the University of Colorado working on his BS in Integrative Physiology with a certificate of public health. Aaron represents CU in the heptathlon and decathlon. His best score is 4401 with a 60m hurdle PR of 8.76 and pole vault PR at 13”9’.
Jessica has been a licensed massage therapist and working with the sports community for over 6 years. She works with professional, college, and youth athletes from gymnastics to Ironman, and specialize in targeting specific areas that give my clients problems, both acute and chronic. Her work is a combination of deep myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and active release (similar to Rolfing but without the 10 series philosophy).
Jessica does her own athletic practice in triathlons, but comes from a pre-professional ballet background, and has personal experience treating and healing from CTH (closed head trauma), shin splints, torn groin (three times), IT band syndrome, piriformis syndrome, and balancing/working muscular imbalances due to moderate-severe scoliosis.
Jessica aims to bring better mobility, pain relief, and increased body awareness to my clients/athletes who use their body to its maximum potential.
Over the past year Jessica has also started including nutrition counseling into my practice, coming from the place of her work as a massage therapist she feels she can only go skin deep. She believes that if the body isn’t healthy on the inside, the external treatment I provide isn’t sustainable or the benefits felt as long. We aren’t what we eat, but we are what we absorb, internally and externally.
Ron earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from Midland University and his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2012. Ron has experience treating a wide range of upper and lower extremity injuries and conditions, both non-operatively and through post-surgical rehabilitation. During Ron’s years practicing in orthopedics and sports medicine, he has developed clinical expertise in kinesiotaping, the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), Trigger Point Dry Needling (TPDN), and post surgical hip rehabilitation.
Through the SFMA and his interest in solving puzzles, Ron enjoys working through the puzzle that is human movement. Uncovering the source of movement dysfunction and nailing down the most effective way to treat each client and to eliminate pain and restore optimal body function, is a passion of Ron’s.
While Ron has a wide range of orthopaedic experience, his personal experience as a patient and treating many clients with hip injuries has lead Ron to develop a special interest in treating clients before and after arthroscopic hip surgery. Additionally, as a former collegiate golfer, Ron has an extensive knowledge base in treating golfers who want to return to the course after injury, eliminate pain during play, or simply want to improve their performance.
Ron is passionate about diagnosing movement dysfunction and creating a personalized treatment program to help clients of all sports and skill levels to increase mobility, stability, strength, coordination, and power to take their performance to the next level.