Newcomers Shine for Air Force in Wyoming
Aug. 30, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The Air Force cross country team opened the 2008 campaign at the annual Wyoming Invitational on Friday (Aug. 29) night in Laramie, Wyo. With many new faces on its lineup and several of its top returning runners from last year not competing, the Falcon men and women ran to matching third-place finishes against its conference foes from Colorado State and Wyoming.
Despite not having a single returning athlete on the race course, the women's team shined with the performances of their newest runners. Freshman Auriele Fain was the Falcons' top finisher, clocking a time of 15:27 to place sixth. Classmate Elyse Willard finished 14th in 16:16, while fellow freshman Meghan Prinkey placed 16th with a time of 16:30.
Freshman Phaelen French clocked a 20th-place time of 16:53, while junior Becca Burditt rounded out the scoring runners for Air Force. Burditt, who is beginning her first season as a member of the cross country team, clocked a time of 17:07 to finish 25th. Freshmen Katherine Carroll (26th, 17:14) and Alexa Ramsier (27th, 17:37) also had strong debuts for the Falcons.
Although the men didn't feature a squad of newcomers like the women, it was a vastly different team than the one that took to Jacoby Golf Course last year. In fact, three of the five scoring runners for Air Force were returning to the team after a year's absence.
Senior Justin Mason paced the field with a sixth-place time of 22:45. Mason was one of three Falcons to finish within the top-10. Classmate Daniel Castle finished seventh with a time of 22:46, while sophomore Justin Tyner clocked a ninth-place finish after crossing the line in 22:47.
Senior Kyle Jones nearly cracked the top-10, placing 11th with a time of 22:56. Classmate Scott Balcao clocked a time of 23:10 to finish 14th and round out the Falcons' scoring runners.
In addition to the scoring runners, 15 other runners made their season debut on Friday night. Freshman James Walmsley and senior Sebastian Ortiz finished within the top 20, as Walmsley placed 16th (23:23) and Ortiz took 18th (23:31). Senior Brad Chronister, who joined the Falcons' program this year, placed 21st with a time of 23:49. Freshman Jonathan Rock clocked a time of 23:53 to place 22nd.
Junior John Oliphint posted a time of 24:16 to place 24th, while sophomore Tyler Small timed in at 24:29 to finish 28th. Freshman Alex Zubey and junior Andy Schweitzer clocked respective finishes of 29th (24:51) and 30th (24:51). A trio of Falcon freshmen crossed the finish line in consecutive order, as Chase Welch (24:55), Jacob Fulton (24:56) and Ryan Del Grosso (25:03) finished 32nd, 33rd and 34th.
Junior Conor Murphy and freshman Nick White finished 37th (25:21) and 38th (25:27), while freshmen Matthew Cain (25:47) and Zachary Marx (25:56) rounded out the Air Force contingent with respective finishes of 41st and 42nd.
The Falcons are off from competition until Sept. 13, when its `A' squad travels to San Diego, Calif., for the annual Aztec Invitational. The meet will give Air Force a taste of running in that city, as the Aztecs are the host institution of the 2008 MWC Championships in November.