Jim Walmsley, Air Force Men Finish 10th at Notre Dame Invitational
Sept. 30, 2011
SOUTH BEND, IND. - Highlighted by a 10th-place finish from senior Jim Walmsley, the Air Force men's cross country team placed 10th among 26 teams at the 56th annual Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Sept. 30, in South Bend, Ind. Junior Melissa Fuerst's 49th-place finish led the Falcons to a 21st-place finish in the team standings of the women's event.
Walmsley ran the five-mile course in a time of 24:19 to place 10th in the 205-runner field. Junior Jeremy Drenckhahn clocked in at 24:48 to place 31st in the race, while sophomore Isaiah Bragg finished 78th in a time of 25:13. Juniors Matt Bell and Andrew Quallio placed 87th (25:19) and 92nd (25:21), respectively, to round out the Falcons' scoring runners.
With all five scoring runners placing within the top half of the field, the men tallied 296 points to place 10th among 26 teams. Air Force finished ahead of a pair of ranked programs, including host Notre Dame (23rd) and Ohio State (25th).
No. 14 BYU won the men's Blue Division with 46 points, while 10th-ranked Florida State took second with 93. No. 12 Princeton (138 pts), No. 3 Stanford (202 pts) and unranked Washington State (205 pts) rounded out the top five.
Competing in the Falcons' first 5K race of the year, Fuerst clocked a career-best time of 17:49 to finish 49th in the 225-runner field. Classmate Kate Kanetzky also finished within the top half of the field, placing 97th with a time of 18:14, while fellow junior Jen Bremser finished 115th with a time of 18:20. Senior Katie Carroll and sophomore Carley Gross rounded out the scoring finishers for the Falcons, as they placed 147th (18:38) and 149th (18:39), respectively.
Air Force recorded 535 points to place 21st in the 28-team event.
Seventh-ranked Florida State dominated the women's race, collecting just 54 points. No. 18 Arkansas finished second with 116 points, while second-ranked New Mexico finished third with 164. No. 28 Penn State (188 pts) and unranked host Notre Dame (210 pts) rounded out the top five.
In addition to the nine runners that competed in the men's race, Air Force had three runners compete in Notre Dame's JV Race, which was open to additional athletes from all participating schools. Freshman Zach Perkins placed sixth in the 59-runner race with a five-mile time of 25:49, while sophomore Dan Bailey finished 12th (26:02) and sophomore Charlie Perkins took 15th (26:11).
The teams battled the weather as much as their competition during the race, as temperatures dipped into the low 50s and the wind blew at 20-30mph, with gusts reaching over 40mph. In addition, due to heavy rain in the South Bend area over the last week, the course was extremely wet, with resulting soft spots.
The Air Force cross country team continues action tomorrow (Oct. 1), as the rest of the squad travels to Boulder, Colo., for the 26th annual Rocky Mountain Shootout.