Oct. 19, 2013
MADISON, Wis. - Senior Isaiah Bragg picked up a 33rd-place individual finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, as the varsity members of the Air Force cross country team returned to action on Saturday (Oct. 19) in Madison. Despite being off from competition for over a month, the men bettered eight nationally-ranked programs while finishing 16th in the overall standings.
Bragg clocked a career-best time of 23:53 to finish 33rd in the 288-competitor field at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course, while sophomore Patrick Corona and junior Zach Perkins added top-70 finishes to the Falcons' score. Corona deleted nearly three minutes off of his previous best mark, as he crossed the finish line in a time of 24:09 to place 64th among scoring runners and 66th overall. Perkins, competing in his first cross country event since his freshman year, finished one second behind Corona (career-best 24:10) to finish 68th in the scoring field and 70th overall. Junior Riley Coates finished 135th among scoring runners with a career-best time of 24:33, while senior Gavin Owens rounded out the scoring finishes for Air Force with a personal-best time of 24:35 (143rd).
Air Force was represented by four additional runners in the men's 8k championship race. Junior Elliot Myers finished 166th overall in his 8K debut with a time of 24:41, while sophomore Dan Caddigan cut nearly three minutes off of his previous best 8K time to finish 209th (24:59). Seniors Charlie Perkins and Jake Hawkins rounded out the contingent of Air Force runners with respective times of 25:23 (236th) and 27:51 (287th).
The men, who finished 16th in the 35-team field with 443 points, bettered eight nationally-ranked teams including a pair of top-15 teams in Indiana (12th) and Texas (14th). Third-ranked Arizona won the men's team title with 121 points, while fifth-ranked BYU and seventh-ranked Portland finished second (174 points) and third (216 points), respectively. Host and 20th-ranked Wisconsin finished fourth with 217 points, while 25th-ranked New Mexico rounded out the top five with 252 points.
Crossing the finish line in a career-best time of 21 minutes flat, sophomore Hannah Everson paced the women in the 6K championship race, as she finished 84th overall in the 288-competitor event. In her season debut, senior Annette Eichenberger clocked a personal-best time of 21:35 to finish 161st in the individual standings, while junior Heather Connick also collected a career-best time (21:55) to finish 199th. Juniors Rebecca Esselstein and Taylor Drolshagen rounded out Air Force's scoring finishers, as they placed just two spots from one other at 205th (21:58) and 207th (personal-best 22:01), respectively.
With a 6k debut of 22:02, freshman Lindy Long placed just outside the scoring contingent for Air Force, as she finished two spots behind Drolshagen in 209th. Classmate Samantha Skold ran a 22:26 to finish 255th overall, while fellow freshman Kirsten Linnartz crossed the finish line in a debut time of 22:49 (268th overall).
The women finished 33rd in the team standings with 856 points. Third-ranked Arizona (117 points) and eighth-ranked Arkansas (136 points) finished first and second, respectively, to upset top-ranked Providence, who finished third with 191 points. Ninth-ranked Michigan State (200 points) and No. 28 Iowa State (235 points) rounded out the top five of the 37-team event.
In addition, three other members of the men's team competed in the adidas Invitational's "open" race later in the day. Senior Carl Eifert and freshman Kyle Eller finished within one second of each other, placing 27th (25:17) and 28th (25:18), respectively, in the 53-runner event, while freshman Daniel Lara rounded out the trio of Air Force runners with a 53rd-place time of 27:02.
Today's competition was the first race for these 20 runners since September 6, as the government shutdown earlier this month forced the cancellation of all Air Force intercollegiate athletic activities, including the team's previously scheduled meet at Notre Dame.
The Falcons open the championship season on Friday, November 1, when they host the 2013 Mountain West Cross Country Championships at the Academy's Eisenhower Golf Club. The men open the competition with the 8K championship at 10am, while women's 6K championship will begin at 10:45am.