LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Backed by an All-American finish from junior Mickey Davey, the 17th-ranked Air Force men's cross country team placed 15th at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships this morning (Nov. 18) in Louisville, Kentucky.
The men's 15th-place finish is the third-highest team placement at a national meet since 1967.
Competing nearly two hours earlier than originally scheduled, as the championship was moved up to avoid an incoming storm, Davey recorded the program's best individual finish since Eric Mack took third in 1995. Clocking a time of 29:43.57 in just the second 10K race of his career, the junior recorded the fastest time by a Falcon at a Louisville-hosted championship to finish 18th in a field of 254 athletes. In 76th at the first split (2K, 5:49.8), Davey jumped 27 spots into 49th by the 4K split (11:49.6), improved 31 more places by the 8K split (18th, 23:44.9) and held onto that placement into the finish chute.
With that finish, Davey is the 12th runner in Air Force history to garner USTFCCCA All-America honors at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
Senior Andrew Johnston added a top-60 finish in the men's race, as he posted a time of 30:18.31 to take 59th in the overall field - a finish that was 85 spots higher than his placement in last year's championship race. Classmate Jimmy Shipley finished 110th with a time of 30:49.4, while juniors Nathan Thomas (133rd, 30:59.3) and Noah Riley (187th, 31:28.1) rounded out the Falcons' scoring lineup in their debut at the NCAA Championships.
"Our guys competed with a lot of poise today," Air Force head coach Ryan Cole said. "They ran patient and moved up throughout the race, just as they have all year. We're happy with today's team outcome, but we also know there's more there and that makes it exciting as we look toward next year. Mickey's run was incredible. He's been consistent in his training and now we're getting to see what he's capable of in his racing."
The Falcons scored 429 points to finish 15th in the 31-team national meet - a placement that was ahead of five higher-ranked teams, including a pair of top-10 programs.
Top-ranked Northern Arizona won its second-straight national title with 74 points. Fourth-ranked Portland (127) and second-ranked BYU (165) finished second and third, respectively, while sixth-ranked Stanford (fourth, 221) and No. 15 Arkansas (fifth, 259) rounded out the top five of the team standings.
On the women's side, junior Jaci Smith clocked a time of 20:26.88 to finish 66th out of 255 runners in the women's 6K championship. It is the second-straight year that the junior has finished within the top-quarter of the national field.
"Jaci had a very solid run," Cole said. "The difference between being an All-American and top 70 is a handful of seconds, so working into the top 40 is our goal for next year. I also know we have a group of girls extremely motivated and committed to getting back to the NCAA meet next year and I look forward to Jaci leading the charge."
Although the cross country season came to a close this afternoon, the Falcons' distance runners will now turn their attention to the track. Air Force begins its 2017-18 track and field season on Friday, Dec. 8, when in hosts its annual Holiday Open at the Cadet Field House.