Nov. 23, 2013
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - With the Academy's best individual finish in the last decade, senior Isaiah Bragg paced the 24th-ranked Air Force men's cross country team to a 20th-place team finish at the NCAA Division I National Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Under cold, windy conditions at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, Bragg paced the Falcons through the muddy field with a modified 10K time of 30:57.10 (the course was shortened by 110 meters due to standing water near the start line). His finish was the program's best individual placement at the national meet since 2003 ... and the second-highest finish since 1995.
Sophomore Patrick Corona joined Bragg among the top 100 of the 253-runner field, as he finished 89th in his national debut with a time of 31:14.1. Senior Gavin Owens finished 101st overall with a time of 31:19.8, while classmate Charlie Perkins finished 130th with a time of 31:34.7. Junior Zach Perkins rounded out Air Force's scoring runners with a 140th-place time of 31:42.3.
In its first team appearance at the national meet since 2004, Air Force accounted for 419 points - a total that was just four points out of 18th - to finish 20th in the overall standings. With that placement, the Falcons finished ahead of five teams that were ranked higher in the latest USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll, including No. 9 Tulsa, No. 12 Columbia, No. 13 Michigan, No. 18 Princeton and No. 19 Notre Dame.
With 149 points, third-ranked Colorado won its fourth national team title. Top-ranked Northern Arizona (169) and second-ranked Oklahoma State (230) rounded out the top three, while eighth-ranked BYU earned the fourth-place trophy in the 31-team event.
Today's race concludes the 2013 season, but the Falcons' distance runners will return to action for the track and field season, which begins next month (Dec. 13) at the Air Force Holiday Open.