Aug. 30, 2012
The Air Force cross country team opens the 2012 season tomorrow (Friday, Aug. 31), when it travels to Fort Collin, Colo., for the annual Colorado State Open at Hughes Stadium. Competing in a 5K course around the Rams' football stadium, the Falcons begin action with the women's race at 6 p.m. (men run at 6:30 p.m.).
The Colorado State Open, a 5K season-opening race for both the men and the women, will feature Air Force, Colorado State, Colorado School of Mines and Northern Colorado. The course will run around Hughes Stadium and its adjacent fields. Spectator parking is available at Gate 4, near the intersection of Dixon Canyon Road and Overland Trail.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Senior Andrew Quallio was selected as the team captain for the men's team, while classmates Jen Bremser and Melissa Fuerst will share the captaincy of the women's team. Quallio's selection marks just the third time in the last decade that a single runner has served as team captain for the men's team.
CLOSE TO HOME
Four of the Falcons' nine competitions will take place within the state of Colorado. In addition to the season-opening Colorado State Open, Air Force will return to Fort Collins in November for the NCAA Mountain Regional Championships. The Falcons will also compete in Boulder (Rocky Mountain Open) and Denver (Metro State Invitational).
Air Force returns four of its five all-conference honorees from last season. Jeremy Drenckhahn was a first-team all-conference selection for the men in 2011, while Isaiah Bragg and Andrew Quallio earned second-team honors. On the women's side, Melissa Fuerst claimed second-team honors.
MEN PICKED SECOND IN PRESEASON POLL
The men were picked to finish second in the annual Mountain West Preseason Coaches' Poll. Air Force earned one first-place vote and 21 total points, finishing just three points behind reigning conference champion New Mexico. The women's team was chosen fourth in the preseason poll, collecting 43 points from the nine league coaches.
LEADING THE WAY
Air Force is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Juli Benson, the 2010 Mountain West Coach of the Year. The men have finished within the conference's top three each year, highlighted by a runner-up finish in 2011. The women have placed fourth during each season of Benson's tenure, which is the program's best placement since 2003.
The Falcons are off until Saturday, Sept. 15, when they travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the annual Woody Greeno Invitational.