Sept. 2, 2009
The Air Force cross country team opens the 2009 season on Friday, Sept. 4, as it competes at the UCCS Rust Buster Invitational at North Monument Valley Park in downtown Colorado Springs. The meet's college events are slated to start at 5:15 p.m. for the women and 5:45 for the men.
DIRECTIONS TO THE COURSE
The course is located in the north section of Monument Valley Park on the East side of I-25. Take the Uintah exit and go east for a couple of blocks until Cascade (stop light). Turn left. Proceed up Cascade a few blocks until Fontenero and go left (west). There is a gravel parking lot at the end of Fontenero for parking. The start and finish area are only a couple hundred feet from the street.
The Falcons' 26-man roster features just four seniors and two juniors. Despite losing much of last season's point-earners to graduation, the Falcons return all-conference selection Zach Nordahl, as well as junior Justin Tyner. In addition, the 2009 sophomore class gained valuable experience last year and will be a valued addition to this year's lineup.
While the men's team is exceptionally young, the women's team benefits from not having had any seniors in 2008. Air Force didn't lose anyone on the roster, while gaining eight talented newcomers. The senior class of Katie Anderson, Katie Lynch, Brittany Morreale and Ally Romanko, features the last two MVP selections in Lynch (2008) and Morreale (2007).
MEET THE COACHES
The Falcons return the 2008 women's MVP and Most Improved Runner in senior Katie Lynch, as well as the 2008 Freshman of the Year in Auriele Fain. On the men's side, Air Force welcomes back Justin Tyner, the 2008 Most Improved Runner, and James Walmsley, the 2008 Freshman of the Year.
The Falcons will be led by Juli Benson
, who is entering her first season as the head coach of the Air Force cross country team. During the 2009 track season, her distance runners accounted for a pair of conference titles and Academy records in the men's 1500- and 10,000-meter events. Benson will be joined by Maj Jason Zarb-Cousin
, a 1999 Academy graduate, who is beginning his first season as the Falcons' assistant coach.
CLOSE TO HOME
While the Falcons aren't hosting any meets this season, they remain close to the Academy for three competitions. Air Force opens the season in Colorado Springs (Sept. 4), and will also travel within the state to Fort Collins (Sept. 18) and Boulder (Oct. 3).
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN...
Seniors Zach Nordahl and Katie Lynch will pace the Falcons this season. Nordahl is the first solo captain for the men's team since the 2002 season.