Sept. 8, 2011
The Air Force cross country team opens the 2011 season this Saturday (Sept. 10), at the Rust Buster Invitational. The annual season-opening meet, hosted by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, will take place at Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs. The men kick off the morning's races at 8:45 a.m.
Meet Notes 01: at UCCS Rust Buster Invitational (Sept. 10)
Both races take place at over a 2000-meter loop at Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs. The men's 6000-meter race begins at 8:45 a.m., while the women's 4000-meter race is slated to being at 9:30 a.m. An awards presentation will follow both races at approximately 10:15 a.m.
The UCCS Rust Buster Invitational is the second-largest collegiate race in the state of Colorado, behind only the Rocky Mountain Shootout in Boulder at the beginning of October. Schools participating in this season-opening race will include Air Force, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State, Metro State, Northern Colorado and Queens College (Charlotte, N.C.)
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 lot at the end of Fontenero for parking. The start and finish area are only a couple hundred feet from the street.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN...
Seniors Jim Walmsley and Auriele Fain will serve as captains of the Air Force cross country team in 2011. Walmsley's term as men's captain will mark just the second time since 2002 that a single runner has held the title. Fain, who shared the captaincy in 2010, is just the fourth woman in program history to serve as team captain in consecutive years, joining Dana Lindsley (1981-82), Jill Wood (1988-89) and Renae Bartolone (1993-94).
CLOSE TO HOME
While the Falcons aren't hosting any meets, they remain close to the Academy for three competitions this season. Air Force opens the season in downtown Colorado Springs at the Rust Buster Invitational (Sept. 10) and will also travel to Boulder for the annual Rocky Mountain Shootout (Oct. 1) and Fort Collins for the Mountain West Championships (Oct. 29).
BY THE NUMBERS
The 26-man roster for the men's team features five freshmen, 10 sophomores, eight juniors and three seniors, while the women's squad features nine freshmen, six sophomores, four juniors and three seniors.
MEN PICK SECOND IN MW PRESEASON POLL
The men's squad claimed 21 points to finish second in the annual Mountain West preseason coaches' poll, just one point behind defending conference champion New Mexico (22 points). Wyoming (16), Colorado State (15), Boise State (11) and TCU (5) rounded out the six-team field. The second-place preseason ranking is the highest for the Falcons since 2007, when they were also picked second.
WOMEN CLAIM BEST PRESEASON RANKING SINCE 2004
The women's program was picked third in the conference coaches' preseason poll with 34 points. That placement is the highest for an Air Force team since 2004, when they were also chosen third. Defending champion New Mexico was selected first (49 points) and Colorado State was picked second with 43. Following Air Force's third-place ranking was Wyoming (32), Boise State (23), TCU (17), San Diego State (15) and UNLV (11).
The Falcons return a NCAA participant in junior Jeremy Drenckhahn. As a sophomore, Drenckhahn earned all-region accolades with a 13th-place finish at the Mountain Region Championships, before advancing to the national meet where he finished near the top half of the field in 134th.
Air Force will travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the 2011 Woody Greeno Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17.