Sept. 10, 2008
The Air Force cross country team returns to competition this weekend as it heads to San Diego, Calif., for the 64th annual Aztec Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 13. The meet, which takes place at historic Balboa Park, will begin for the Falcons at 9 a.m. (PST) with the women's 5000-meter invitational. The men's 8000-meter invitational will begin at 9:30 a.m.
Weekly Release 02: at Aztec Invitational (Sept. 13)
ABOUT THE MEET
The Aztec Invitational, which began in 1944, features five different races - people's race, women's open, women's invitational, men's invitational and men's open. The Balboa Park course features dirt, grass and concrete, in addition to a few hills. The top five runners will score for each team. This will be the first 8,000-meter race of the season for the men, while the women participate in their first 5,000-meter event.
LINDEMAN TAKES CHARGE OF XC PROGRAM
Ralph Lindeman, head coach of the track and field program, will oversee the remainder of the cross country season. Lindeman coached the men's team from 1989-91, guiding the Falcons to its first Western Athletic Conference championship in 1991. That year, Air Force finished second in the region and 14th at the NCAA Championships. That national finish remains tied for the second-best placement at the NCAA meet since 1967.
LAST YEAR AT THE AZTEC INVITATIONAL
All five of the Air Force scoring runners finished within the top-15, as the men easily rolled to a team title. Tallying just 50 points, the Falcons held a 35-point advantage over the other 12 teams. Then-junior Sean Houseworth tallied a time of 25:49 to place seventh out of 110 runners. The women finished 10th, with then-sophomore Brittany Morreale pacing the team with a 24th-place time of 18:47.
WE'LL BE BACK
Air Force will return to San Diego on Nov. 1, for the Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships. Last year's championship meet was moved from San Diego to Albuquerque, due to wildfires that threatened the area surrounding the SDSU campus.
Freshman Auriele Fain was the Falcons' top female finisher at the season-opening Wyoming Invitational on Aug. 29. Fain, who placed sixth overall, clocked a 2.5-mile time of 15:28. It is the Falcons' fastest time at that meet since 2005, while her sixth-place individual finish is also the best since that year. Fain is just the second member of the women's team to collect a top-10 finish in Wyoming in the last four years. Fain was chosen as the Academy's Athlete of the Week for her stellar performance.
LAST TIME OUT
Air Force opened the season at the Wyoming Invitational in Laramie on Aug. 29. Despite many new faces and several of its top returning runners not competing, the men and women ran to matching third-place finishes. Senior Justin Mason and freshman Auriele Fain were the top finishers for their respective teams, each claiming a sixth-place finish.
CATCHING A BREAK
The Falcons are off from competition until Oct. 4, when they travel to Boulder, Colo., for the annual Rocky Mountain Shootout. Air Force was originally scheduled to compete at the Lobo Invitational on Sept. 27, but New Mexico cancelled that competition.