Sept. 16, 2009
The Air Force cross country team continues action this weekend (Friday, Sept. 18), as it travels to Fort Collins, Colo., for the annual Colorado State Classic. The women will begin their race at 5 p.m., while the men will start at 5:45 p.m. The start line for both races will be at Hughes Stadium on the Colorado State campus.
The racecourse is mostly flat, with a few gradual hills, at a starting elevation of 5,051 feet. The surface consists of hard packed dirt and grass.
AIR FORCE WOMEN WIN SEASON OPENER
Backed by five top-10 finishes, the women easily won the UCCS Rust Buster Invitational on Sept. 4 in Colorado Springs. Ally Romanko was the Falcons top finisher, placing fourth, while Katie Anderson and Elyse Willard placed fifth and sixth, respectively. Katie Lynch (eighth) and Auriele Fain (10th) rounded out the Falcons' top-10 finishers.
BRUSHING OFF THE RUST
The men claimed three of the top-10 spots to place second at the Rust Buster Invitational on Sept. 4. Zach Nordahl was the race's runner-up, while James Walmsley placed sixth and Justin Tyner took seventh. The Falcons combined for 44 points, finishing just seven behind the meet winner.
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).
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.
MEET THE COACHES
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.
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.