Jim Walmsley and Melissa Fuerst Named Mountain West Athletes of the Week
Sept. 20, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Air Force distance runners senior Jim Walmsley and junior Melissa Fuerst were named the Mountain West Cross Country Athletes of the Week, the league office announced today (Sept. 20). It is the second such honor for Walmsley and the first for Fuerst, who shared the women's weekly honor with San Diego State's Marianne Hogan.
Walmsley picked up his second straight first-place finish last Saturday, as he won the men's Woody Greeno Invitational in an 8K time of 24:15.3. His course time, the sixth-fastest time ever at Nebraska's Pioneer Park, bettered the field of 305 runners by eight seconds. It is the second-fastest time of the Scottsdale, Ariz., native's career, only trailing his mark at the 2009 conference championships (24:14.0). Walmsley's winning time guided Air Force to a first-place overall finish in the 25-team race.
It is the second straight week that Walmsley has earned the men's honor, marking the first time since 2008 that a runner from any conference school has claimed Athlete of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks. He is also just the fifth Falcon to receive the honor more than once in a career.
A native of Blue Springs, Mo., Fuerst finished second overall in the women's 6K race at last weekend's 283-runner Woody Greeno Invitational. She posted a time of 21:25.7, which is the best 6000-meter time in the conference to date, a personal-best mark by nearly one minute (22:18.0) and the seventh-fastest course time at Pioneer Park since 2002. Backed by Fuerst's second-place finish, Air Force placed second among 25 teams in the overall team standings.
Fuerst became the first member of the women's cross country program to earn the weekly honor since 2008 - and just the fifth female overall since Air Force joined the Mountain West.
This marks just the third time in program history that the Falcons have claimed both Mountain West honors in the same week.
The Falcons are off from competition this weekend and return to action Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Select Falcons will travel to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Sept. 30, while the rest of the squad will compete at the Rocky Mountain Shootout in Boulder, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 1.