Air Force Travels to Pre-Nationals Meet
Andrew Quallio

Oct. 10, 2012

The Air Force cross country team will take on some of the nation's elite this Saturday (Oct. 13), when it travels to Louisville, Ky., for the prestigious Pre-Nationals Meet at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park. The event, which will be broken into four races (two seeded, two unseeded), is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. (EST).

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The Pre-Nationals Meet, held at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park - the site of the upcoming 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships - will feature two seeded races (Red) and two unseeded races (Black). The men's 8K Red race kicks off the morning at 9:30 a.m. (EST), while the women's 6K Red race will get underway at 10:15 a.m. The men's Black race will follow at 10:45 a.m., while the women's Black race concludes the day at 11:30 a.m. Air Force will compete in both the men's and women's Red Races, while additional Falcons will participate in the Black events.

There will be an admission charge of $5 per person for the Pre-Nationals Meet. Fees will be collected when fans enter the parking area. Additional information regarding Saturday's meet can be found at Louisville's Meet Central Page (

The men's seeded field features 40 total teams, including 10 that are ranked or receiving votes in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association's weekly poll. Included in the field are three top-10 squads - BYU (third), Colorado (seventh) and Tulsa (ninth). The women's seeded meet will feature 39 teams - nine of which are nationally ranked. Like the men's lineup, the women's field features three top-10 teams, including top-ranked Florida State, No. 4 Oregon and No. 8 Michigan. The unseeded races feature additional runners from the seeded schools in a non-team event, as well as approximately 25 additional schools, including several more ranked teams, which will run in a scored race.

Last week, the senior members of the cross country team learned what their first duty assignment will be upon graduation. Five of the eight that responded - Ted Artz, Matt Bell, Kate Kanetzky, Gage Owens and Andrew Quallio - received pilot slots, while Jeremy Drenckhahn and Melissa Fuerst will go into acquisitions and Seth Pelletier earned a spot in the intelligence field.

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Air Force is dominating the top of the Mountain West's 8K standings, accounting for four of league's six fastest times. Isaiah Bragg leads the conference with a time of 24:12.8, while Andrew Quallio is ranked third with a time of 24:16.0. Matt Bell and Jeremy Drenckhahn round out the top six, as the pair is ranked fifth (24:22.9) and sixth (24:27.1), respectively.

In addition holding four of the top six times, the men also account for nine of the top 12 times. Elliot Myers (eighth, 24:34.3), Charlie Perkins (ninth, 24:37.9) and Lance Wolfsmith (10th, 24:34.1) round out the league's top 10, while Riley Coates and Gavin Owens are ranked 11th (24:46.4) and 12th (24:49.6), respectively.

On the women's side, Air Force holds two of the top three times at the 6K distance. With a time of 20:59.8, Jen Bremser is ranked second in the league, while Melissa Fuerst is ranked third with a time of 21:41.2.

Backed by four of the top eight collegiate finishes, the men won the team title at the Metro State Invitational on Oct. 6. The Falcons placed all five scoring runners in the top 13 to defeat the seven-team field, which included the nation's top-ranked DII team (Adams State) by 16 points.

Gavin Owens paced the Falcons at the Metro State Invitational, finishing second among collegiate runners and third overall during the 85-runner event. Air Force also earned top-10 finishes from Patrick Corona (sixth), Carl Eifert (ninth) and Kevin Mihalik (10th), while Carson Fugal rounded out the team's scorers with a 16th-place overall finish. The women sent just three runners to the state capital on Oct. 6, with Adrianna Dong earning a team-best 14th-place finish.

The Falcons are off from competition next week, as they prepare for the 2012 Mountain West Cross Country Championships, which will be held on Friday, Oct. 26, at Silver Bowl Park in Las Vegas, Nev. The women will open the day with a 6K final at 10 a.m. (PST), while the men will follow with an 8K championship race at 11 a.m.



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