Oct. 30, 2013
The Air Force cross country team, featuring the 28th-ranked men's squad, opens the championship season this Friday (Nov. 1), when it hosts the 2013 Mountain West Cross Country Championships at the Academy's Eisenhower Golf Club. The meet, which will be held on the club's Blue Course, is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m., with the men's 8K championship race (the women's 6K will follow at 10:45 a.m.).
The 2013 Mountain West Cross Country Championships will take place on the Blue Course of the Academy's Eisenhower Golf Club. The meet will feature a men's 8K race (10:00 a.m.) and a women's 6K race (10:45 a.m.). Spectators should enter the Academy through the North Gate (exit 156) and follow signs to the course parking lot (located off of Academy Drive). Please be sure to have a valid ID upon entering the base. For fans unable to attend the conference meet, live streaming will be available via the Mountain West (http://www.themwc.com/#!/watch-live) and updates will be provided through the team's Twitter account (www.twitter.com/af_trackfield).
DID YOU KNOW?
This is the first time Air Force has hosted a conference cross country championships, as a member of the Mountain West (1999-present) or Western Athletic Conference (1980-1998).
The Mountain West Cross Country Championships will feature eight men's teams and 11 women's teams, including six that are ranked in the USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll. The men's field features ninth-ranked New Mexico, 20th-ranked Boise State, 22nd-ranked Colorado State and 28th-ranked Air Force, as well as Fresno State, San Jose State, Utah State and Wyoming. The women's field, representing all 11 conference schools, includes ninth-ranked New Mexico, 25th-ranked Boise State, Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State and Wyoming.
Entering the conference championship meet, Air Force holds three of the six fastest men's 8K times in the Mountain West. Isaiah Bragg is currently ranked third with a time of 23:53, while Patrick Corona and Zach Perkins are ranked fifth (24:09) and sixth (24:10), respectively. Riley Coates (21st, 24:33) and Gavin Owens (22nd, 24:35) are also listed among the league's top 25. On the women's side, Hannah Everson is ranked 10th in the 6K standings with a time of 21:00, while Annette Eichenberger is ranked 13th (21:35) and Heather Connick is ranked 25th (21:55).
The men have finished within the top three of the Mountain West Championships during 13 of the last 14 seasons, including a conference championship title in 2003 and seven runner-up finishes. The women have placed within the top half of the conference standings nine times within the last 14 years, including fourth-place finishes during each of the last four championship meets.
Since the Mountain West was formed in 1999, Air Force has seen 27 men combine for 46 all-conference selections, including 14 with first-team distinction (16 occasions). The 46 selections are the most among current MW squads and second all-time to BYU (61, from 1999-2010). Ben Payne is the Falcons' most decorated all-conference selection, earning MW honors all four years (two first-team, two second-team). On the women's side, six Falcons have earned second-team all-MW accolades, including at least one during each of the last three seasons. Last season, Melissa Fuerst became the program's first female to earn multiple all-MW honors, as she picked up her second such selection with a ninth-place finish - the second-highest individual placement in program history.
FALCONS RANKED FOURTH, THIRD IN PRE-CHAMPIONSHIP COACHES' POLL
Air Force's men collected one first-place vote from the Mountain West coaches in the pre-championship poll and earned a No. 4 ranking overall with 34 points. The women are ranked third with 81 points and maintain a 19-point gap over the rest of the field. Complete season rankings can be found on page 5 of this release.
FALCONS EARN NATIONAL RANKING
The men debuted in the national rankings on Oct. 22, entering the poll with a #28 ranking. Air Force, which had been receiving votes during every poll this season and defeated eight ranked programs at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, claimed the program's first top-30 ranking since Week 4 of the 2005 season.
BRAGG PACES MEN AT WISCONSIN
With a 33rd-place individual finish, Isaiah Bragg paced Air Force to a 16th-place team finish at the prestigious Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 19. Bragg was one of three Falcons to earn top-70 finishes in the 288-runner event, as Patrick Corona and Zach Perkins finished 64th and 66th, respectively. With its 16th-place finish in the 35-team competition, Air Force defeated eight nationally-ranked teams, including a pair of top-15 squads in Indiana (12th) and Texas (14th).
WOMEN LED BY EVERSON AT ADIDAS MEET
Crossing the finish line in 21-minutes flat to finish 84th among 288 runners, Hannah Everson paced the women at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 19. With three top-200 finishes, including Everson, Annette Eichenberger (161st) and Heather Connick (199th), Air Force placed 33rd overall in the team standings.
THE NEXT COURSE
Championship racing continues for Air Force on Friday, Nov. 15, when the squad travels to Riverdale, Utah, for the 2013 NCAA Mountain Region Cross Country Championships. The meet, hosted by Weber State University, will feature the men's first 10K run of the season (12:00 p.m.), as well as a women's 6K race (1:15 p.m.).