Nov. 6, 2012
The Air Force cross country team returns to action on Friday, Nov. 9, when it travels to Fort Collins, Colo., for the 2012 NCAA Mountain Region Championships. The meet, which will be held at Colorado State's Collindale Golf Course, is slated to begin at noon with the women's 6K race. The men's 10K will follow at 1 p.m.
The 2012 NCAA Mountain Region Championship will take place throughout Collindale Golf Course (1441 East Horsetooth Road) in Fort Collins. Admission is free for all spectators and parking is available near the clubhouse. The women will run a 6K course at noon (MST), while the men will compete in their first 10K race of the season at 1 p.m.
Runners from Air Force, BYU, Colorado, Colorado State, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah, Texas-El Paso, Texas Tech, Utah Valley, Utah State, Weber State and Wyoming will compete in both the men's and women's races, while Nevada and Utah will participate in the women's event. Regional rankings can be found on the last page of this release.
A LOOK AT THE NATION
Two of the top men's teams - and four of the top 20 - in the USTFCCCA National Rankings reside in the Mountain Region. Colorado and BYU are ranked second and seventh, respectively, while New Mexico (16th) and Northern Arizona (18th) round out the ranked regional teams. On the women's side, Weber State (13th), New Mexico (17th) and Colorado (24th) are listed in the weekly national poll.
HOW IT WORKS
The regional championship meets serve as the primary feeder to the upcoming NCAA Championships. The top two teams from each of the nine regional championship sites (West, Mountain, Midwest, South Central, Great Lakes, South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast), as well as the top four individuals not on an advancing team, will receive an automatic berth to the national meet. Additional teams and individuals are chosen at-large.
RETURNING ALL-REGION RUNNERS
Air Force returns one all-region selection in Jeremy Drenckhahn, who placed within the top 25 (13th) at the 2010 NCAA Mountain Region Championships. Since head coach Juli Benson's arrival at the Academy in 2009, the Falcons have accounted for four all-region runners and three total certificates.
FALCONS NET PROGRAM-BEST EIGHT ALL-MW AWARDS
The Falcons capped off the conference championships with an Academy-record eight all-MW awards. Based on finishes with the top 14, the men matched their own record of six and the women set a new mark of two. Isaiah Bragg earned first-team distinction for the men, while Matt Bell, Jeremy Drenckhahn, Elliot Myers, Riley Coates and Andrew Quallio picked up second-team honors. On the women's side, Melissa Fuerst and Jen Bremser nabbed second-team honors.
FUERST IS FIRST
Melissa Fuerst became the first female in the history of Air Force cross country to earn multiple all-conference honors in a career, as she finished ninth at the 2012 championships. Matching her placement from last year's conference meet, Fuerst remains just the second member of the women's team to ever finish within the top 10 at the Mountain West Championship meet.
MAKING A NAME FOR HERSELF
Jen Bremser became the sixth Falcon in the history of the women's program to earn all-league honors, as she finished 11th in her final conference championship meet. Bremser joins Melissa Fuerst (2012, 2011), Katherine Ward (2010), Nicole Graham (2005), Kelly Robinson (2004) and Rachel Smith (1999) as Falcons who have earned all-league distinction.
CLIMBING UP THE STANDINGS
Matt Bell made a significant improvement in his placement at the MW Championships during his senior year, moving from 30th (junior year, 2011) to ninth in the overall standings. Isaiah Bragg's seventh-place finish is an improvement of seven places from his finish at the 2011 meet and a 23-spot jump from his freshman year conference race. On the women's side, Jen Bremser jumped up nine places (11th) from her previous best finish (20th), which took place during her freshman year.
WOMEN TALLY PROGRAM-BEST SCORE
With all five scoring runners placing within the top 30 at the conference championships, the women combined for 92 points - the lowest combined score since joining the Mountain West in 1999. Until this season, the Falcons had only broken the 100-point total once (98, 2002) and hadn't posted a score below 120 since 2003 (106).
FALCONS TAKE FOURTH AT CONFERENCE MEET
Finishing ninth in the 74-runner race, Melissa Fuerst paced the women to a fourth-place finish at the conference meet on Oct. 26. Jen Bremser finished 11th, while Morgan Mosby recorded a 19th-place finish. Kate Kanetzky and Rebecca Esselstein rounded out the Falcons' scoring with respective 26th- and 27th-place finishes.
MEN FINISH SECOND AT MW CHAMPIONSHIPS
Highlighted by three runners in the top 10 and all five scoring athletes in the top 12, the men finished second at the MW Championships. Isaiah Bragg (seventh), Matt Bell (ninth) and Jeremy Drenckhahn (10th) all finished within the top 10, while Elliot Myers and Riley Coates finished 11th and 12th, respectively.
THE NEXT COURSE
The 2012 cross country season comes to a close on Saturday, Nov. 17, with the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Ky. It will be the earliest national meet in Division I history and the first time since World War II that the meet has taken place on a Saturday.