FalconVision Interview with Coach Cole
The Air Force cross country team, which includes the 16th-ranked men and a women's squad that is receiving votes in the latest national standings, returns to action this weekend, when it travels to Logan, Utah, for the 2017 NCAA Mountain Regional on Friday, Nov. 10. The meet, hosted by Utah State for the second straight year, is slated to begin at 10:15 a.m. (MT).
The NCAA Mountain Regional will take place on Friday, Nov. 10, at the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course (1165 East 1400 North) in Logan, Utah. The women will kick off the regional event with a 6K race at 10:15 a.m., while the men will follow with a 10K race at 11:15 a.m. (MT). The women were assigned to Starting Box 18, while the men will begin their race in Starting Box 9.
IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE MEET
Results from the NCAA Mountain Regional will be available at RunnerCard.com. Any additional links will be posted to the team's schedule page at GoAirForceFalcons.com. For AF-specific information, follow the Falcons on Twitter at @af_trackfield.
THE STARTING LINE
Air Force will send 14 runners to the NCAA Mountain Regional. Jacob Bilvado, Mickey Davey, Andrew Johnston, Noah Riley, Jimmy Shipley, Patrick Sullivan and Nathan Thomas will represent the men's team, while Lindsey Blanks, Katie Burnham, Shanna Burns, Carina Gillespie, Mahala Norris, Jaci Smith and Giulianna Vessa will represent Air Force's women. Marshall Wheeler and Teri Brady will serve as alternates for their respective squads.
SCOUTING THE WOMEN'S REGION
The women's NCAA Mountain Regional will feature the top-two teams in the country, as top-ranked Colorado and No. 2 New Mexico headline the 20-team race. The lineup also includes nationally-ranked squads from Utah State (15), BYU (18) and Northern Arizona (29), two teams that are receiving votes in the national poll (Air Force, Utah) and squads from Colorado State, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Nevada, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah, Texas Tech, Utah Valley, UTEP, Weber State and Wyoming.
LOOKING AT THE MEN'S FIELD
The men's 18-team NCAA Mountain Regional field includes three of the top-five teams in the country (No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 2 BYU, No. 5 Colorado), four other nationally-ranked squads (No. 8 Colorado State, No. 12 Southern Utah, No. 16 Air Force, No. 23 Utah State) and teams from Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, Texas Tech, Utah Valley, UTEP, Weber State and Wyoming.
HOW IT WORKS
The regional serves as the primary feeder to the upcoming NCAA Cross Country Championships. The top two teams from each of the nine regional 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 into the national meet. The remainder of the teams and individuals are chosen on an at-large basis.
LAST YEAR AT THE MOUNTAIN REGIONAL
Highlighted by top-four finishes from Carina Gillespie (third) and Jaci Smith (fourth), the women captured the highest regional finish in program history, as they placed third at the 2016 NCAA Mountain Regional in Logan, Utah. The pair, along with Lindy Long (19th), earned all-region accolades for the women, who used that third-place finish to earn an at-large spot at the national championship meet. Backed by a 14th-place finish from Andrew Johnston, the men finished seventh in the team standings at last year's regional meet. Johnston, who posted the best finish of someone not on an advancing team, captured all-region honors and an automatic bid to the national championship meet.
THE NEXT COURSE
The 2017 season comes to a close next Saturday (Nov. 18) at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville.