INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For the third straight year, the Air Force cross country program will be represented in both the men’s and women’s races at the NCAA Division I National Cross Country Championships, the national selection committee announced this afternoon (Nov. 11) with its official list of competitors to next week’s national meet.
The 16th-ranked men received an at-large selection to the national meet after finishing fifth in a stacked field at the NCAA Mountain Regional. It is the first time since 2013 that the Falcons have sent a full team to the NCAA Championships, but the seventh time in the last decade that Air Force has had at least one representative in the national meet.
A top-10 finish from junior Mickey Davey (eighth) paced the men during Friday’s regional meet, as all five scoring runners finished within the top 40. Classmate Jacob Bilvado (16th) and senior Andrew Johnston (22nd) were also all-region selections as top-25 finishers, while senior Jimmy Shipley (32nd) and sophomore Patrick Sullivan (40th) rounded out the Falcons’ scoring lineup. The Falcons’ entire seven-man lineup finished within the top half of the 121-runner field, as juniors Noah Riley and Nathan Thomas finished 49th and 54th, respectively, to round out the Falcons’ contingent.
Smith earned an individual bid to the national meet after placing sixth out of 133 runners at yesterday’s regional meet. Smith’s inclusion to the national meet marks the third-straight year that Air Force has been represented in the women’s meet – after the program received just one bid in its first 18 years at the Division I level.
Air Force was one of seven men’s teams from the Mountain Region to qualify to the NCAA Cross Country Championships, while Smith was one of four female runners from the regional meet to advance.
In all, 31 teams were selected for their respective championship races today. The top two teams from each of yesterday’s nine regional meets earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship meet, while 13 additional squads were chosen by an at-large selection process. The top four runners from each region that were not on an advancing team – and finished within the top 25 of the regional meet – also qualified to the national meet.
The NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships will be held next Saturday (Nov. 18) on the course at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky.