The Air Force cross country season comes to a close this weekend, as the 17th-ranked men's squad and junior Jaci Smith travel to Louisville, Ky., for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. The meet, which marks the men's first team appearance in five years, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The 2017 NCAA Championships will take place throughout E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville. The women's 6K championship race will kick off the day at 10:45 a.m. (EST), while the men's 10K will get underway one hour later (11:45 a.m.). Live stats will be available via RecordTiming.com, while FloTrack will broadcast the event through their FloPro service.
Saturday's weather is currently forecasted at 90% chance of rain, a high of 60 and light wind.
THE STARTING LINE
Air Force will send eight runners to the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Jaci Smith will represent the women's squad. The men's NCAA lineup will consist of Jacob Bilvado, Mickey Davey, Andrew Johnston, Noah Riley, Jimmy Shipley, Patrick Sullivan and Nathan Thomas, with Andrew Milliron serving as an alternate.
WHERE TO FIND THEM
The men are scheduled to begin their 10K race out of Box 10, while Jaci Smith will begin her 6K race in Box 9, with individuals from Charlotte, Iona and UMass-Amherst.
Thirty-one teams were selected into both the men's and women's championship races. The top-two teams from each of the nine regional meets earned an automatic bid into the NCAA meet, while 13 additional teams earned at-large selections. Thirty-eight individuals were also selected into each championships race, by placing within the top 25 of their region and being one of the top-four finishers not on an advancing team from each regional site.
LET'S MEET THE MEN'S FIELD
The overall men's field includes automatic qualifiers from No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 2 BYU, No. 3 Syracuse, No. 5 Portland, No. 7 Furman, No. 9 Virginia Tech, No. 10 Michigan, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 12 Washington, No. 13 Iowa State, No. 15 Arkansas, No. 18 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Iona, No. 21 Texas, No. 22 Middle Tennessee, No. 25 Ole Miss, No. 28 (tie) Princeton and Navy, as well as at-large squads from No. 5 Colorado, No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 Colorado State, No. 14 Oregon, No. 16 UCLA, No. 17 Air Force, No. 19 Southern Utah, No. 23 Boise State, No. 24 Alabama, No. 26 Utah State, No. 27 Washington State, No. 28 (tie) NC State and No. 28 (tie) Virginia.
AIR FORCE ALL-AMERICANS
A total of 11 Falcons have captured All-America honors (14 occurrences) at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, while 14 women earned All-America status at the DII and AIAW levels (28 occurrences). The most recent Air Force All-Americans were Kyle Eller and Hannah Everson, who both claimed the honor in 2015.
BY THE NUMBERS | MEN
The 2017 season marks the 15th time that Air Force has sent a full squad to the NCAA Championships -- and the 30th time that the Academy has been represented by at least one runner in the men's race. The history book boasts six top-10 team finishes, including a runner-up placement from the 1967 squad, the national champion in 1968 (Mike Ryan) and the top American finisher in 1995 (Eric Mack, third overall)
BY THE NUMBERS | WOMEN
Air Force has been represented by at least one participant in the women's championship race during each of the last three years, with the 2016 squad becoming the Academy's first team to qualify at the Division I level. Hannah Everson became the program's first Division I All-American in 2015, although Air Force was a longtime participant at the Division II National Championships, accounting for three runner-up finishes and 20 All-America nods.
MEN ENTER CHAMPIONSHIP MEET RANKED 17TH IN NATIONAL STANDINGS
Air Force is ranked No. 17 in the pre-championship edition of the USTFCCCA National Coaches' Poll on Nov. 13. The Falcons have been listed among the nation's top-25 during each of the last four polling weeks -- the longest such streak since 2004.
FALCONS ALSO EARN MENTION IN FLOXC RANKINGS
The men moved up seven spots to No. 12 in the FloXC Rankings on Nov. 13.
THE NEXT COURSE
Although the cross country season will come to a close this weekend, the Falcons return to action next month with the start of the indoor track and field season. Air Force will host its annual Holiday Open on Friday, Dec. 8, at the Cadet Field House Indoor Track.