Air Force Duo Heads to NCAA Cross Country Championships

    Jeremy Drenckhahn
    Jeremy Drenckhahn

    Nov. 20, 2010

    Air Force senior Justin Tyner and sophomore Jeremy Drenckhahn conclude the cross country season on Monday, Nov. 22, when they travel to Terre Haute, Ind., for the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The pair, who each earned an automatic selection to the national meet behind all-region finishes at the NCAA Mountain Regional, will compete at Indiana State's 10K La Vern Gibson Championship Course at 12:48 p.m. (EST).

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    The 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships will take place on Monday, Nov. 22, at the La Vern Gibson Championship Course on the campus of Indiana State. The women's 6K race will kick off the day at 12 p.m. (EST), while the men's 10K race is slated to begin at 12:48 p.m. Both of the men's and women's races will feature 31 teams and 38 individual runners.

    The men's automatic qualifying teams include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Duke, Florida State, Indiana, Iona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Princeton, Stanford, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova, William & Mary and Wisconsin, while BYU, California, Georgetown, Louisville, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Penn State, Portland, Providence, Richmond and Virginia earned at-large selection. The men's field also includes individual runners from Air Force, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Binghamton, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Columbia, Dayton, Eastern Kentucky, Florida, Harvard, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Lamar, Lehigh, Liberty, Louisiana Monroe, Maryland, McNeese State, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi, Montana State, Navy, Nebraska, Saint Joseph's, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, UC Davis, UC Riverside, Utah Valley, Western Kentucky and Yale.

    Of the 36 men's programs sending individual runners to the NCAA Cross Country Championships, only two schools - Air Force (Jeremy Drenckhahn, Justin Tyner) and Liberty (Sam Chelanga, Evans Kigan) - are sending more than one runner.

    Backed by all-region performances at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships, Justin Tyner and Jeremy Drenckhahn received consideration for the national championships. Tyner, who placed 10th at the regional meet, earned an automatic selection as one of the top four finishers not on an automatically qualifying team. Drenckhahn's 13th-place finish moved him into an automatic berth after the next two teams from the Mountain Region claimed at-large bids.

    The two selections mark the most Air Force representatives at the national championship meet since the Falcons send a full squad to the 2004 NCAA Championships. Air Force has sent full teams to the national meet 13 times, while being represented by individual runners an additional 12 years.

    In 2009, Justin Tyner made his first appearance at the national meet ... the first Air Force runner to participate at the NCAA Championships since 2007. Competing against 250 of the nation's top distance runners, Tyner placed 71st with a 10,000-meter team of 30:37.6. The placement was the Falcons' best finish since Brian Dumm and Jeff Gosselin finished 57th and 61st, respectively, at the 2004 championships. His time was the best by an Air Force runner since Chris Acs' 30:22 at the 2003 meet.

    Air Force had three of its runners named to the all-region team at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Nov. 13. Based on top-25 finishes, Justin Tyner (10th) and Jeremy Drenckhahn (13th) were named to the men's team, while Katherine Ward (25th) was named to the women's team. It is the second time in as many years that Tyner has earned all-region honors, while Drenckhahn and Ward claimed their first such award.

    Katherine Ward is the first all-region honoree from the women's team since Nicole Graham in 2005.

    Four of the five scoring runners for Air Force placed within the top 35, as Air Force finished fifth in the 16-team event. Behind Justin Tyner and Jeremy Drenckhahn's respective 10th and 13th-place finishes, Jon Rock finished 30th and Jim Walmsley placed 33rd.

    All five scoring runners for the men's team recorded career-best 10-kilometer times at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships. Justin Tyner, the team's top finisher at 30:11.9, clocked 19 seconds off of his previous best time, while Jeremy Drenckhahn (30:17.3) slashed over two minutes off of the time he clocked at last year's regional meet. Tyler Small improved his 10K time by nearly a minute and a half, while Jon Rock (30:47.0) and Jim Walmsley (30:49.7) each took a minute off their previous best times.

    Katherine Ward posted the best regional finish by a member of the women's team since 2005, when she crossed the finish line in a 25th-place time of 21:20.3 (6K course). Her time is a 38-second personal improvement.

    Katherine Ward's 25th-place finish paced the women's team to a 14th-place score in the team standings. Three Falcons finished within 10 places of one another, including Melissa Fuerst (67th), Jen Bremser (70th) and Morgan Mosby (76th).



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