Falcons Ready for NCAA Championships

The delayed 2020-21 cross country season comes to a close next week as Air Force’s 19th-ranked men and senior Mahala Norris travel to Stillwater, Okla., on Monday, March 15, for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
 
MEET INFORMATION
The NCAA Championships will be held at the OSU Cross Country Course. The women will kick off the day with their 6K championship at 11:50 a.m., while the men’s 10K will follow at 12:40 p.m. (all times Central). Live results will be available via Prime Time Timing (a direct link is available on the team’s schedule page at GoAirForceFalcons.com) and ESPNU will broadcast the meet in its entirety, beginning at 11:30 p.m. (CT).
 
SPECTATOR INFORMATION
There will be no public ticket sales for the 2020-21 NCAA Championships.
 
WEATHER WATCH
Rain is scheduled throughout the weekend, but Monday is currently forecasted to be partly cloudy, with a high of 64, low of 41.
 
THE STARTING LINE
Luke Combs, Sam Gilman, Ryan Ioanidis, Ryan Johnson, Scott Johnson, Will Kitzhaber, Scott Maison, Sean Maison and Alec Schrank are entered to make the trip from the Academy to Stillwater, where they will meet up with Mahala Norris, who will head to the NCAA Cross Country Championships after completing the 5000-meter run at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
 
WHERE TO FIND THEM
The men are scheduled to begin their 10K championship race out of Box 17, while Mahala Norris will join individual runners from Missouri, Rice and South Dakota State in Box 19 to start the 6K championship event.
 
WHO’S WHO
A total of 255 runners per gender (31 teams, 38 individuals) were selected to compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
 
LET’S MEET THE MEN’S FIELD
The men’s 31-team field includes nationally-ranked teams from BYU (No. 1), Northern Arizona (2), Arkansas (3), Stanford (4), Tulsa (5), Oklahoma State (6), Iowa State (7), Colorado (8), Notre Dame (9), Washington (10), Wisconsin (11), Iona (12), NC State (13), Gonzaga (14), Ole Miss (15), Indiana (17-tie), Portland (17-tie), Air Force (19), Wake Forest (20), Utah State (21), Butler (22), Virginia (23), Purdue (24), Syracuse (25), Southern Utah (26), Michigan State (28) and Charlotte (30), as well as four teams that are receiving votes in the latest coaches poll (Duke, Furman, Georgetown, Villanova).
 
AIR FORCE ALL-AMERICANS
A total of 15 Falcons have captured All-America honors (18 occurrences) at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, while 14 women earned All-America status at the DII and AIAW meets (25 occurrences). The most recent Air Force All-Americans are Maria Mettler and Mahala Norris, who garnered the distinction at the last championship meet in 2019, while Mickey Davey was the last member of the men’s team to capture that honor (2017).
 
MEN’S HISTORY 101
The 2020-21 season marks the 17th time that Air Force has sent a full men’s squad to the NCAA Championships – and the 32nd time that the Academy has been represented by at least one runner in the men’s championship field. The history book boast the national champion in 1968 (Mike Ryan) and the top American finisher in 1995 (Eric Mack, third overall), as well as six top-10 finishes – including a runner-up placement by the 1967 squad.
 
WOMEN’S HISTORY 101
Air Force has had at least one runner in the women’s championship race during each of the last six years – after having just one in the previous 18. Mahala Norris, who claimed All-America honors last year after placing 39th, is third Academy runner to earn multiple bids to the NCAA Cross Country Championships – and the fourth to earn All-America accolades. The Falcons were frequent participants at the NCAA Division II Championships, accounting for three runner-up team finishes, the 1990 national champion (Callie Calhoun) and 18 All-America honors.
 
DID YOU KNOW?
Scott Johnson and Alec Schrank were members of the last Air Force team to make the NCAA Cross Country Championships, with both serving as scoring runners on that 2018 squad.
 
MEN ENTER CHAMPIONSHIP MEET RANKED 19TH IN NATIONAL STANDINGS
Air Force is ranked No. 19 in the final regular-season edition of the USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll, which was released on March 5. It is the highest placement for the Falcons since the final poll of the 2018 season (No. 17). The Falcons have received at least one vote in every poll dating back to the start of the 2017 season and this marks the fourth-straight season that the Falcons have been mentioned in every poll of the year.
 
THE NEXT COURSE
Although the cross country – and indoor track and field – seasons come to close over the next few days, Air Force is back in action on March 19-20, when it kicks off the outdoor season at the annual Jerry Quiller Classic in Boulder.

 

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