A Race to the Finish


The U.S. Air Force Academy's cross country teams participated in the Mountain West Conference Championship Oct. 28, 2016, at the Falcon Crest Golf Club in Kuna, Idaho.

The women's team placed second out of 11 teams with 53 points losing to the defending national champions, New Mexico University, by 11 points marking the highest finish in the conference in the academy program history.

"I'm very proud of our girls today," said Ryan Cole, head cross country coach. "There's always pride on the line in the conference championship."

Carina Gillespie's third place finish, not only led the Falcon women but matched the program's highest individual finish ever at the MW Championships earning a first team all-conference award. Her career-best time of 20 minutes, 17.90 seconds is the fourth fastest in academy history for the six-kilometer race.

"We're just overjoyed right now," Gillespie said. "We've been working very hard for this."

Lindy Long finished in fifth place with a 20:34.10 and Jaci Smith placed sixth with a 20:36.80 to earn first team all-conference honors marking the first time in program history that three Falcons have placed within the top ten finishers.

"We have a real strong team this year," Gillespie said. "Stronger than we've ever had before. We knew we could pull it out."

The men's team ran an eight-kilometer race placing third out of eight teams with 61 points losing to Boise State with 41 points and Colorado State with 48.

"We're happy and proud to represent the Air Force and the Academy," Cole said. "I love seeing people out here supporting our athletes everywhere we go."

Jacob Bilvado led the men's race with a fifth place finish of 24:12.60. Andrew Johnston finished sixth with a 24:13.20 and Matt Dorsey placed seventh running a 24:13.70. All three men earned first team all-conference honors.

"I'm ready to see what we can do at regionals in two weeks," Gillespie said. "Hopefully we can advance to nationals to make some more history as a team."

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