These are undoubtedly dark times for athletics at the Air Force Academy. The football (1-4) team dropped its fourth straight game on Saturday when Navy ripped its heart out with a game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds remaining.
The Falcons had come back from 21-point deficits of 28-7, 31-10 and 38-17 to briefly take the lead in the final minutes, only to have it taken away.
Yes, the academy has 27 sports. But football drives the bus in terms of revenue and public perception. So as football goes, so goes the sports mood.
But all is not dark.
Currently, Air Force has three sports programs ranked in the Top 25. Here they are…
The Falcons entered the season picked first in the Atlantic Hockey Conference and ranked No. 17 in the USCHO.com poll.
Coach Frank Serratore’s team opened the season this weekend at Alaska, going 1-0-1.
Air Force came one goal short last year of reaching the Frozen Four.
Senior defenseman Phil Boje and senior forward Jordan Himley were preseason all-conference selections.
Men’s cross country
The team climbed into the USTFCCCA – which, at that many letters, has to be official (it’s actually the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) – rankings at No. 23 in the Oct. 3 poll. It’s the highest ranking for the team in two years.
It’s the fifth consecutive year for the program to be in the top 30.
The deep Falcons squad, under coach Ryan Cole, has had top-15 finishes at meets this year from Jacob Bilvado, Mickey Davey, Andrew Johnston, Nathan Thomas, Marshall Wheeler and Trevor Whiteside.
The men’s team finished third in the Mountain West last year.
The team, which hosts Houston Baptist on Sunday, entered the weekend entering the weekend ranked 13th by the United Soccer Coaches, 14th by Top Drawer Soccer, 21st in the College Soccer News and 23rd by Soccer America.
The Falcons (8-1-1), coached by Doug Hill, have shut out eight opponents this season (second most in the nation) and sport a goals against average of .391 that ranks fourth best in Division I.
John Wendt has handled the majority of the games in goal, while Tucker Bone, Klint Parker and John Sims lead the team with three goals apiece.