Air Force finished the men’s cross-country season as the nation’s seventh-best team.

The Falcon, paced by an All-America performance from senior Ryan Johnson, had their best showing at the NCAA Cross Country Championships since 1967 on Saturday morning in Stillwater, Okla.

It was the first time Air Force had finished in the Top 10 since 2003 (eighth). They’ve done it five times overall, the best coming when the ’67 team placed second.

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Johnson finished 28th out of the 255-runner field, covering the course on Oklahoma State’s campus in 29:28. The top 40 earn All-America status.

The Falcons placed their top five runners among the top 80, with 33 seconds separating them.

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“Our men executed a strong race today,” said Ryan Cole, Air Force’s director of track and field and cross-country. “We knew where we needed to be early in the run, they found each other and worked together like they have all season.”

Air Force’s top five (the team competition scores the top five) included senior Ethan Marshall (49th, 29:45.4), senior Sam Gilman (57th, 29:49.4), junior Luke Combs (70th, 29:55.4 in just his second race of the year) and sophomore Bryce Lentz (77th, 30:01.7).

“A significant amount of credit goes to our senior class,” Cole said. “They’ve been tremendous. There are also a lot of alums that helped create the culture which has enabled us to become a nationally competitive program. This has been a fun season. It makes it easy to get excited about next year.”

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Northern Arizona and Oklahoma State tied with 83 points, with NAU claiming the title on head-to-head tie breakers. BYU (132) was third, Stanford (195) fourth and Wake Forest (204) fifth.

The Falcons (264) finishes one spot ahead of Colorado (281).

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