Force athletics announces major award winners;
of 2014-15 athletic season
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force athletics recognized several
cadet-athletes for their accomplishments during the 2014-15 sports season at
the Academy's annual awards ceremony. Senior rifle star Meredith Carpentier and
senior track and field standout Joey Uhle were named female and male athlete of
the year, respectively. Senior cross country and track athlete Rebecca
Esselstein earned the scholar-athlete award while senior swimmer Kim Davis won
the athletic leadership award. Senior track and field athlete Zach Perkins won
the athletic excellence award and senior quarterback Kale Pearson won the
athletic achievement award.
complete round up of the top six award winners, as well as highlights from each
sport and the most valuable athlete from each sport follows below.
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE: Rebecca Esselstein
was named a Rhodes Scholar in 2014, becoming the 12th cadet-athlete in Air
Force history to earn the prestigious award. The senior, who competed in all
six of the team's cross country meets in the fall, impacted the Academy record
book during the track and field season, as she ran the lead-off leg of the
distance medley relay team that recorded the second-fastest time in Air Force
history (11:49.14, adjusted for altitude). Individually, Esselstein competed in
three events during the track season - 800-meter run, mile run, 1500-meter run.
A two-time CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American, Esselstein has combined
for eight academic all-conference honors and MW Scholar-Athlete selections as a
member of both the cross country and track/field teams.
MOST VALUABLE FEMALE ATHLETE: Meredith Carpentier closes her
Academy rifle career as one of the program's top female shooters. She is a
five-time All-American in both the air rifle and smallbore guns. She led
her team to two national championship rankings, fifth in 2013 and seventh in
2015. In 2014, she was the Patriot Rifle Conference air rifle champion. She
is a member of the USA National Team since 2013 and was the National Junior
Olympic Champion that same year. She was a member of the United States'
gold medal women's air rifle team at the Championship of Americas. She earned
gold, silver and bronze medals for her USA Shooting competitions throughout her
career. A two-year team captain, she was recognized by the Sportswomen of
Colorado as an outstanding female athlete for her performances in 2013.
MOST VALUABLE MALE
(as of 20 May 15) With five conference titles, four All-America awards and one
Academy record, Joey Uhle has left his mark on the Air Force track and field
program. With a career-best clearance of
18'2½" at this year's Air Force Invitational, Uhle broke the Academy's indoor
record and became just the third vaulter in program history to surpass 18-feet
during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. With that jump, Uhle also moved
into second on the Mountain West's all-time list. Uhle, a back-to-back team MVP
who also holds the program's second-best outdoor clearance (18'1"), has claimed
five Mountain West titles in his career - a tally that is tied for the most in
Academy history. Backed by those five titles (2013, 2014, 2015 indoor; 2014,
2015 outdoor), Uhle has combined for all-MW (top-three) medals in seven of his
eight conference meets. Entering the 2015 NCAA Championship season, he has
accounted for an Air Force Division I-best four All-America mentions, including
first-team distinction at the 2014 indoor championships. He also collected
second-team honors at the 2013 indoor and outdoor championships, while earning
honorable mention status at the 2015 indoor meet.
(as of 20 May 15) During his four-year career at the Academy, Zach Perkins has
claimed three conference titles and earned first-team All-America status in the
1500-meter run. As a sophomore, Perkins was the NCAA runner-up at 1500 meters,
en route to the program's first-ever All-America citation at that distance. He claimed conference titles in different
events during three straight MW Championship meets, winning the mile (2013
indoors), 1500-meter run (2013 outdoors) and 800-meter run (2014 indoors).
Perkins, who was hampered by injury during the past year, scored for the
Falcons in both the 800- and 1500-meter events at the 2015 MW Championships,
including a second-place finish at 1500 meters. As a member of the cross
country team, Perkins helped Air Force to its first team appearance at the NCAA
Championships since 2004, as well as a runner-up finish in the team standings
at the 2014 MW Championships.
ATHLETIC LEADERSHIP: Senior swimmer Kim Davis set 14
school records during her four-year career on the women's swimming team. After
breaking her own records several times, seven of her records still stand today.
She is the first ever Air Force
women's swimmer to qualify and participate in U.S. Olympic Trials, swimming the
200 breaststroke in 2012. She earned the Mountain West Senior Award in 2014 and has been named
all-conference seven times. As a senior, she earned all-conference honors in
the 200 IM, 400 IM and the 200 breaststroke. She finished
third in the 400 IM with an
NCAA "B" time of 4:17.42 at the Mountain West Championships.
ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT: Senior quarterback Kale
Pearson returned from a season-ending knee injury last year to lead the Falcons
to a 10-3 overall record. Pearson completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,590
yards and 14 touchdowns. His 14 TD passes tie as the most in the option era at
Air Force while his 1,590 yards is the fifth most all-time. Pearson had a
160.68 quarterback efficiency rating for the season which is the third-best in
school history. He also rushed for 687 yards and six touchdowns which was
second on the team.
Air Force completed one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college
football in 2014. The Falcons finished the season 10-3 overall and had a 5-3
mark in conference play after a 2-10 mark in 2013. The eight-game turnaround is
the best in school history and tied with TCU as the best in the country. The
Falcons qualified for their seventh bowl game in eight seasons, defeating
Western Michigan, 38-24, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Air Force defeated
both Army and Navy to win a record 19th Commander-in-Chief's Trophy title
and its third in the last five years. Air Force's 10-win season is just the sixth
in school history. The team defeated No. 21 Colorado State, who is the highest
ranked team Air Force has beaten since 1996. Air Force finished 6-0 at home for
just the fourth time in school history.
COUNTRY: Highlighted by a runner-up finish from Patrick Corona, the Air Force
men's cross country team finished second at the 2014 Mountain West
Championships. It was one of four top-three finishes for the Falcons on the
year, as the squad also won the Fresno State Invitational, took second at the
Rocky Mountain Shootout and finished third at the Woody Greeno Invitational.
Riley Coates, who joined Corona on the all-MW first-team squad, earned
all-region honors and advanced to the NCAA Championships. The men, who moved up
to No. 29 in the national rankings following the conference meet, accounted for
the program's fastest 8K (Corona, 23:41.50) and five-mile (Coates, 23:55.70)
times over the last two decades. The women claimed three top-five team finishes
during the 2014 season, including runner-up finishes at the Fresno State
Invitational and Woody Greeno Invitational. Backed by a seventh-place finish
from all-conference honoree Hannah Everson, the Falcons finished fifth at the
MW Championships. Everson, who picked up three top-10 finishes on the year, was
the Falcons' top finisher during five of the team's six races. Everson, Lindy
Long and Rebecca Esselstein impacted the program record book at the 5K
distance, as they accounted for three of the four-fastest times in DI history.
The Air Force volleyball team continued to improve in 2014, recording
its best conference win total (seven) since moving to Division I. The Falcons
compiled a 13-19 record, which included a 7-11 mark in Mountain West action.
Highlighted by victories over Winthrop, Marist, Houston Baptist, Weber State,
Boise State, San Jose State, Nevada, San Diego State and Fresno State, the
Falcons tallied the most home wins since 1999 and the third home winning record
at the Academy in Division I history (9-8). Several milestones were reached
this season, as Akokwe Clement and Taylor Parker became the program's first
all-conference honorees since 2003 and Parker became the program's first MW
Athlete of the Week since 2010.
WATER POLO: The Air Force water polo
team spent the 2014 season among the nation's top 20, finishing the season with
a 15-15 overall record and ranked 15th in the nation. The Falcons
placed fifth in the Western Water Polo Association tournament, defeating Santa
Clara in the final game of the season. Sophomore Robby Stiefel was the most
decorated Falcon, earning honorable mention All-America honors. He was also a
first-team all-WWPA selection and was named to the WWPA all-tournament team. Stiefel led the conference in assists (56)
and steals (68) and was 12th in goals scored (44) in 2014.
His 56 assists set a new school record. Senior Petar Jackovich was the
team MVP, as he was named second-team all-conference, scoring 27 goals and posting
WOMEN'S SOCCER: Air Force women's soccer went 7-10-1
overall in 2014-15. The Falcons were 4-6-1 in Mountain West play,
finishing tied for eighth place out of 12 teams. Freshman midfielder
Angela Karamanos led the team in scoring with seven goals and 16 points.
Freshman Alex Kahalley led the team in goal with 79 saves and a 1.30 goals
against average. The Falcons were one of the youngest teams in the
country, with 20 of 26 players being freshmen or sophomores. Air Force
produced six Academic All-MW honorees. Junior midfielder Katie Case
earned First-team Academic All-District honors.
MEN'S SOCCER: Air Force men's soccer went 7-7-4
overall in 2014-15. The Falcons went 3-6-1 in Western Athletic Conference
play, finishing in eighth place out of 10 teams. The Falcons started the season
off strong, going unbeaten in its first seven matches (4-0-3). Junior Gus
Jensen led the team in scoring with nine points (three goals and three
assists). Sophomore Jake Schenk led the team in goal with 82 saves and a
0.93 goals against average. The Falcons had four Academic All-WAC
honorees. Sophomore defender Tucker Axhoj earned First-team Academic
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Air Force women's basketball posted
a 2-29 overall record and 1-17 mark in Mountain West play. Senior guard
Jimi Blagowsky led the team in scoring, averaging 13.2 points per game.
Freshman guard Cortney Porter set a school freshman record with 118 assists,
which is also second all-time in the Division I era.
MEN'S BASKETBALL: Air Force finished the
season 14-17 overall and placed ninth in the Mountain West with a 6-12 record.
The Falcons won their opening game of the Mountain West Tournament in Las
Vegas, beating New Mexico 68-61, before falling to conference co-champion Boise
State in the quarterfinals. Air Force concluded the non-conference schedule
with an 8-5 record. Air Force's 14 overall wins ties as the 12th
most in school history while the six conference wins ties for seventh all-time.
This season marked the third straight year the Falcons have won six or more
conference games which is the longest streak of six or more in school history.
Air Force won four straight conference home games at once point which was the
longest since 2012-13. Along the way, the team beat Wyoming, 69-43, on Feb. 14
to register the biggest conference win since 2007 and largest ever over
WRESTLING: Air Force wrestling went 6-8 overall
in 2014-15. The Falcons went 0-5 in Western Wrestling Conference duals,
placing sixth. Air Force had two NCAA championship qualifiers in junior
Josh Martinez at 125 pounds and senior Jesse Stafford at 165 pounds. Air
Force won the All-Academy Wrestling Championships for the first time in 12
years, out-scoring service academy rivals Army West Point and Navy.
RIFLE: The team finished seventh at the
NCAA National Rifle Championships, had two cadet-athletes claim All-American
honors and finished 16-6 for the season. At the 2014 President's Trophy
Match against sister academies, Navy, Army and the U.S. Coast Guard, the Air
Force rifle team brought home the President's Trophy after winning the match
with 5793 total points. The Falcons took on Navy again during the season,
winning the match by a margin of 35 points (4676-4641). At the Patriot Rifle Conference
Championships, Air Force finished fourth in the conference with 4647 points,
and senior Meredith Carpentier and junior Tyler Rico earned All-Conference
FENCING: The Air Force fencing team had six
fencers who qualified for the 2015 NCAA National Fencing Championships.
As a team, Air Force finished 12th in the country. Junior James Salem
earned All-American honors after finishing fifth in men's epee with a .565
percent in all bouts won (13-10). Two other fencers, junior Mary McElwee, women's
foil, and senior Alexander Chiang, men's foil, had top performances.
McElwee finished 13th with an 11-12 bout record, and Chiang finished 17th with
10 victories. The six qualified for the NCAAs after earning top finishes at the
NCAA West Regional Championships in March. Chiang, McElwee, Salem, junior
Madeleine Girardot (foil), senior Emiliano Kaptain (saber), junior Ryan Redhead
(saber) and sophomore Alyssa Hofilena (saber) all earned all-conference honors.
HOCKEY: The Air Force hockey team closed out
the 2014-15 season with a 16-21-4 overall record. The Falcons tied for sixth in
the Atlantic Hockey Conference with a 13-12-3 mark. Air Force was the No. 7
seed in the AHC Tournament and won a first-round series over AIC. The season
ended in the league quarterfinals with a pair of losses to eventual tournament
champion, and NCAA Elite Eight participant, RIT. The senior class of 2015
defeated Colorado College three times and never lost to Army, going 6-0-2
against the Black Knights. The senior class helped lead the Falcons to 75 wins.
The line of Scott Holm (LW), Chad Demers (C) and Cole Gunner (RW), was the
fourth highest scoring line in the nation, combining for 118 points. Gunner was
named the team MVP and led the team, and ranked among the conference leaders,
with 46 points. Gunner earned second-team all-conference honors for the second
MEN'S GYMNASTICS: The Air Force men's gymnastics
team picked up its sixth USAG Collegiate National team title in 2015, en route
to its fifth consecutive appearance as a team at the NCAA National Qualifier.
Five Falcons - Josh Ramos (floor), Timmy Wang (pommel horse), Denis Aurelius
(still rings), Josh Pyne (vault) and Greg Chaput (parallel bars) - captured
individual national titles at the USAG Championships. Air Force swept the
annual USAG Varsity honors, as Ramos (Gymnast of the Year) and Kip Simons (Head
Coach of the Year) claimed individual awards, while Josh Loeser and Jeff
Robinson shared the Assistant Coach of the Year award. The men defeated both
Army and Navy to win their fourth straight Service Academy Classic title, while
Ramos received the meet's second-annual Iron Cross Award. Three individual
Academy records were set or matched in 2015, as Aaron Nubine (floor exercise),
Arinn Wade (pommel horse) and Ramos (parallel bars) all impacted the Air Force
record book. In addition, the Falcons set team records on the pommel horse and
vault, while recording the second-best team score in Academy history (432.850)
to win the USAG national title.
WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS: The Air Force women's
gymnastics team finished the 2015 campaign with a 3-7 record, as well as a 1-7
slate against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponents. The Falcons, who
finished sixth at the MPSF Championships and fourth at the USAG Qualifier,
posted a season-high tally of 193.450 at a triangular meet in Denver. That
score was one of four marks to impact head coach Doug Day's list of top-25
scores. The Falcons earned a combined seven USAG All-America honors from
Shannen Kelly (beam: second team), Al Stych (floor: second), Jessica Wallander
(vault: first; bars: second; floor: first) and Kara Witgen (floor: first;
all-around: first). Jamie Lewis, Kim McRobbie, Stych and Wallander also
represented Air Force on the all-conference team.
MEN'S SWIMMING: The men's swimming team enjoyed one
of its best seasons in school history, posting a 15-5 dual meet record and
tying the school record with a second-place finish at the Western Athletic
Conference Championships (705.5 points). The team set eight school records and
had 35 swims that cracked the all-time top 10. Stan Curnow was named the WAC
Diving Coach of the Year and senior Nathaniel Zillweger was named the WAC Diver
of the Year. Junior Michael Barnosky was named the team's MVP as he won the WAC
title in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and set two school records.
WOMEN'S SWIMMING: The women's swimming team closed out
the 2014-15 season with a 7-8 dual meet record and placed sixth in the Mountain
West Championships with 281 points. The Falcons set seven school records and
had 26 swims crack the all-time top 10 at the Academy. Sophomore Genevieve
Miller was named the team MVP as she won two conference titles, 500 free and
1650 free, and set new conference records in both events. Her time in the 1650
was also a new MW championship record. She competed in both the 500 free and
1650 free at the NCAA Championships. Miller was named all-conference in three
events and set four school records. Senior Kim Davis won the Mountain West
Senior Award. She has earned seven all-conference honors in her career and was
the team captain in 2014-15.
A young Air Force boxing team, under the direction of interim head
coach Lt Col Matt Glover, concluded the 2014-15 campaign with a third-place
finish at the National Collegiate Boxing Association Championships and a
runner-up finish at the NCBA West Regional Championships. The Falcons, who had
just one senior on the 12-man roster, accounted for one individual national
champion, eight NCBA All-Americans and four regional champions. Roy Taylor
became the 14th boxer in program history to win four straight Wing Open titles
in 2014 and helped the Falcons to a 4-2 record against Army and Navy at the
annual Chuck Davey Classic in Detroit. History was made in 2015, as women
competed in the Wing Open Championships for the first time in program history,
under the direction of MSgt Debra Sheppard.
LACROSSE: After a record-setting 2014 season
that was led by a strong senior class, the Falcons carried a young team into
the 2015 season. Competing as an independent, the Falcons got off to a rough
start losing three straight games, including two to teams ranked in the top
three in the nation. However, this resilient group won eight of the next 10 and
finished the season with an 8-7 record. Of those seven losses, four came to
teams ranked in the top 20. Close games became the Falcons' nemesis, losing
four games by one goal. Freshman Chris Walsch was named the team's MVP as he
led the Falcons with 37 goals and 55 points. He ranked fifth in the nation in
goals by a freshman and set the school record for goals and points by a
freshman in the modern era.
Air Force concluded the season with an 18-9 overall record to mark its sixth
consecutive winning season. The Falcons defeated a pair of nationally-ranked
teams this season, beating No. 66 Kansas State and No. 69 Utah State. The
team's 18 wins are the second-most in the Kim Gidley era, the fifth most in the
history of the program, third most in the Division I era (1996-present) and
most since Air Force was 20-10 in 1998-99 in Gidley's first season as head
coach. Senior Natasha Rizvi and sophomore Tracy Landram were named all-Mountain
West in doubles while Rizvi also earned the honor for singles. Rizvi ended her
career with 170 combined wins to become the winningest Division I player in
school history. Sophomore Chloe Forlini set the all-time school record in wins
in a season, posting a 33-9 record this season. Forlini set the Division I
record when she reached 29 wins and set the all-time mark with her 33rd win.
She passed the record of 31 set in 1994 by All-American Laura Simmons.
MEN'S TENNIS: Air Force finished the season with
a 10-12 overall record. The Falcons finished eighth in the Mountain West with a
0-7 mark. This is the sixth straight season the Falcons have won 10 or more
matches in a season, including a 4-3 win over service-academy rival Army. The
Falcons had regional wins over Northern Colorado, Weber State and Northern
Arizona and set new attendance records at home matches this season. Senior
Grant Taylor and sophomore Lucas Fumagalli earned all-MW honors in doubles
while Taylor also earned the award for singles. Taylor was also awarded the
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and the region most improved
TRACK AND FIELD: (as of 20 May 15) The Air Force
track and field season isn't over for another few weeks, as several Falcons
will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which begins with the opening
round of competition on May 28. The
Falcons earned two All-America honors during the indoor season from pole
vaulters Dylan Bell (second-team) and Joey Uhle (honorable mention), and look
to add to that total in the coming weeks.
date, three Academy records have been set during the outdoor season (women's
5000-meter run, women's 10,000-meter run, high jump), while nine program-best
marks were recorded during the indoor season (women's 300-meter dash, men's
500-meter dash, men's mile run, women's mile run, women's 3000-meter run, women's
5000-meter run, men's pole vault, men's shot put, men's weight throw). A total
of 63 improvements have been made to the program's all-time list so far this
by a program-record eight conference titles at the outdoor meet, the men finished
second in the team standings in 2015, after finishing third at the indoor meet
(the women placed 10th indoors and 11th outdoors). Uhle (pole vault) and Grant
Hamilton (shot put) swept their respective titles at both championship meets,
while Hamilton also captured the discus title at the outdoor meet. Patrick
Corona (5000-meter run), Kyle Eller (10,000-meter run), Jamiel Trimble
(110-meter hurdles), Taylor Smith (high jump) and the 4x100-meter relay of
Robbie Anderson, Zach Johnson, Jake Spuller and Trimble also claimed conference
championships during the outdoor season. Based on top-three finishes at the
conference meet, Air Force accounted for 29 all-conference awards (15 indoor,
GOLF: The Air
Force golf team featured one of its youngest lineups in program history,
maintaining a roster that featured only two Falcons with collegiate playing
experience. Air Force picked up a pair of top-10 finishes in 2014-15, including
a 10th-place finish at the Mountain West Golf Championships. Blake Edwards was
the Falcons' top finisher during three of the squad's five fall tournaments,
while Sunwoo Choi posted the team's best finish of the year after tying for
seventh at the Loyola Golf Invitational.
BASEBALL: Air Force baseball finished the 2015
season with a 23-29 overall record and 11-17 mark in conference play for a
fifth place finish in Mountain West play. The Falcons won 22 Div. I games
during the season, setting a new school record. The Falcons 11 wins is
also the second-most ever in the MW era. Air Force posted a 4.54 team
earned run average, the lowest since 1979. Junior lefthander Trent
Monaghan's 2.75 ERA was the lowest at Air Force since 1982. Sophomore
centerfielder Adam Groesbeck earned team MVP honors, batting .338 with 25 doubles.
TEAM MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS
Surpassing the 1000-assist mark for the third straight season, Hillary Keltner
became the program's all-time Division I assists leader in 2014, with 4,061.
She also finished her career as the program's DI leader in double-doubles (36)
and ranked third on the Academy's DI digs list (917). Her career assist total
is ranked third on the all-time list (any Division), as she is just the third
in program history to surpass the 4000-assist mark. During her senior campaign,
Keltner recorded 1299 assists and 271 digs, as well as 101 kills, 18 service
aces and 45 blocks (three solo, 42 assisted).
MVP: Senior quarterback Kale Pearson returned from a season-ending knee
injury last year to lead the Falcons to a 10-3 overall record. Pearson
completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,590 yards and 14 touchdowns. His 14 TD
passes tie as the most in the option era at Air Force while his 1,590 yards is
the fifth most all-time. Pearson had a 160.68 quarterback efficiency rating for
the season which is the third-best in school history. He also rushed for 687
yards and six touchdowns which was second on the team.
OFFENSIVE MVP: Senior Michael Husar led the offensive line that
helped the Falcons roll up 5,443 total yards this season. Husar was one of 66
players nationwide named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List as the nation's top
center. During the season, Husar moved to guard to help strengthen the line
which allowed the fewest sacks in the Mountain West Conference with just 12.
Husar led the team in knockdown blocks and was a key cog in helping the team
finish among the nation's top five in rushing with an average of 273.1 yards
DEFENSIVE MVP: Senior linebacker Jordan Pierce led the Falcons
and ranked sixth in the conference in total tackles with 117. A second-team
all-conference selection, Pierce was among the league leaguers in tackles for
loss with 19.5 for 71 yards and quarterback sacks with 7.0 for 51 yards. He
also had two pass interceptions and a pass breakup.
SPECIAL TEAMS/LINEMAN MVP: Senior Will Conant had one of the
most successful seasons ever for an Air Force specialist. One of 20
semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker, Conant
finished the year hitting 19 of 21 field goals and 45 of 46 extra points.
Conant was named the Mountain West's special teams player of the year in 2015.
In addition to his place kicking duties, Conant averaged 43.6 yards per punt
with 21 downed inside the 20 and 13 of 50 yards or more.
Petar Jackovich was the water polo team MVP. A center from New Lenox, Ill.,
Jackovich was named second-team all-conference. He was fifth on the team with
27 goals and also had 17 assists and 13 steals. He had a season-high four goals
in the win over Pomona-Pitzer and scored three in win over Fresno Pacific.
Jackovich helped lead the water polo team to a 15-15 overall record and a No.
15 national ranking.
WOMEN'S SOCCER: Senior Defender Kylie Williamson was
named team MVP. The hometown product from Air Academy High School was a
four-year starter for the Falcons. As a senior, Williamson started 13 games,
missing six games due to a hamstring injury.
MEN'S SOCCER: Sophomore goalkeeper Jake Schenk
earned team MVP honors. Schenk posted a 7-5-4 record in goal for the Falcons.
His 0.93 GAA in 1549 minutes is the second-lowest total in school history.
Schenk also had 82 saves.
CROSS COUNTRY: Hannah Everson had another stellar season, en
route to her second straight MVP honor. Finishing seventh at the Mountain West
Cross Country Championships with an Academy Division I-record 6K time of
20:47.90, Everson became just the second runner in women's history to garner
all-conference recognition more than once in a career (and the only to do so
with first-team status). In addition to her team-leading mark at the conference
meet, Everson was the Falcons' top finisher in every race, including a
runner-up finish at the Woody Greeno Invitational and a third-place finish at
the Fresno State Invitational. She also set a new Academy Division I record in
the 5K distance, as she clocked 17:10.00 at the Notre Dame Invitational.
CROSS COUNTRY: Riley Coates had a strong senior season on the
cross country trails, earning all-conference and all-region honors, while
representing the Academy at the NCAA Championships. Coates, who claimed
first-team all-Mountain West status after finishing seventh at the MW
Championships, added a 19th-place finish at the NCAA Regional Meet to earn an
automatic berth into the national meet. Coates paced the Falcons in two
regular-season competitions, including the Notre Dame Invitational and
Pre-Nationals Invitational. The senior, who finished 77th out of 246 runners at
the national meet, recorded the program's fastest five-mile time in the last 20
years (23:55.70) and debuted on the top-five lists for the 6K and 8K distances.
WRESTLING: Senior Jesse Stafford was named
Outstanding Wrestler of the 2014-15 season. Stafford put together a 20-11
overall record and 8-2 mark in dual competition at 165 pounds. The senior
recorded five falls and ranked second on the team in wins. Stafford
earned All-conference honors with his second place finish at the WWC
Championships at 165 pounds. The senior competed at the NCAA
Championships at 165.
RIFLE: Junior Tyler Rico concluded his
junior year as a College Rifle Coaches Association second team All-American,
and NRA first and second team All-American in air rifle and smallbore,
respectively. Last fall, he placed second in the Winter Air Gun Championships,
10m men's junior match and finished sixth in the 10m men's air rifle
match. In the January Rifle Selection Match, he placed 10th and finished
with a two-day total of 2316 points. Rico's averages for the season are a
579.182 in the smallbore and 591.273 in the air rifle. His average
aggregate is 1170.455, which puts him 11th on the NCAA individual score
ranking. He qualified for the 2015 NCAA Rifle Championships, finishing
seventh in the nation.
(Men): James Salem
concluded his junior season earning second-team NCAA All-America honors after
placing fifth in the country in men's epee. At the 2015 NCAA Men's
Fencing Championships, Salem finished fifth with .565 percent of bouts won in
the individual men's epee championships. He had a 13-10 record finishing
with 86 touches scored, 72 touches received and a +10 indicator. He
qualified for the NCAAs after finishing as the silver medalist with a 7-3 bout
record at the NCAA West Regional Championships in March. His career
record is 129-58.
McElwee's junior year was a stellar one, finishing with a 79-8 record.
She was undefeated in the Parker Kickoff, finished 17-1 at both the Brandeis
Invitational and Western Invitational, and had a 36-6 dual record at the Northwestern
Duals II. She was the undefeated champion in the women's foil NCAA West
Regional Championships and earned her first-ever Western Fencing Conference
All-Conference award. She qualified for her third trip to the national
championships, where she finished 13th overall with an 11-12 bout record.
Her career record of 213-86 is one of the highest records of the women's
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Senior guard Jimi Blagowsky was
named team MVP. Blagowsky led the Falcons in scoring, three-point baskets
made and ranked in the conference top 10 in scoring, assists per game, minutes
per game and three-point baskets per game. Her 14.3 scoring average in
conference play was a new school record in the Mountain West era.
Blagowsky earned Honorable Mention All-MW honors.
BASKETBALL: Senior Marek Olesinski earned honorable mention
all-conference honors while finishing second on the team in scoring with a 9.9
average. Olesinski averaged 11.4 points per game in conference games while
shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from three-point
HOCKEY: Senior Cole Gunner was named the
hockey team MVP as he led the team, and ranked among the conference leaders,
with 46 (21-25-46) points. Gunner earned second-team all-conference honors for
the second straight season. The winger from Richfield, Minn., ranked third in
the conference in points, fifth in goals and fourth in assists in all games.
Gunner played in every game in his career, setting a new school record with 156
consecutive games played.
MEN'S GYMNASTICS: Josh Ramos, the 2015 USAG Varsity
Gymnast of the Year, capped a stellar senior season with a USAG national title
on the floor exercise. The senior, who also collected USAG All-America honors
on the parallel bars and high bar, recorded an Academy-record parallel bars
score of 15.600 during the team finals of the USAG Championships. While helping
the Falcons' senior class to their fourth straight USAG team title, their
fourth straight appearance at the NCAA National Qualifier and their fourth
straight title at the Service Academy Classic, Ramos was a CGA National Gymnast
of the Week (March 19) and an MPSF Gymnast of the Week (March 24), while
earning the Iron Cross Award during the annual triangular meet with Army and
Navy. In addition to leading the team on the parallel bars, he was ranked among
the team's top three on the floor exercise and high bar.
GYMNASTICS: Jessica Wallander had a tremendous senior season
in 2015, claiming three USAG All-America awards (vault, uneven bars, floor),
two all-conference accolades (vault, uneven bars) and nine first-place
finishes. She competed on the vault in all 14 meets, including the NCAA
Regional Championships and USAG Event Finals, registering a season-best 9.875
at the Denver Triangular. She also competed on the uneven bars and floor during
13 meets, including a regional appearance on the uneven bars and a USAG Finals
appearance on the floor. Wallander recorded a career-best 9.825 on the floor
twice, while adding a season-high 9.775 on the uneven bars in three meets.
Wallander, who holds the Academy's all-time vault record of 9.925, finished her
USAFA career with one conference title (2013 vault), nine all-MPSF selections
and eight USAG All-America awards.
WOMEN'S SWIMMING: Sophomore Genevieve Miller was
named the women's swimming team MVP as she won two conference titles, 500 free
and 1650 free, and set new conference records in both events. Her time of
16:13.01 in the 1650 was a new Mountain West Championship and overall record.
In the 500 free, her time of 4:42.47 set a new conference and school mark. A
product of Winston-Salem, N.C., she placed 19th at the NCAA
Championships in the 1650 free and 39th in the 500 free, both
finishes were the best of her career. Miller was named all-conference in three
events (200 free, 500 free and 1650 free) and set four school records during
the 2014-15 season.
MEN'S SWIMMING: Junior Michael Barnosky was named
the men's swimming team's MVP as he won two Western Athletic Conference titles
and was named all-conference in three events. A native of Cedaredge, Colo,
Barnosky won the WAC title, and set a new school record, in the 200
breaststroke with a time of 1:56.89. He also won the 100 breaststroke,
and set a new WAC overall, championship and school record with a time of 53.11.
Barnosky was also part of the 400 medley relay team that set a new school
record and placed second in the WAC with a time of 3:11.69.
DIVING: Junior Nathaniel
Zillweger was named the diving team's MVP. The Phoenix, Ariz., native was named
the Western Athletic Conference Diver of the Year as he won the one-meter
springboard title with 323.5 points. He also finished third on the three-meter
(306.6 points) and fifth on the platform (273.25 points). In the NCAA Zone E
Diving Championships, Zillweger also placed 14th in the one-meter,
16th three-meter and 16th on platform.
Roy Taylor became just the 14th boxer in Academy history to win four
straight Wing Open titles, as he claimed the 125-pound title in 2015. The lone
senior on a young Air Force boxing team, Taylor finished second at the National
Collegiate Boxing Association Championships in early April to pick up the
second NCBA All-America honor of his career. He was a three-time NCBA regional
champion, winning two titles at 125 pounds (2013, 2015) and one at 119 pounds
(2012). Taylor, who also received the John Young Memorial (Most Inspirational)
Award, posted a 4-1 record at the regional and national championship meets,
while adding victories at the Chuck Davey Classic (138 pounds) and WAC Main
Event (132 pounds) during the regular season.
GOLF: With a
team-low average of 73.6, Sunwoo Choi had a strong sophomore campaign during
the 2014-15 season. Competing in eight tournaments, Choi was the Falcons' top
finisher in two and tied for the top-spot in a third. He recorded the squad's
lone top-10 finish, after tying for seventh in the 100-competitor Loyola
Invitational. Choi, who also led the Falcons at the Ram Masters Invitational
(17th tie) and Middleburg Bank Invitational (36th tie), recorded a season-low
round of 69 at the Ram Masters and carded rounds of 70 on three occasions (Price's Give'Em 5 Invitational, Loyola
Invitational, MW Championships).
Senior Natasha Rizvi earned the ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship
Award while leading the Falcons to one of the most successful season in school
history (18-9). Rizvi earned her second-straight team MVP honor and ended her
career with a school-record 170 combined wins. She is second all-time in
singles wins with 96 and fourth in all-time doubles wins with 84. She also
broke the school record for combined dual wins with 121. Rizvi earned
all-Mountain West honors in singles and doubles.
MEN'S TENNIS: Senior Grant Taylor earned all-MW
honors in singles and doubles this season, picking up the doubles honor for the
third straight season. Taylor was also awarded the ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership
and Sportsmanship Award and the region most improved player award this season.
Taylor finished his career winning more Mountain West conference matches than
any Falcon since Shannon Buck in 2006.
He was 5-12 in singles and 14-10 in doubles in his Mountain West career.
Taylor was 11-10 at the #1 position in singles and 13-4 at #1 doubles with
Lucas Fumagalli this season, including a 4-2 conference doubles mark.
BASEBALL: Sophomore centerfielder Adam
Groesbeck earned team MVP honors for Air Force baseball. Groesbeck batted
.338 on the season with a conference-leading 25 doubles and 21 stolen
bases. His 25 doubles is the second most in a season at Air Force.
Groesbeck earned second-team All-Mountain West honors. The Turlock,
Calif., native led Air Force with 47 runs, 75 hits and a .527 slugging
LACROSSE: Freshman Chris Walsch was named the
lacrosse team's MVP as he led the Falcons with 37 goals and 55 points. He
ranked fifth in the nation in goals by a freshman and set the school record for
goals and points by a freshman in the Air Force lacrosse modern era (since
joining a Division I conference in 1994). Walsch's 37 goals are the second most
by any player in the modern era while his 55 points are the third most. He
scored a goal in his first eight collegiate games and had at least one point in
14 of the 15 games.
TRACK (Men): (as of 20 May 15)
An Academy record and two conference titles in the pole vault have highlighted
the track and field season - so far - for senior Joey Uhle. During the indoor
season, Uhle cleared an Academy-record 18'2½" - a mark that is also the
second-best clearance in Mountain West history. He claimed his third straight
MW indoor title and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the third time,
where he earned All-America (Honorable Mention) status. He repeated as
conference champion during the outdoor season, pacing the Falcons to a sweep of
the medalist positions in the pole vault. Currently ranked 15th in the West
Region heading into next week's NCAA preliminary round, Uhle has collected
seven event titles this season and tied the program record with five-career MW
Athlete of the Week awards.
TRACK (Women): (as of 20 May 15)
Hannah Everson is in the middle of a remarkable junior season, accounting for
four Academy records. Everson, who also captured MVP honors during the cross
country season, shattered three records that had stood for more than two
decades. The junior broke the Academy's 25-year-old record in the 5000-meter
run and the 24-year-old standard in the 10,000-meter run (34:31.48) during the
regular outdoor season, before resetting her 5K mark to 16:22.69 during a fourth-place
finish at the MW Championships. During the indoor season, she broke a
24-year-old record at the 5000-meter distance (16:32.84, adjusted for altitude)
and a two-year-old mark at 3000 meters (9:37.07a). Heading into the NCAA
Outdoor Championships, Everson is ranked among the regional qualifiers in both
the 5000- and 10,000-meter events.
OUTSTANDING COMPETITOR (Men): (as of 20 May 15) Three conference titles
and an Academy record have highlighted the 2014-15 season - so far - for junior
Grant Hamilton, who claimed his second straight Most Outstanding Competitor
award. Hamilton became the first thrower in Academy history to surpass the
60-foot mark in the indoor shot put, as he broke his own program standard to
win his first Mountain West title (60'4"). His success continued to the outdoor
season, as he claimed the first-ever outdoor MW titles for the men in the shot
put and discus throw. Hamilton, who already holds the program's outdoor shot
put standard at 60'8", recorded a season-best distance of 60'3¾" at the Beach
Invitational, before debuting in third on the Academy's all-time list in the
discus throw (183'1") at the Rock Chalk Classic. Entering the NCAA Outdoor
Championship season, Hamilton is ranked among the West Region's top-30 in both
OUTSTANDING COMPETITOR (Women): Freshman Carina Gillespie made an impact
on the Academy record book during her first collegiate season, setting one
Academy record and debuting on the program's all-time standings in three other
events. Gillespie deleted more than five seconds off of the program's
eight-year-old record in the mile (4:44.17, adjusted for altitude) during a
runner-up performance at the MW Indoor Championships - becoming the program's
first all-conference selection in that event since 2006. She also recorded the
Academy's second-fastest time in the 3000-meter run (9:39.20a) and the
fifth-fastest time at 800 meters (2:12.04a) during the indoor season. Outdoors,
Gillespie clocked the third-fastest 1500-meter time in Academy history
(4:23.65) during her only race at that distance.