News and notes from Air Force athletics follow.....
The Air Force men's and women's track and field teams head to the conference championships this weekend in Albuquerque, N.M. Tickets for the event are $5.00 each day. The men's team features Justin Tyner, who is the top-ranked runner in the 3,000-meters with a team of 7:53.91. Robert Drye is ranked third in the weight throw (62'3") and fifth in the shot put (55'2.75"). Cale Simmons is third in the pole vault (17'2.75"). On the women's side, Paige Blackburn is ranked fourth in the conference in the shot put with 48'5.5," while Lesly Torres holds the same placement in the pentathlon with a 3.075.
The hockey team concludes the regular season this weekend by hosting Robert Morris. Falcon fans may remember Derek Schooley, who spent five seasons at the Academy on Frank Serratore's staff (1998-2003). He also played junior hockey for Serratore with the Omaha Lancers. Schooley now leads Robert Morris, leaving the Academy in 2003 to start up the RMU program. The series is huge. The Falcons have already clinched at least home ice in the first round of the playoffs on March 5. Air Force could still earn a bye in the first round by getting three of four points this weekend.
The lacrosse team hosts its home opener on Friday in Falcon Stadium, the new home of Air Force lacrosse. Air Force is scheduled to play all of its home games at Falcon Stadium. The team played two games there last year, including the first-ever victory over service academy rival Army. The Falcons are young, featuring 27 newcomers, including 25 freshmen, on the 49-man roster.
Air Force senior gymnast Nash Mills was named the College Gymnastics Association National Gymnast of the Week (Collegiate Division). The award, which is decided by a vote of the country's coaches, is the first of the season for Mills and the third of his career.
The men's and women's swimming and diving teams are competing at the MWC championships in Oklahoma. Air Force broke the school record in the women's 800 yard freestyle relay, highlighting day one action at the 2011 Mountain West Conference Swimming & Diving Championships at the OCCC Aquatic Center. The Falcon men's team sits in sixth place with 64 points and the women's team is in ninth with 42 points.
The BYU men and San Diego State women's swimming and diving teams lead the rankings with 121 and 99 points, respectively.