Air Force wraps up 2011-12 athletic season

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    Air Force athletics announces major award winners;

    recap of 2011-12 athletic season

     

                    U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force athletics recognized several cadet-athletes as the end of the 2011-12 sports season at the Academy's annual awards ceremony today. Senior hockey player Tim Kirby and senior soccer player Bridgett Murphy were named male and female athlete of the year, respectively. Senior football player A.J. Wallerstein was named the scholar-athlete of the year, while cross country runner Jim Walmsley was awarded the athletic excellence award. Hockey player Paul Weisgarber took home the athletic leadership award and senior football player Tim Jefferson won the outstanding athletic achievement award.     

     

                    A 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 AWARD: A.J. Wallerstein is a two-time all-conference selection on the field and has been equally impressive in the classroom. Wallerstein is a double major in Physics and Mathematics and has twice been named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) academic all-district team. In addition, he was a semifinalist for the 2011 William Campbell Trophy, college football's academy Heisman Trophy and was a nominee for the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. He has a 3.47 grade point average.

     

    ATHLETIC LEADERSHIP AWARD: Senior Paul Weisgarber earned the Athletic Leadership Award. A  senior winger from Fargo, N.D., Weisgarber was a two-year team captain who helped lead the Falcons to three Atlantic Hockey tournament championships and three NCAA appearances in four years. Weisgarber was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, recognizing excellence on the ice, in the class room and in the community. Weisgarber was the first player in school history to win six of the team's postseason awards in his career. On the ice, Weisgarber never missed a game in his four years, setting a new school record with 155 consecutive games played.  He concluded his career with 31 goals, 42 assists and 73 points. With two goals and two assists in the AHA Final Four, he was named to the 2012 AHA all-tournament team. Off the ice, he carried a 3.65 cumulative grade point average and has a 3.95 in his major of management.

     

    ATHLETIC EXCELLENCE: (as of 16 May) Jim Walmsley had a stellar senior year as a member of the Academy's cross country and track/field team, claiming four Mountain West track titles and earning all-conference and all-region honors in cross country. During the fall, Walmsley was a two-time Mountain West Runner of the Week, claiming both honors after winning performances at the Rust Buster Invitational (meet record) and the Woody Greeno Invitational. He earned all-conference honors following a fifth-place finish at the MW Championships and collected all-region honors behind a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Regional Championships. His success continued to the track and field season, where he won the 3000- and 5000-meter titles during the Mountain West Indoor Championships and the 3000-meter steeplechase and 5000-meter run during at the MW Outdoor Championships. He accounted for the fourth-fastest mile time in Academy history during the indoor season and moved into third on the all-time list in the outdoor 5000- and 10,000-meter distances. Walmsley also clocked the program's fifth-fastest steeplechase time in his first-ever race in that event, while claiming the conference title in his second. Walmsley's season continues, as he qualified to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in both the 3000-meter steeplechase and 5000-meter run.

     

    OUTSTANDING ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT: Senior Tim Jefferson became the winningest quarterback in school history this season, posting a career record of 28-16. Jefferson's 28 wins ranked him sixth nationally. He recorded career highs in passing this season, hitting 111-of-183 passes for 1,637 yards and 14 touchdowns. His .60.7 completion percentage is the fourth best in school history and he is the first quarterback in Air Force history with consecutive seasons of 10-plus touchdown passes. He closed his career third all-time in school history in passing yards with 4,599, tied for second in touchdown passes with 34, and second in quarterback efficiency with a mark of 146.12.

     

    FEMALE MOST VALUABLE ATHLETE: Senior Bridgett Murphy earned All-Mountain West Conference for the fourth-consecutive season, earning First-Team honors for the first time as a senior. Murphy led the team with five assists and ranked second with four goals and 13 points.  Murphy also earned All-Region honors in the Pacific Region by the NSCAA.  She is the first all-region player at the Academy since 2001 and just the second in the Mountain West era.  Murphy is also a standout in the classroom, earning Academic All-Region three times and Academic All-Conference four times.  Murphy graduates from the Academy with 40 career-points, ranking eighth all-time at the Academy.  Her career 10 assists are sixth. Murphy has also scored 15 career goals.

    MALE MOST VALUABLE ATHLETE: Air Force senior defenseman Tim Kirby was one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top collegiate hockey player in the nation. He was named to all three major All-America teams, garnering second-team honors by the coaches (AHCA-East) and by USCHO.com. He was a third-team Inside College Hockey All-America selection. Kirby was the Atlantic Hockey Association Player of the Year (unanimous), Defenseman of the Year and a first-team all-league and all-tournament team selection. He tied for third in the nation in goals by a defenseman with 12 and was 19th in the nation in points by a defenseman with 28 (0.72 per game) (12-16-28). The Austin, Minn., native scored in 22 of the 39 games, tied as the most on the team. Kirby played in every game in his career, breaking the Air Force Academy record with 155 consecutive games played. He ranks ninth in school history for points by a defenseman (26-62-88).  His 26 career goals are the fifth most in school history among defensemen. An assistant captain, Kirby helped lead Air Force to the AHA Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

    INDIVIDUAL SPORTS RECAPS

     

    Football: The 2011 season was a record-setting one for Air Force, as the school made a bowl appearance for a fifth straight year for the first time in school history. The Falcons played Toledo in the Military Bowl, falling 42-41 in a thrilling game. Air Force closed the season with a 7-6 overall record and a 3-4 mark in the Mountain West Conference. The Falcons won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for a second straight year and for a record 18th time overall with victories over Army and Navy. The Falcons defeated Navy, 35-34, in overtime in Annapolis on Oct. 1, and beat Army, 24-14, in Falcon Stadium on Nov. 5 to secure the coveted award. The Falcons closed the season with convincing wins over UNLV, 45-17, at home and at Colorado State, 45-21. Air Force entered the two games in playoff mode, needing both wins to become bowl-eligible. The victories also secured a fifth consecutive season with seven or more wins which marks an Academy first.

    Volleyball: The Air Force volleyball team was one of the youngest in the nation in 2012, featuring just one junior on a 13-member roster. The Falcons posted a 3-27 record during head coach Matt McShane's second season, while going 0-14 in Mountain West action. Maiya Perich became the program's Division leader for digs in a season with 400, while Ayesha Hein debuted in fourth on the program's top-10 list behind a .275 hitting percentage. Hein was named to four all-tournament teams, while Perich was named to two, including the Best Libero of the Denver Invitational.

     

    Water Polo: The Air Force water polo team completed the 2010 season with an 11-17 overall record and 5-7 mark in the Western Water Polo Association. The Falcons, who ended the year ranked 20th in the nation, captured fifth place at the WWPA Championship. Meanwhile, a pair of Falcons garnered All-WWPA accolades, with sophomore Josh Stedman earning first-team honors, while junior Cruz Smithson was an honorable mention selection.

    Women's Soccer: Air Force women's soccer completed the 2011 season with a 6-10-3 overall record.  The Falcons went 1-5 in Mountain West Conference play to finish in fifth place.  The Falcons six wins were the second-best season since 2003.  Air Force also won its second conference game in the past eight years.  The Falcons graduated four seniors, three of whom were four-year starters.  Senior forward Bridgett Murphy was the team's MVP for the second-straight season.

     

    Men's Soccer: The Air Force men's soccer team finished the 2011 season with an impressive 12-6-2 record, the first winning season since 2003 and the most wins in one season since winning 13 in 1997. The season started with a bang as AFA won five of its first six games, including two at the 2011 Pitt / Nike Invitational en route to the tournament championship, defeating Pitt (2-1) and Duquesne (3-2). Four Falcons, juniors Kevin Durr and Eric Tise and sophomores Brian Klazura and Caleb Downey were named to the all-tournament team. Individually, Garrett Getschow led the team with nine goals but Durr had six goals and a team-high 10 assists to lead the squad with 22 points. Durr finished eighth in the country in total assists and ninth in assists per game (0.5).

     

    Cross Country: The Air Force cross country team concluded another successful season in 2011, highlighted by a runner-up finish from the men at the Mountain West Championships. Jeremy Drenckhahn placed second at the men's conference championships, tying for the Falcons' best placement ever at the MW meet and becoming Air Force's first non-senior to earn the runner-up spot. Melissa Fuerst became just the fifth Air Force runner to earn all-conference honors in the women's championships, as she finished ninth. Drenckhahn (first team) and Fuerst (second team) were two of five all-MW selections for the Falcons, joining Jim Walmsley (first team), Andrew Quallio (second team) and Isaiah Bragg (second team), while Walmsley earned all-region honors. In addition, Drenckhahn, Fuerst, Walmsley and Gavin Owens also accounted for five MW Runner of the Week awards - setting a new Academy record for the total number of Academy awards in a single-season.

     

    Hockey: The Falcons finished the 2011-12 season with a 21-11-7 overall record and won the Atlantic Hockey Association regular-season and tournament championships. The regular-season title was the first-ever outright championship as AFA also tied for the regular-season title in 2009. The tournament title was the fifth in the last six years as the Falcons earned the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Air Force ended the season with the highest final national ranking in school history, 15th in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll and 16th in the USCHO.com poll. Early in the season, Air Force beat fifth-ranked Colorado College for the team's first win ever at the Colorado Springs World Arena. The win marked the fifth time in the last six years that the Falcons defeated a team ranked in the top five in the nation. The season came to an end with a 2-0 loss to Boston College, the No. 1 overall seed in the nation, in the NCAA Northeast Regional. BC went on to win the national championship and the team's two-goal margin of victory over Air Force marked its closest game in the NCAA Tournament.

    Hockey MVP and AFA Male MVP

     

    Men's Basketball: The Falcons finished with a 13-16 overall record. The season opened with the inaugural All-Military Classic at Clune Arena and the Falcons produced two impressive victories, defeating Army (87-71) and VMI (75-65) to win the tournament. Junior Michael Lyons was named the tournament's MVP and fellow junior Todd Fletcher was named to the all-tournament team. Jeff Reynolds, who was in his fifth season as head coach, was relieved of his duties on Feb. 8 and replaced by associate head coach Dave Pilipovich. His first career victory as a collegiate head coach came at Wyoming when his team rallied from an early 14-point deficit to win 58-53. Air Force also captured its first-ever victory against a top 20 team with a 58-56 victory over 13th-ranked San Diego State at Clune Arena.

     

    Women's Basketball: In 2011-12, the Air Force women's basketball team continued the progress made under head coach Andrea Williams, who entered her second year with the Falcons. While the team struggled with injuries and a depleted lineup to finish the season with a 6-24 overall record, great strides were made, beginning with a season-opening victory that snapped a 43-game road losing streak. In addition, the program continued to increase attendance, winning the "Pack the House Challenge" for the second-straight season. Junior Dymond James earned honorable mention All-Mountain West recognition, while senior Jamela Satterfield set a program record for career games played with 119.

     

    Men's Gymnastics: The Air Force men's gymnastics team had another impressive season, capturing its third consecutive USAG national championship title and its second straight All-Academy Championship title, while advancing to the NCAA National Championships for the second straight year. Ben Zaiser (vault), Josh Ramos (parallel bars) and Mac Ritchie (high bar) won individual USAG titles, while six others earned USAG All-America honors. Seventh-year head coach Kip Simons was honored as the USAG Head Coach of the Year, while Jeff Robinson and Chuck Schweiss shared the league's Assistant Coach of the Year honor. The men finished sixth at the NCAA National Qualifier, while James Okamoto and Greg Chaput advanced to the NCAA semifinals on the pommel horse.

     

    Women's Gymnastics: Despite having a squad where 12 of its 13 members were freshmen or sophomores, the Air Force women's gymnastics team accounted for five of the top 14 scores in Doug Day's six-year tenure, including the second-best score of 193.025. The Falcons defeated eventual conference champion UC Davis (191.625-190.925) on Feb. 18, marking the first time since 2003 that Air Force had taken a meet from the Aggies. Six gymnasts combined for 11 all-MPSF awards, including multiple selections by Linnaea Hance, Katie Hawthorne, Jen Larsen and Jessica Wallander. The Falcons finished third at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships and fourth at the USAG National Championships, while Jessica Hanner, Alexandra Stych and Wallander advanced to the event finals of the national meet.

     

    Rifle: The 2011-12 season included a 4602-4570 win at Nebraska-Lincoln on Oct. 14.  At the All-Service Academies President's Cup, team finished 2-1 in matches.  At The Citadel meet, the Falcons were 4-1, with wins against Mississippi, North Carolina State and The Citadel. On Feb. 16, the team set a season record for aggregate points of 4644 against TCU, just four points off the old score or 4648 set in 2007 under head coach Launi Meili.  The Falcons finished the season 7-10.

     

    Men's and Women's Fencing: The Air Force Academy fencing team started the season off claiming gold medals at the Nick Toth Open in September 2011.  At the Western Invitational, the Falcons were 8-4.  At the 2012 NCAA Western Regionals, Air Force had three men qualify for the national championships. At the 2012 NCAA Men's and Women's Fencing Championships, Air Force finished 15th with 26 points.

     

    Boxing: The Air Force boxing team captured its first National Collegiate Boxing Association team title since 2004 ... and its 19th overall ... behind four individual NCBA champions, one runner-up and six third-place finishers. Drew Pineda collected his second NCBA title at 112 pounds, while Dan Starr (139-lbs.), Casey Habluetzel (165-lbs.) and Olawale Lawal (heavyweight) each claimed their first. With 10 of 12 titles at the NCBA West Regional Championships, the Falcons picked up their 32nd regional title. Glenn Miltenberg was the recipient of the Clune Award, which honors the Outstanding Boxer of the Wing Open championships, while Mike McLain became the 12th Air Force boxer to earn four Wing Open titles.

     

    Wrestling: The 2011-12 Air Force wrestling team had a solid season, finishing the year with an 8-5 overall dual record, including a 3-3 mark in the Western Wrestling Conference. Junior Cole VonOhlen. ranked as high as third nationally, led the way individually with a 37-4 overall record, while surpassing 100 wins for his career. Air Force turned in a fourth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, while VonOhlen and sophomore Josh Kreimier represented the Falcons at the NCAA Championships. VonOhlen and Kreimier each reached the round of 12 in their respective weight classes, marking the highest national finish for an Air Force wrestler since 2003.

     

    Men's Swimming and Diving: Air Force men's swimming & diving went 8-9 in head-to-head competition in 2011-12.  The Falcons finished sixth at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championships, scoring 265 points.  The Falcons had six swims crack all-conference and had five swimmers earn academic all-conference.  Air Force also had six swims crack the Academy Top 10 list.  Senior Cody Deacon also qualified for the USA Olympic Trials in the 100 meter breaststroke.

     

    Women's Swimming and Diving: Air Force women's swimming & diving concluded one of its most successful season's since moving up to Division I, going 13-3.  The Falcons posted their most wins since the 2005 season and its best winning percentage since 1998.  The Falcons earned its first head-to-head win over a Mountain West Conference rival since 2005.  Women's swimming set six school records and had 17 swims crack the school top 10 list.  Freshman Kim Davis became the first Academy female to qualify for the USA Olympic Trials in the 200 meter breaststroke.  The Falcons finished in eighth place at the MWC Championships.

     

    Baseball: Air Force baseball concluded the 2012 season with a 14-39 overall record and 5-19 mark in Mountain West Conference play, finishing in fifth place.  The Falcons set a new school record with 46 sacrifice bunts and their .959 fielding percentage was the second-best all-time.  The pitching staff had a 6.10 earned run average that was the second-lowest mark in the last 12 years.  Air Force also defeated New Mexico for the first time since 2006 and defeated a Big 12 Conference school in Kansas for the first time since 2001.

     

    Lacrosse: The Air Force lacrosse team had a solid season in 2012, using a youthful lineup to put together a 6-7 overall record on the season. With eight underclassmen in the starting lineup, the Falcons featured a prolific offense that averaged 17.77 points per game, ranking in the top 15 nationally. Among the key victories for the Falcons was a 9-8 overtime victory over service-academy rival Army, just the second in the all-time series between the two teams. Senior captain Dayton Gilbreath was named a first-team All-ECAC selection on defense, while Keith Dreyer, Bryan Price and Davis Gunter were named to the ECAC All-Rookie team. Dreyer, who led all freshmen nationally in points and assists per game, scored a team-leading 47 points, the highest single-season total for an Air Force player since 1998, while sophomore Mike Crampton registered 29 goals, also the highest single-season mark since 1998.

     

    Golf: The Air Force golf team captured its 15th consecutive Service Academy Classic title this season at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. The Falcons defeated second-place Navy by 12 strokes. Sophomore Kyle Westmoreland won medalist honors, defeating teammate Robert Belz by five strokes in becoming the 12th Falcon to win the tournament. It also marked the first win of his career. Air Force wrapped up the season by placing in the top 10 in three of its final four tournaments, including a sixth-place finish at the PING Cougar Classic in Provo, Utah and a seventh-place finish at the Mountain West Championships.

     

    Men's Tennis: The Air Force men's tennis team posted an 11-13 record this season, the most wins in one season since 2007. Head coach Dan Oosterhous has led the Falcons to at least 10 wins in each of his three seasons at the helm. Individually, Lance Wilhelm won his third consecutive MVP award after leading the team with 22 overall singles wins, including a 15-8 record at the No. 1 position. He earned all-Mountain West honors for singles and doubles. Freshman Grant Taylor was also named all-conference for doubles only, becoming the first Falcon freshman since Shannon Buck in 2003 to make the all-league team. Sophomore Alex Grubbs captured the team's Lightning Bolt Award for the most combined singles and doubles dual match wins with 29.

     

    Women's Tennis: The Air Force women's tennis team posted an impressive 17-8 record in 2011-12, the most wins in one season since 1999. In addition, the Falcons secured a 3-4 record against Mountain West opponents, the most conference wins in one season since the program moved to Division I in 1996. Three Falcons earned all-conference honors, another Division I milestone for the program. Christine Molina, who led the team with 24 overall singles wins, earned an all-MW selection for singles, while Tahlia Smoke and Melissa Cecil, who became the first Air Force doubles team to advance to the semifinals of the ITA Mountain Region tournament, were selected for doubles. Four players notched at least 20 singles and doubles wins this season. Hannah Dake and Natasha Rizvi posted a 6-1 record against Mountain West opponents at No. 2 doubles and Smoke and Cecil were 13-9 at the No. 1 position.

     

    Men's and Women's Track and Field, Indoor and Outdoor: (as of 16 May) Although the season won't be complete for nearly a month, 2012 has already been a banner year for the Air Force track and field team. The men claimed the first Mountain West title in program history at the MW Indoor Championships in February and completed the season sweep with a dominating victory at the MW Outdoor Championships in May. The women also produced two of the best conference performances in Academy history, scoring program-best point total during both the indoor and outdoor meets, while collecting the most conference titles in program history.

    At the indoor conference championships, the men claimed six titles, including a sweep of the two longest races by Jim Walmsley (3000-meter, 5000-meter), en route to the program's first-ever title. Kobi Rex (high jump) and Cale Simmons (pole vault) also earned individual conference titles, while the 4x400-meter relay team (Manny Smith, Anthony Delgado, Jake Spuller, Bryce Bergman) and the distance medley relay (Lance Wolfsmith, Bergman, Matt Caldwell, Alex Zubey) led Air Force to a sweep of the relay titles. The women claimed their first conference title from a track event, as the distance medley relay team of Auriele Fain, Rachel Thomas, Morgan Mosby and Melissa Fuerst won that event in an Academy-record time. In all, a then-Academy record total of 16 Falcons received all-conference citations based on top-three finishes at the conference meet.

    The men earned their first outdoor title after bettering the field by over 30 points at the MW Outdoor Championships. The Falcons accounted for another pair of titles from Walmsley (3000-meter steeplechase, 5000-meter run), as well as Rob Drye's second straight title in the hammer throw. Simmons won the pole vault with a new MW Championship-meet clearance, while Alex Lindsay (800-meter run), Zach Wood (high jump) and the 4x400-meter team of Bergman, Smith, Delgado and Spuller also earned their first conference titles. The women matched their best-ever finish at the conference meet, as they finished sixth with a program-best 79 points. Paige Blackburn won the javelin throw title, while Mosby became the Academy's first individual champion from a running event, as she paced the Falcons to a one-two finish in the 1500-meter run (Fuerst placed second). Air Force shattered its all-conference total following the outdoor season, as 23 Falcons received top-three placements.

    The men also earned All-America status during the indoor season from Simmons, who placed fifth in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and was named the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Men's Field Athlete of the Year. Ralph Lindeman was honored as the Mountain West Head Coach of the Year during both the indoor and outdoor season, while also being named the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Indoor Head Coach of the Year. A program-record 19 Falcons have qualified to the NCAA Outdoor Championships (West Preliminary), which will be held May 24-26 in Austin, Texas.

     

     MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARDS

     

    Men's Cross Country: All-conference and all-region honoree Jim Walmsley had a stellar senior year. A two-time Mountain West Runner of the Week, Walmsley earned a pair of first-place finishes. With a meet record 6K time of 18:30.72, Walmsley won the season-opening Rust Buster Invitational, finishing 15 ahead of the rest of the 134-runner field. The team captain also took first in the 305-runner Woody Greeno Invitational, successfully defending his title with the sixth-fastest 8K time ever at Nebraska's Pioneer Park (24:15.3). He became the first Air Force runner to earn the conference's athlete of the week award in back-to-back weeks since 2008, while becoming only the fifth Falcon to claim multiple awards in a career. The team captain earned all-conference honors following a fifth-place finish at the MW Championships, while claiming an all-region award by taking 21st at the NCAA Regional Championships.

     

    Women's Cross Country: Melissa Fuerst became just the second female runner in Air Force history to finish within the top-10 at the Mountain West Championships (ninth) and just the fifth to earn all-conference accolades during an impressive junior season. She paced the Falcons during five of six races, including the conference (ninth) and regional championships (32nd). Fuerst earned MW Runner of the Week honors after placing second among 283 runners at the Woody Greeno Invitational. Improving her personal time at the 6K distance by nearly one minute (21:25.7) at that event, Fuerst clocked the seventh-fastest time since 2002 at Nebraska's Pioneer Park. In addition, she became the first Air Force female since 2008 - and just the fifth since 1999 - to claim the league's weekly honor.

     

    Football Overall MVP: Senior safety Jon Davis was named first-team all-conference while ranking among the league leaders in several categories. Davis tied for second in the MW in interceptions with a team-best four and was 10th in tackles with 94, a 7.2 per-game average. He was fourth in the conference among defensive backs in tackles. Davis earned Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts against Army in the team's 24-14 victory. He recorded a career-high 12 tackles, force and recovered a fumble and had an interception. Davis finished the season with 10 or more tackles in a game five times. 

     

    Football Most Valuable Offensive Player: Senior Tim Jefferson became the winningest quarterback in school history this season, posting a career record of 28-16. Jefferson's 28 wins ranked him sixth nationally. He recorded career highs in passing this season, hitting 111-of-183 passes for 1,637 yards and 14 touchdowns. His .60.7 completion percentage is the fourth best in school history and he is the first quarterback in Air Force history with consecutive seasons of 10-plus touchdown passes. He closed his career third all-time in school history in passing yards with 4,599, tied for second in touchdown passes with 34, and second in quarterback efficiency with a mark of 146.12.

     

    Football Most Valuable Defensive Player: Senior linebacker Brady Amack ranked among the national leaders in tackles this season with a career-high 136 stops, which is the most at Air Force since 1998. Amack was a second-team all-conference selection after finishing second in the conference and 15th nationally in tackles with a 10.5 average and fifth in fumbles forced with four. Amack recorded a career-best 23 tackles, a quarterback sack and two tackles for loss in the victory over Navy. His 23 tackles set a new Mountain West single-game record and ranked as the sixth most in school history and were the second-most by an FBS player in 2011. Amack earned several national player of the week honors for his effort against the Midshipmen. He was also named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list as the best defensive player in college football. 

     

    Football Most Valuable Lineman/Special Teams Player: Senior offensive lineman A.J. Wallerstein was named first-team all-conference for the second straight season while leading one of Air Force's best offenses. Wallerstein led the offensive line that helped the Falcons to a 13th straight Mountain West Conference rushing title with a 314.8 per-game rushing average. The team ranked third in the nation in rushing and the offensive was second in the conference (Boise State) and fifth nationally in quarterback sacks allowed with just 10 all season. Air Force's season per-game averages of 34.9 points, 140.1 passing yards and 454.8 total yards are all the best in the Troy Calhoun era (2007-present).

    Men's Soccer: Junior Kevin Durr, a midfielder from Garmisch, Germany, led the team in scoring this season with 22 points. He scored six goals and dished out a team-high 10 assists. His 10 assists ranked second in the MPSF and seventh nationally and were the most by a Falcon in one season since Marcus Sagastume had 13 in 2003. Durr was a first-team all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation pick and became AFA's first All-Far West region selection since 2005.

     

    Women's Soccer: Senior Bridgett Murphy is Air Force women's soccer team MVP for the second straight season.  Murphy earned All-Mountain West Conference for the fourth-consecutive season, earning First-Team honors for the first time. Murphy led the team with five assists and ranked second with four goals and 13 points.  Murphy racked up several accolades this season, earning all-regional and academic all-district honors.

     

    Water Polo: Senior Danny Harold was named the Air Force water polo MVP for the 2011 season. Harold, who was named a second-team All-Western Water Polo Association Tournament selection, finished the season with 205 saves as the Falcons' starting goalkeeper. Also the recipient of the program's Derek Argel Memorial Award, Harold was a four-time ACPWC All-Academic selection, as well as a three-time member of the WWPA All-Academic team.

     

    Volleyball: Maiya Perich, the eldest member of one of the nation's youngest teams, had a strong junior, setting two of the program's Division I single-season records. Perich became the program's Division I leader in single-season digs on Nov. 10, as she broke Tracy Wilkerson's 1999 standard of 355. Perich concluded the season with 400 digs to shatter the previous mark by 45. She also became the first Division I player to tally at least 4.0 digs-per-set, as she tallied a program-best 4.17 average in digs, and set a Division I record for digs in a single match with 36 stops against Denver on Sept. 1. Over the first three years of her career, the team captain has accounted for 848 digs, which is third on the Division I list for career digs.

     

    Men's Basketball: Junior Michael Lyons earned the Bob Beckel Most Valuable Player award for the 2012-12 campaign. Lyons, who missed six games during the middle of the season with a high ankle sprain, led the team and finished third in the Mountain West in scoring, averaging 15.5 points per game. He was named the most valuable player of the season-opening All-Military Classic and became the first Falcon since 1998 to score at least 20 points in three consecutive games. Lyons, who was named second-team all-Mountain West this season, finished the campaign with 997 career points, placing him 23rd on the school's all-time scoring list.

     

     Women's Basketball: Junior Dymond James was named the Air Force women's basketball MVP for the 2011-12 season. James was named an honorable mention All-Mountain West selection, becoming just the ninth player in program history to garner All-Mountain West accolades. She finished the season with 12.4 points per game, including a team-best 13.1 points per contest in conference play, while averaging a team-leading 6.3 rebounds per contest. In addition, James registered a team-high four double-doubles on the season and posted the Falcons' best free throw percentage (.791).

     

    Men's Fencing: Senior Phillip Choy (men's foil) qualified to the NCAA Men's and Women's Fencing Championships.  Choy was the individual men's foil runner up with a 6-2 bout record. At the NCAA Fencing Championships, Choy finished 23rd and helped the Falcons' to a 15th-place team finish. On Jan. 7, 2012, Choy finished 14-4 at the Western Invitational and added to the foil team's five victories against some of the nation's top college fencers. The team captain, Choy majored in systems engineering management.

     

    Women's Fencing: Senior Christina Jung served as the 2012 women's fencing team captain. Throughout here Academy career, Jung helped to mentor the women fencers on and off the strip. At the 2012 Duke Meet in February, Jung helped to lead the women's foil team to an 8-1 victory versus the foils from North Carolina, giving the Academy's foil squad their only outright victory of the day.  At the Western Regionals, Jung finished seventh and earned all-region honors.  Jung majored in management.

     

    Men's Gymnastics: Corbin Palmer had a strong freshman campaign, as one of only two Falcons to earn multiple USAG All-America certificates (floor exercise, parallel bars) in 2012. Palmer recorded the squad's second-highest scores on the floor exercise (14.500) and high bar (14.400), while tallying the third-best marks on the vault (14.400) and parallel bars (14.350). In just his first season, he recorded the fourth-best vault in Academy history and the seventh-highest mark on the high bar.

     

    Women's Gymnastics: Linnaea Hance had a strong sophomore campaign, representing the Falcons at the NCAA Regional Championships and posting the program's best finish (14th) since 2005. In addition to posting the team's top marks on the uneven bars (9.850) and all-around (38.775), Hance also recorded the second-best scores on the vault (9.650), balance beam (9.825) and floor exercise (9.775). Hance, who was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week on March 6, claimed a team-best three all-conference accolades (vault, uneven bars, balance beam). She also collected a team-leading six first-place finishes, including multiple victories at UC Davis and Alaska-Anchorage.

     

    Hockey: Air Force senior defenseman Tim Kirby was one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top collegiate hockey player in the nation. He was named to all three major All-America teams, garnering second-team honors by the coaches (AHCA-East) and by USCHO.com. He was a third-team Inside College Hockey All-America selection. Kirby was the Atlantic Hockey Association Player of the Year (unanimous), Defenseman of the Year and a first-team all-league and all-tournament team selection. He tied for third in the nation in goals by a defenseman with 12 and was 19th in the nation in points by a defenseman with 28 (0.72 per game) (12-16-28). The Austin, Minn., native scored in 22 of the 39 games, tied as the most on the team. Kirby played in every game in his career, breaking the Air Force Academy record with 155 consecutive games played. He ranks ninth in school history for points by a defenseman (26-62-88).  His 26 career goals are the fifth most in school history among defensemen. An assistant captain, Kirby helped lead Air Force to the AHA Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

     

    Rifle: Senior Patrick Everson concluded his Academy career breaking several of his own individual records.  In December at the 2012 Olympic Air Gun Trials (Part 1); Everson advanced to the final round with a 590 and fired a 101.3 to advance to the final round. He was the only collegiate shooter at the tryouts to advance to the final round on Day 1. On day 2 of the trials, he shot a 578 and finished in 12th place overall with a career record 1269.9 aggregate score.  In collegiate matches, he posted an 1162 (versus The Citadel women and Mississippi in January. The Falcons won that meet 4628-4258 and 4627, respectively. A month later he broke that record with 1168 points against TCU.

     

    Boxing: At 175 pounds, Mike McLain became just the 12th Air Force boxer to capture four consecutive Wing Open titles. The senior team captain earned NCBA All-America honors for the fourth straight year, after finishing second at the NCBA Championships. He also claimed the NCBA West Regional title at 175 pounds for the third straight year.

     

    Men's Swimming: Senior Corydon Butler is Air Force men's swimming & diving team MVP.  Butler capped off a stellar four-year career by earning All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in a team-leading three events.  Butler was AFA's lone first-team all-conference recipient, earning the honor in the 500 yard freestyle, where he was the MPSF runner-up.  Butler also earned second-team All-MPSF in the 200 free and the 1650 free.  Butler leaves the Academy with top 10 school rankings in four events.

     

    Women's Swimming: Freshman Kim Davis is Air Force women's swimming & diving team MVP.  Davis had a standout freshman year that saw her break three school records and qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. The Brentwood, Tenn., native set school records in the 200 yard individual medley (2:02.45), 400 IM (4:22.79) and 200 Breaststroke (2:16.78). In addition, Davis became Air Force's first female swimmer to qualify for the Olympic Swimming trials, doing so in the 200 meter breast.  Davis will compete in the 2012 USA Olympic Trials this June.

     

    Wrestling: Junior Cole VonOhlen was chosen as the 2011-12 Air Force wrestling team MVP. The Falcons' Most Outstanding Wrestler for the second-straight season, VonOhlen closed out the regular season with a 35-2 record, earning his third-consecutive NCAA bid. VonOhlen, who was ranked as high as third nationally in his weight class, claimed his second-straight West Regional title before turning in his best-ever showing at the NCAA Championships, reaching the round of 12 and finishing just one win short of All-America status. VonOhlen, one of the Falcons' team captains this season, also reached the 100-career win plateau in 2012, becoming the first Air Force junior to do so since 2002.

     

    Baseball: Senior right-hand pitcher Evan Abrecht was named Air Force baseball team MVP.  Abrecht led the Falcons with a 4-5 overall record and his 4.81 earned run average was the second-lowest at the Academy in the last 10 years.  The Farmington, Ark., native also led the Falcons with 95.1 innings pitched and was second with 65 strikeouts.  The senior pitched into the sixth inning in all 13 of his starts this year.  Abrecht cracked numerous Academy Top 10 marks in Mountain West play, ranking second in innings pitched with 63, fourth in strikeouts with 43 and third with ERA with 5.43.  

     

    Lacrosse: Senior Dayton Gilbreath was named the Air Force lacrosse MVP for the 2012 season. The team captain, a two-time defensive MVP for the Falcons, was a first-team All-ECAC selection on defense this season, making him just the third player in program history to be named a four-time all-conference honoree. A four-year starter, Gilbreath has been responsible for shutting down the opponents' top scorer throughout his career. This season, he recorded a career-best 32 ground balls, while also registering eight caused turnovers.

     

    Golf: Sophomore Kyle Westmoreland posted the first win of his career when he captured the individual title at the 2011 Service Academy Classic. He won the tournament by five strokes. Westmoreland led the team with a 73.7 average per round and shot a career-best 67 twice this season. In addition to his victory at the SAC, he posted three other top 10 finishes, including tying for seventh at the William Tucker Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., and the Rice Intercollegiate in Houston, Texas.

     

    Men's Tennis: Junior Lance Wilhelm earned his third consecutive Most Valuable Player award this season. Wilhelm, one of only seven players to win the MVP award at least three straight seasons, led the Falcons with 22 overall singles wins, including a 15-8 record at the No. 1 spot. In the fall, he won the "A" singles flight at the UNM Balloon Fiesta Classic. Wilhelm went 5-5 against regionally-ranked opponents and became the first Falcon since 2007 to earn all-conference honors in singles. He also was named all-conference in doubles after posting a 17-16 overall record and 13-10 mark at the No. 1 position with Grant Taylor.

     

    Women's Tennis: Senior Tahlia Smoke earned her first all-Mountain West selection this season, earning it for doubles with Melissa Cecil. The duo went 23-13 overall and 13-9 at the No. 1 spot. They also became the first Air Force doubles team to advance to the semifinals of the ITA Mountain Region tournament. In singles, Smoke posted a 21-14 overall record and was 15-7 in dual matches, including a 9-4 mark at the No. 4 spot. She finished her career No. 5 on the school's Division I record list for overall singles wins (73), ninth on the overall doubles list with 59 and seventh on the combined list with 132.

     

    Men's Track and Field: (as of 16 May) Jim Walmsley collected four conference titles for the Falcons during his senior season. The MVP of the cross country team, Walmsley swept the titles of the two longest races at the Mountain West Indoor Championships (3000-meter run, 5000-meter run), while taking first in the 3000-meter steeplechase and 5000-meter run at the MW Outdoor Championships. During the indoor season, he accounted for the fourth-fastest mile time in Academy history, while moving into third on the program's all-time list in the 5000-meter and 10,000-meter races during the outdoor season. Walmsley clocked the Academy's fifth-fastest time in the 3000-meter steeplechase during his first-ever race in that event and claimed the conference title in his second race. The senior qualified to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in both the 3000-meter steeplechase and 5000-meter run.

     

     Women's Indoor Track and Field: (as of 16 May) Paige Blackburn is in the midst of a stellar senior season, that saw her set an Academy record in the hammer throw, win the Mountain West javelin title and score for Air Force in all six throwing events (indoor and outdoor). She placed fourth in the shot put and fifth in the hammer throw at the indoor conference championship meet, while finishing first in the javelin, second in the discus, seventh in the shot put and eighth in the hammer throw at the outdoor championship meet. In addition to setting the Academy's hammer throw record, Blackburn moved into second on the program's all-time list in the indoor and outdoor shot put, discus throw, hammer throw and javelin throw. A two-time MW Athlete of the Week, Blackburn qualified to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in both the discus throw and javelin throw.

     

    Men's Track and Field Outstanding Competitor: (as of 16 May) Cale Simmons set Academy records in both the indoor and outdoor pole vault, while sweeping the Mountain West titles in that event and earning All-America status at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Selected as the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Male Field Athlete of the Year, Simmons cleared an Academy-record 18'1¼" during the indoor season to take over the NCAA lead among 2012 pole vaulters. He won the pole vault during four of seven indoor competitions, including the Mountain West Championships, while finishing fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships to earn All-America first-team honors. During the spring, Simmons won the outdoor MW title with an Academy and MW Championship Meet record clearance of 18'1¾". Simmons, who claimed two additional first-place finishes in the pole vault during the outdoor season, qualified to the NCAA Outdoor Championships as the third-ranked vaulter in the nation.

     

    Women's Track and Field Outstanding Competitor: (as of 16 May) Kimber Shealy set the Academy record in the outdoor pole vault during a winning clearance of 13'1¾" at the Front Range Classic. In addition to setting a new FRC Meet record, Shealy became the first athlete since 2002 to impact a Stadium Record at the Cadet Outdoor Track and Field Complex. Shealy claimed five first-place finishes on the year (three indoor, two outdoor), while scoring for the Falcons in both the indoor and outdoor conference championships. She claimed all-conference honors at the Mountain West Indoor Championships after finishing third and was selected as the Mountain West Athlete of the Week after her record-breaking performance at the Front Range Classic during the outdoor season. Backed by her Academy clearance during the outdoor season, Shealy qualified to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

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