Air Force Academy honors top performers for 2007-08
May 27, 2008
The Air Force Academy athletic department concluded a very successful 2007-08 season recently and several cadet-athletes were recognized by the Academy at the individual awards ceremony. Senior football player Chad Hall and fellow senior women's basketball player Alecia Steele took home the top awards as most valuable male and female athlete, respectively. Senior cross country athlete Kenny Grosselin took home the scholar-athlete award while senior ice hockey player Frank Schiavone was awarded the athletic leadership award. Rounded out the athletic department's top six award winners was senior men's basketball player Tim Anderson taking home the athletic excellence award and senior fencer Peter French winning the outstanding athletic achievement award.
A complete round up of the top six award winners, highlights from each sport and that sport's most valuable player award follows below.
INDIVIDUAL ATHLETIC AWARD WINNERS
1. Most Valuable Male Athlete: Chad Hall, Football: Senior Chad Hall led the Air Force football teams' resurgence this season with one of the most memorable efforts in school history. Hall led the Falcons to a 9-4 overall mark and second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference with a 6-2 mark. He led the conference and ranked 19th nationally in rushing with 1,478 yards, the second most in school history. He also led the conference and ranked third nationally in all-purpose yards with an average of 206.4 per game. Hall rewrote the Academy record book in 2007. He set a new school-record for rushing yards with a 256-yard outburst against Colorado State. He later broke his own record with a 275-yard game vs. Army. In addition, he set a new school record for all-purpose yards vs. the Black Knights with 333. Hall now owns four of the top six all-purpose games in Air Force history. A third-team All-American by Rivals.com, Hall was named the MWC's offensive player of the year as well as the Colorado offensive player of the year by the Colorado chapter of the College Football Hall of Fame.
2. Most Valuable Female Athlete: Alecia C. Steele: Team co-captain Alecia Steele earned her fourth All-Mountain West Conference selection (third third-team selection). She led team in scoring average (12.0) and rebounding (7.1) for fourth-consecutive season, the first player ever to do so at Air Force. Steele completes her career at Air Force as the programs' leading scorer in Division I play with 1,237 points (sixth all-time) and is second all-time in rebounding with 765 boards. Steele recorded six double-doubles on the season and finished with 21 for her career. She is a four-time team MVP recipient.
3. Scholar-Athlete: Senior Kenny Grosselin, Men's Cross Country: Senior Kenny Grosselin became just the seventh cross country athlete to earn the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Grosselin, a captain for the cross country team during the fall season, was three-time academic all-conference selection and MWC Scholar-Athlete. He holds a 3.95 grade-point-average in mathematics and was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team as a junior for track and field/cross country. He has competed in the conference and regional championship meets during each of his last two years.
4. Athletic Leadership: Frank Schiavone, Ice Hockey: Senior defenseman Frank Schiavone was a true leader on and off the ice. He was selected as a team captain by his teammates and helped lead the Falcons to their second consecutive conference championship and NCAA Tournament. He was named to the Lowe's Senior CLASS All-America Team for excellence in the classroom, character, community and competition. A strong defensive player, Schiavone played in 120 career games and had 23 points. He had a career-best five goals this season. A management major, Schiavone is a two-time academic all-conference selection. He carries a 3.6 cumulative grade point average and a 3.8 GPA in his major. He was the cadet in charge of the obstacle course during Basic Cadet Training this past summer. In the fall of 2007, he was the honor officer and chief of inspections in his squadron and has been on the dean's list every semester. Schiavone has been active in the community, assisting with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation each of the last four years. He has helped with the annual Walk for the Cure which has raised more than $500,000 in the last four years. The native of Oceanside, N.Y., has also led a group of players in aiding the JDRF with the annual gala. He has also spoke to schools in the Colorado Springs area about the importance of school and teamwork and the skills of hockey.
5. Athletic Excellence: Tim Anderson, Men's Basketball: Senior Tim Anderson, a senior guard from El Paso, Texas, led the team in scoring, averaging 14 points per game, in 2007-08. He was named the MWC Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team all-conference pick this season. Anderson tied the school record and set a new MWC Tournament record with seven steals against San Diego State. He played in 124 games in his career, just one shy of tying the school record. He missed just two games in his career and started all 65 the last two seasons. His name is sprinkled around the Air Force record book, including No. 2 on the school's career list with 175 steals and No. 5 in free throw shooting at 82.9 percent.
6. Outstanding Athletic Achievement: Peter French, Men's Fencing: Air Force fencer Peter French, a sophomore from Austin, Texas, has been one of the Academy's top fencers for the past two seasons. French earned NCAA All-America honors in men's epee after placing sixth at the 2008 championships. He earned all-region honors at the 2007 and 2008 Western Regional championships. He won the 2008 Regionals with an impressive 11-2 bout record. He also won the 2008 Junior Olympics. He is ranked No. 2 in the junior men's epee point standings. French has brought international recognition to the Academy's fencing program. He finished third in the Junior Men's Epee World Cup in Basel, Switzerland and finished ninth in Junior Men's Epee World Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia. He also traveled to Acireale, Italy to compete in the 2008 Junior World Championships, where he finished 51st. He currently owns a 61-12 dual-meet record at Air Force. He finished the 2007-08 season with a 34-9 record; he was named the team's most valuable fencer.
The Air Force football team had the nation's largest turnaround by a first-year coach in 2007. Troy Calhoun took over a program that was 4-8 in 2006 and led the Falcons to a 9-4 record in 2007 and to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. For his efforts, he was named the Mountain West Conference and American Football Coaches Association Region 5 Coach of the Year. The Falcons opened the season by winning its first three games, including a goal-stand to preserve the 20-12 win at Utah and a 20-17 overtime win over preseason favorite TCU. The Falcons ended the season by winning six of the last seven regular-season games. After a loss at New Mexico, Air Force defeated Army, 30-10, at home before dominating Notre Dame in a 41-24 win at South Bend. The victory was the largest margin of victory by a service academy team over the Irish in 44 years. A 55-23 win over San Diego in the final home game of the season clinched a perfect 6-0 home record. The win also catapulted the Falcons into the postseason for the first time since 2002. A 42-36 loss to California could not tarnish what this team had accomplished. The nine wins were the most since 2000 and the 6-2 conference record was the best ever in MWC competition. The undefeated home season was just the third in school history. Senior tailback/wide receiver Chad Hall proved to be one of the most explosive players in the nation. He was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Year and earned third-team All-American honors. Hall was joined on the all-MWC first team by center Blaine Guenther, linebacker John Rabold and cornerback Carson Bird. Guard Nick Charles and linebacker Drew Fowler were named to the second team while quarterback Shaun Carney, tight end Travis Dekker, defensive end Ryan Kemp and strong safety Chris Thomas were honorable mention. Cross Country, in 2007, John Hayes was hired as the Falcons' head cross country coach, the ninth head coach in Air Force history. In men's cross country, the men won their first two meets, taking the team titles at the Wyoming and Aztec Invitations. Junior Sean Houseworth was the Falcons' top finisher in both competitions. He finished second in Wyoming and seventh (out of 110 runners) in San Diego. The men's team finished third in the MWC championships (just one point out of second place), while the women's team finished sixth. Junior Matt Williams and senior Ian McFarland earned all-conference first-team selections following respective fourth and sixth-place finishes. Senior Josh Van Wyngaarden (10th) and junior Joe Curran (12th) claimed all-conference second-team honors for the highest total of all-conference runners since 2004. Williams and McFarland also earned all-region honors. Williams finished 19th and McFarland followed in 20th place. The two all-region distinctions are the most for the Falcons since 2005. Williams earned an automatic bid to the NCAA championships, where he finished 136th. 2007 was the first time since 2004 that the Academy had been represented at the national meet.
In men's soccer, the team finished with a 5-12-1 overall record, 3-7 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Senior Brian Guyette was named first-team all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and senior Andy Nigro was named second-team all-MPSF, while senior Jason Belvill was named MPSF honorable mention. Guyette led the MPSF in saves per game (5.94). Both Guyette and Nigro were each named MPSF Player of the Week during the season.
In women's soccer, Air Force finished the 2007 season with a 2-14-2 overall record and 0-7-0 mark in Mountain West Conference, good for a seventh place finish. It was a season featuring close games in which the Falcons were right on the cusp of victory, only to falter late in games. Air Force played nine games that were decided by a score and played in five overtime games. Air Force opened the season at the Denver Tournament falling to Fairfield and Denver. The Falcons then earned their first win of the season, defeating Davidson 1-0. The Falcons then played to a 0-0 tie with McNeese State. The Falcons next took part in the Toys for Tots Tournament in St. Louis, Mo., playing Army to a 0-0 tie and losing 2-0 to Southeast Missouri State. The Falcons then took part in the Idaho State tournament, falling 1-0 in overtime to Northern Iowa and 1-0 to tourney host Idaho State. The highlight of Air Force's season came the following weekend where it won the Falcon Invitational. The Falcons thumped North Dakota State, 5-1, and then lost to UC Irvine, 2-1. With all four teams in the tournament going 1-1, Air Force took home top honors by scoring the most goals in the tournament. Junior Kristen Wolverton also took home Falcon Invite Defensive MVP honors. The Falcons opened Mountain West Conference play in October, losing at TCU. The Falcons then dropped a 3-1 match to Northern Colorado, before falling to San Diego State and Wyoming as they resumed MWC play. Air Force played one of its finest conference games at perennial power Utah, losing 2-1 in overtime. The Falcons then lost to BYU. Air Force closed out its season with losses at UNLV and New Mexico. Junior Rachael Emory earned second team all-MWC honors for the second-consecutive year as a defender. Air Force Team Leaders were: Senior Katherine Slogic led the team with three goals scored. Junior Rachael Emory finished second on the team with two goals and five points. Sophomore Ashley Collins and junior Corbin Sanford tied for the team lead with two assists; Junior Erin Wallace and sophomore Ashlee Curtis split time at goalkeeper, combining to post a 1.60 goals-allowed average, to go with three shutouts and 77 saves. Wallace made 11 starts in 12 appearances, logging 1,082 minutes, posting a 1.25 GAA to go with 34 saves, three shutouts and 2-7-2 record. Curtis made six starts, logging 563 minutes, recording 37 saves and a 2.07 GAA. Senior defender Christin Brodie was named the team's most valuable player for 2007. Brodie appeared and started in 17 games for the Falcons. For her career, Brodie appeared in 76 career games, making 41 starts. Air Force graduated four senior players and two managers off the 2007 squad. Christin Brodie, Rhett Chase, Sean Henry and Katherine Slogic make up the senior class of 2007-08. In addition managers Megan Harkins and Sarah Keidel were honored for their four years of dedication to the program.
In volleyball, four Falcons moved into six separate single-season statistical categories. Senior Kim Kallabis also cemented her spot in the program's all-time assists' record book. Kallabis was selected to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America District VII second team, the College Sports Information Directors of America. She is just the fourth Air Force volleyball player to earn academic all-district honors from CoSIDA.
In water polo, senior Clark Condict earned third-team All-America honors from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches. Condict is only the third water polo athlete to earn third-team honors since 1996. He also earned all-conference honors. Condict helped to lead Air Force to a 14-14 overall record. The Falcons finished the season ranked 14th nationally, its highest final ranking since 2003. Air Force also posted a third-place finish at the 2007 Western Water Polo Association Championship, its best conference showing since 2003.
In men's basketball, first-year head coach Jeff Reynolds led the Falcons to a 16-14 record, Air Force's fifth consecutive winning season, a first in program history. The team's 8-8 MWC record was good for fifth place after being picked eighth in the preseason poll. Senior Tim Anderson was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year and second-team all-conference after leading the team in scoring (14 ppg), assists (82) and steals (67). Anderson tied the school record with a career-high seven steals against San Diego State at the MWC Tournament and finished his career No. 2 on AFA's all-time lists for games played (124) and steals (175).
In women's basketball, the team finished the 2007-08 season with a 10-19 overall record. They finished in seventh place in the Mountain West Conference with a 4-12 record. Both conference marks tie for the best finishes ever in MWC play. The Falcons notched double-figure wins for just the second time in the Division era. Air Force defeated BYU for the first-time ever this year and swept Colorado State. The Falcons were 7-6 at home this year, marking the first time the program finished the season over .500 at home since moving to Division I play. Senior team co-captains Alecia Steele and Pamela Findlay were named to the MWC all-conference team. Steele leaves the Academy as Air Force's leading scorer in the Division I era with 1,237 career points. Findlay leaves the Academy as Air Force's all-time three-point shooter, making 37.7 percent of her attempts.
The men and women's fencing team concluded 2007-08 with a 12-19 record and had one All-American and six all-region honorees. Two fencers qualified for the NCAAs, C3C Peter French, CS31, and C4C Daniel Trapani, CS15. French finished sixth in men's individual epee, while Trapani finished 14th. Together the two accumulated 25 points for a 21st place finish. In 2007-08, French brought international recognition to the Academy's fencing team, competing at the Junior World Championships in Italy. A member of the three-fencer USA junior team, French finished 51st in the championships, the team 12th. French was also the 2008 Western Region epee champion and he won the Junior Olympic epee championship. In October 2007, he finished ninth in the Junior World Cups in Bratislava, Slovakia. French was voted the team's most valuable fencer. In dual meets, the team competed in the Western Invitational at the Academy on Jan. 12-13. Air Force finished 2-3 versus Notre Dame (5-0), Stanford (4-1), UC San Diego (2-2), Florida (1-4) and Cal State Fullerton (0-4). The team competed in the Brandeis Invitational in February. The Air Force men finished 2-3, while the women were 3-3. The team also competed in Durham, N.C. in the Duke University Invitational. The men's team finished 2-3, while the women were 0-5. AFA's top fencers were the men's epee team of French (12-3), Daniel Trapani (14-1) and Meyer (10-5). In women's epee, Enyart went 10-8.
The Air Force men's gymnastics team concluded a stellar season with a pair of NCAA All-America accolades from senior Greg Stine, who proved to be the backbone of the team. Stine and junior Jake Schonig, who were both ranked among the NCAA leaders on the still rings during the regular season, claimed USAG titles and were two of the four to earn USAG All-America honors. The Falcons edged out academy rival Army in early February for their first victory over the Black Knights since the 2000. Stine earned the USAG Top Senior Award, while head coach Kip Simons was named USAG Coach of the Year and NCAA West Region Coach of the Year.
In women's gymnastics, tallying their best team score in three years, the Air Force women's gymnastics team concluded a remarkable season. The Falcons claimed three USAG All-America honorees, which is the most since 2004, and sent gymnasts to the NCAA North Central Regional for the first time since that season, as well. Junior Abbey Rogers was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Year, while head coach Doug Day earned NCAA North Central Coach of the Year accolades. In addition, the squad claimed their first victory in two years, sweeping the event titles in a win over MIT.
In ice hockey, AFA was the first service academy team to earn back-to-back league hockey championships and NCAA Tournament bids. The Falcons took the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament, Miami, to overtime, before falling, 3-2 late in the extra period. The nine-game unbeaten streak was the longest in the nation at the time and the longest Division I streak in school history. The team was ranked as high as 20th twice during the season and was 3-3-1 vs. ranked teams this season, with one loss in the NCAA Regional and the other to eventual national champion (Boston College). The Academy defeated fourth-ranked Denver, 5-2, Jan. 18. Air Force posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in the last 18 years at the Academy
Frank Serratore became the all-time winningest coach in AFA history and has 170 wins in 11 seasons with the Falcons. The 21 Division I wins are a new school record. AFA won 40 games the last two years, a new school record, with 20 at home and 20 on the road. Greg Flynn was fifth in the nation in points by a defenseman with 31 points in 39 games. He is the first Falcon blueliner with 30 or more points in a season in 13 years. Brent Olson led the team with 18 goals and tied for the team lead with 38 points. Jeff Hajner tied for the team lead with 38 points. After missing 14 games with a leg injury, Eric Ehn returned to the lineup in the NCAA Tournament. He concludes his career ranked 11th in school history in scoring with 146 points in 133 career games. He scored more points than any other player in the last 22 years. The Class of 2008 won more Division I games (65) than any other team in school history; Andrew Volkening's stick save vs. Miami was ESPN's No. 1 Play of the Day on March 29. Volkening set new school records for saves percentage (.911) and goals against average (2.09). The back-to-back championships mark the first time in Air Force history any team has won consecutive league titles at the Division I level in any sport. Eric Ehn became the second player in AFA history to be selected for the NCAA Skills Competition at the Frozen Four in Denver, April 11. Frank Schiavone is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award, recognizing the accomplishments of collegiate hockey players on and off the ice.
In rifle, under first-year head coach Launi Meili, the Air Force rifle team concluded the season, 6-9, overall. Several marksman shot personal-best scores during 2007-08. The team went 1-2 in the service academy's President's Cup. The Falcons scored a 5656 to out-shoot the Coast Guard, 5566. The Black Knights fired a 5817, besting the Navy shooters (5736) by 81 points followed. The Falcons picked up a win versus the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, 4532-4287. Freshman Tom Chandler was the rifle team's top shooter in the match against Nebraska, scoring a 581/600 personal best in air rifle. Teammate junior Brian Jarrell also scored a personal best 582/600 in air rifle. The team competed in the National Rifle Team Trials in Colorado Springs in December. Chandler was the Falcons' top shooter in air rifle, 575/600. Air Force finished in first place with an aggregate 4488 against The Citadel 4308, and VMI, 4314, in January. In February, Chandler was once again AFA's top shooter. Against TCU, he finished the match with an aggregate 1145 score. Unfortunately, TUC outscored the Falcons 4644-4527. At the NCAA Qualifier match in Nebraska, Chandler was again the top scorer with a total of 1137. Welsh posted the best score on the women's side with an 1128 total. Air Force lost the qualifier 4509-4616. The Falcons picked up a win against the Wolf Pack (Reno) winning the match 4519-4509. It was the first time in three years that Air Force beat Reno in rifle and the first time that Reno has lost at home in 10 years. In the 2008 US Olympic Team Trials, Chandler finished with an aggregate 174. Krieger compiled an aggregate 1727, while Vasquez finished with a 1705 in air rifle. In the women's 10m air rifle competition, Welsh scored a total score of 1148. Arthur scored an 1143.
The Air Force men's swimming and diving team put together a 4-7 record in 2007-08, finishing fourth at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Seven individuals and two relays earned all-conference honors for their performances at the conference meet, including sophomore Kyle Van Valkenburg, who captured the title in the platform dive. Junior Bryan Avery set a new school record in the 100 butterfly, while Avery, junior Justin Day and freshman Benjamin Gunn all recorded U.S. Olympic Trial qualifying times at the All-American Long Course Championships. Avery and Van Valkenburg were also honored by the MWC early in the season as the men's swimmer/diver of the week, respectively.
The Air Force women's swimming and diving team went 2-11 in 2007-08, placing ninth at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Earning all-conference honors for the Falcons were junior Jane Hwang (100 and 200 freestyle) and senior diver Danielle Dowds (platform dive). At the Nike Cup in November, Hwang set a new school record in the 200 IM, while freshman Kaeli Kluesner also had a solid season, moving into the Academy top-10 in both the 400 IM and 200 backstrokes.
The Air Force wrestling team had a solid season in 2007-08, registering a 9-9 overall dual record and 3-2 mark in the Western Wrestling Conference. The Falcons also finished second at the NCAA West Regional, its best showing at the event since 2003. Senior Jake Kriegbaum (141), named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the West Regional, and sophomore Tyler French (174) each won their respective weight classes at the West Regional to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Meanwhile, junior Stephen Crozier (165) and senior Jacob Devlin (184) earned at-large bids to the national tournament with second place finishes at the regional. At the conclusion of the season, Kriegbaum and French were named first-team All-WWC selections, while Crozier, Devlin and senior Tony Dorward (157) were named to the All-WWC second team. Crozier was also named to the WWC All-Academic team, while Sharratt was named Western Wrestling Conference Coach of the Year. Crozier and Kriegbaum each earned WWC Wrestler of the Week honors during the season, with Crozier winning the award twice and Kriegbaum capturing the honor once.
In men's tennis, the 10-win streak stays alive! The Air Force men's tennis team extended its streak of winning at least 10 matches to all 34 years that head coach Rich Gugat has manned the helm of the Falcon program. The streak should live on for the next couple of years, at least, since Gugat fielded a lineup at the end of the season that included three sophomores and three freshmen. The team finished the '07-08 campaign with a 10-15 record. Two seniors on the team, Greg Ferry and Harrison Maloy, did not see a lot of action in '07-08, but passed on a ton of experience to the younger players. Ferry played 14 singles matches, winning six, while Maloy won his only singles match of the season. Leading the way was team MVP Brett Rodgers, a sophomore from Midland, Texas. Rodgers played No. 1 singles and doubles the entire season and led the squad with 14 overall singles wins. He also paired with freshman Taylor Soster to post an impressive 16-13 overall doubles record and they were 13-11 at No. 1 doubles. They recorded AFA's lone individual match win during conference play, defeating UNLV at the top doubles spot. Gugat, who has a career record of 723-250 in his 34 seasons as head coach, is still No. 2 on the list for career wins by active Division I coaches.
The Air Force women's tennis team underwent a youth movement during the 2007-2008 seasons. It is said that teams with several young players must endure growing pains before seeing positive results. For the Falcons, who had four freshmen in the top six at the end of the season, it was a season of growing pains with some positive results mixed in. The four freshmen joining the team this season gained valuable experience. They also played very well. Christen Monreal led the team with 21 overall singles wins, including a 13-10 dual match record. She posted Air Force's first singles win over BYU since the 2002 season. Sarah Cassman won 20 singles matches during the season and was 11-10 in dual matches, most of them at the No. 6 spot. Two seniors were on the '07-08 roster, Lauren Wilson and Erika Shortridge. Wilson, this season's most valuable player, played the majority of the campaign at the No. 2 singles spot. She produced 14 overall singles wins, including the team's lone singles victory at the MWC Championships against Rebecca Berger of Wyoming. Shortridge, meanwhile, posted 12 singles wins, including a 3-1 mark in dual matches. Two of those wins came at the No. 1 spot. As usual, the Falcons played a difficult schedule, matching up against seven nationally ranked teams, five of them in the MWC. Air Force defeated South Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Montana State, Nebraska-Kearney, Colorado College and Metro State this season. Air Force also lost five matches by a 4-3 score and four others by a 5-2 margin.
In baseball, the team finished the season with an 18-33 record, its best season since 2002. The Falcons defeated an SEC school for the first time with a 6-4 win over Mississippi State on March 1, and defeated a Big 10 school in Ohio State, 9-8, on March 7. The team finished with a winning non-conference record for the first time since 2002 and snapped a 55-game conference losing streak with win over BYU on April 24. The team also snapped a 27-game losing streak to UNLV with win on May 15 and went on to win two MWC series (BYU & UNLV) for first time since 2002. The Falcons defeated Doane College 37-13 on April 2, the second-most runs scored in a game in Air Force history. Individually, the Falcons' Nathan Carter set MWC record for triples by a freshman with 10; the previous record was six. Chay Derbigny leads the MWC with 31 stolen bases, the second best single-season mark at Air Force and new MWC record for a senior. Matt Alexander hits for the cycle and drives in a MWC record 11 runs against Doane College on April 2. The Falcons had four players earn MWC player of the week: freshman left-hand pitcher Brad Pingel; sophomores right-hand pitcher Alex Truesdale and first baseman Addison Gentry (twice); senior catcher Josh Meents is one of 10 finalists for the Lowes CLASS Senior Award for college baseball. The winner will be announced live at College World Series on ESPN.
The Air Force golf team finished ninth at this year's Mountain West Conference Championship, led by sophomore Tom Whitney, CS 10, who tied for 14th overall. Whitney led the team for the season with a 73.47 stroke average. Among the highlights for the Falcons in the 2007-08 season was their performance at the Agua Caliente AFA Collegiate Invitational. As the Falcons hosted the event for the first time, new school records were set. Air Force turned in the lowest team score in school history (840), while Whitney set a new individual record for 54 holes (202) and tied the school record for single-round score (65).
The Air Force lacrosse team finished the year with a 3-9 overall record and 1-4 mark in the Great Western Lacrosse League. Juniors Griffin Nevitt and Dan Gnazzo were repeat all-conference selections for the Falcons. Nevitt, a three-time All-GWLL pick, led the Air Force offense for a third-straight season, tallying 24 points (18 goals, 6 assists) on the year. Meanwhile, long-stick midfielder Gnazzo ranked among the nation's leaders in ground balls per game (5.33) and paced the Air Force defense with 23 caused turnovers.
The Air Force track and field team concluded an indoor season that featured three Mountain West Conference champions, two NCAA participants, four Academy records and 24 incursions into the all-time record book. Senior David Lissy (shot put), junior Sean Houseworth (3000-meter run) and sophomore Nick Frawley (pole vault) claimed indoor titles, as the men finished third - just one point shy of second - and the women took ninth. Frawley and fellow sophomore pole vaulter Melissa Beerse competed at the NCAA Championships, finishing 15th and 14th, respectively. Beerse and classmate Sara Neubauer (shot put) set Academy records for the women's team, while Houseworth (5000-meter run) and junior Kirk Devine (weight throw) impacted the men's program-best list.
During the outdoor track and field season, the Falcons proved to be as successful as the indoor season, highlighted by two conference champions (in three events), two Academy records, 25 additions to the record book and 16 NCAA Regional Qualifiers. Senior Ian McFarland won conference titles in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events, while classmate Kevin Hawkins defended his title in the 800-meter run. Backed by five of the eight scorers in the 5K race, Air Force finished third at the conference meet. The men also won the inaugural Front Range Invitational. On the women's side, Air Force placed ninth at the MWC Championships and featured two Academy record-holders. Beerse rewrote her outdoor pole vault standard, while Neubauer upped her distance in the shot put.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS
Matt Williams, Men's Cross Country --
Junior Matt Williams became the first Air Force runner to compete at the NCAA Championship meet since 2004, where he placed within the top half of the field. An all-conference and all-region honoree, Williams was the Falcons' top finisher in both the conference and regional championships. Williams clocked the squad's best 10k time of 31.07 at the NCAA Mountain Regional meet, which was also a career-best time by nearly one second. Williams picked up a fourth-place finish at the Mountain West Conference championships, which was the highest individual finish in two seasons, while claiming a 19th-place mark at the regional meet.
Brittany Morreale, Women's Cross Country --
With two top finishes in just three races, sophomore Brittany Morreale paced a relatively young Air Force squad. Although just a sophomore, Morreale was one of them more experienced members of a team that featured just two upperclassmen. The only Falcon to account for multiple top finishes, Morreale picked up 22nd-place finishes at both the Aztec Invitational and Mountain West Conference championships. Morreale accounted for the second-fastest 6k time on the team, after clocking a 22:39 at the NCAA Mountain Regional meet, where she finished 58th. Morreale's season-opening finish at the Aztec Invitational helped guide the Falcons to a 10th-place team finish.
Shaun Carney, Most Valuable Football Offensive Player --
Quarterback Shaun Carney had an outstanding year and career. The four-year starter threw for a career-best 1,491 yards, the most by a Falcon since 2000. Carney completed 125 passes which is the third most in school history and most since 1977 and threw for nine touchdowns with just five interceptions. He became the school's career leader in passing yards, total offense and touchdown passes during the season.
Drew Fowler, Most Valuable Football Defensive Player --
Drew Fowler was a two-time all-MWC selection, earning first-team honors as a junior and second team as a senior. He was selected to play in the East-West Shrine game as one of the top senior linebackers in the nation. He started all 13 games and led the team in tackles for the second straight season. He had 119 tackles last season to lead the team and rank third in the league. The linebacker from Clayton, N.C., had a career-high three interception and also earned MWC Defensive Player of the Week honors when he had 14 tackles, including a goal-line stop in the final seconds vs. Utah. Chad Hall, Most Valuable Football Player The Falcons unleashed one of the most exciting players in the nation in senior do-everything Chad Hall, who was named Mountain West Conference offensive player of the year. The tailback/receiver shattered Air Force records for rushing and all-purpose yards. Hall set the school record for rushing yards in a game with 275 vs. Army, breaking his own record of 256 set earlier in the season at Colorado State. He also set the school single-game all-purpose yardage mark vs. Army with 333. A third-team All-American, Hall rushed for 1,478 yards, second-most in school history, and scored 16 touchdowns. He also caught 50 passes for 524 yards.
John Rabold, Most Valuable Lineman or Special Teams Player --
The Air Force defense was led by outside linebacker John Rabold, who notched a team-high 17.5 tackles for loss and led the conference with four fumble recoveries, including one he returned for a touchdown vs. Notre Dame. Rabold had at least one tackle for loss in 11 straight and 12 of 13 games this season. He finished the season with a career-best 74 total tackles and three forced fumbles and earned all-conference honors.
Brian Guyette, Men's Soccer --
Brian Guyette, a senior from Phoenix, AZ., started all 18 games in goal in 2007. Guyette had an outstanding season, earning a first-team all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selection. He led the conference in saves per game (5.94) and finished third in goals-against average (1.37). Guyette was named MPSF Player of the Week after making a career-high 15 saves in a 2-1 victory over Denver. His 15 saves tied two other players for the most saves in one game in the country this season.
Christin Brodie, Women's Soccer --
Senior defender Christin Brodie was named the team's most valuable player. Brodie appeared and started in 17 games for the Falcons. Brodie appeared in 76 career games, making 41 starts. In 2007, Brodie earned Idaho State Classic All-Tournament honors.
Kristina Stewart, Volleyball --
In 2007, the MVP award was selected by the players, and featured new criteria for selection. According to Penny Lucas-White, the volleyball MVP must be someone who is "loyal to USAFA, the staff, the team and the program. Someone who has a voice in the locker room and a great work ethic, but still would sacrifice herself for the greater good of the team. The MVP should be someone who will push her teammates while also being the voice of reason and the team's biggest encourager. Someone who has earned her teammate's trust and respect, because she has been in the trenches with team" Stewart, who claimed the team's spirit Award on three separate occasions and started 21 matches, averaged 1.73 kills per game and 1.62 digs per contest.
Justin Berry, Water Polo --
Senior Justin Berry was named the Air Force water polo MVP for the 2007 season. Berry, a team captain for the Falcons, finished second on the team with 54 goals on the season, bringing his career total to 139. A second-team All-Western Water Polo Association selection, Berry was also named a first-team all-tournament honoree at the WWPA Championship, where Air Force finished third. Berry helped lead the Falcons to their best tournament finish since the 2003, as well as their highest final national ranking (14th) since 2003.
Tim Anderson, Men's Basketball --
Tim Anderson, a senior guard from El Paso, Texas, led the team in scoring, averaging 14 points per game, in 2007-08. He was named the MWC Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team all-conference pick this season. Anderson tied the school record and set a new MWC Tournament record with seven steals against San Diego State. He played in 124 games in his career, just one shy of tying the school record. He missed just two games in his career and started all 65 the last two seasons. His name is sprinkled around the Air Force record book, including No. 2 on the school's career list with 175 steals and No. 5 in free throw shooting at 82.9 percent.
Alecia Steele, Women's Basketball --
Team co-captain Alecia Steele earned fourth All-Mountain West Conference selection (third third-team selection). She led team in scoring average (12.0) and rebounding (7.1) for fourth-consecutive season, the first ever to do so at Air Force. Steele completes her career at Air Force as the programs' leading scorer in Division I play with 1,237 points (sixth all-time) and is second all-time in rebounding with 765 boards. Steele recorded six double-doubles on the season and finished with 21 for her career. She is a four-time team MVP recipient.
Peter French, Men's Fencing --
Sophomore Peter French earned both 2008 NCAA All-America and all-Western region honors. He won the 2008 Regionals with an impressive 11-2 bout record in individual men's epee, and finished sixth at the NCAA championships. He won the Junior World Cup in Basel, Switzerland and won the men's individual epee championship at the 2008 Junior Olympics. He also earned the No. 2 spot on the 2008 Junior World Team, where he finished 51st. He is currently ranked No. 2 in the junior men's epee point standings. He finished the season with a 34-9 record.
Collette Bannister, Women's Fencing --
Senior Collette Bannister demonstrated her leadership abilities as a Squadron 13 commander and the fencing team's captain in 2007-08. She led the women's foil team to 65 victories for the season. She earned all-region honors after finishing fourth at the 2008 NCAA Western Regionals, and was named first alternate for the NCAA championships. She has been one of the Falcons' top three finishers in the New Mexico Open, Falcon Open and Nick Toth Open. She concludes here Academy fencing career with a 30-38 record.
Greg Stine, Men's Gymnastics --
Senior Greg Stine concluded his career as the most decorated gymnast in Air Force men's gymnastics history. Backed by top-eight finishes on the still rings and in the all-around at the NCAA Championships, Stine became the program's first All-American since 1993 and the first-ever recipient of multiple NCAA honors. In addition, he set six of seven Academy records under the new scoring system, won two USAG national titles and earned five USAG All-America certificates. The USAG Top Senior Award, Stine accounted for 29 first-place finishes and was named Gymnast of the Week numerous times by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and College Gymnastics Association. For his career, Stine earned more USAG All-America accolades (15) than any other gymnast. He won seven USAG national titles, including three in the all-around.
Abbey Rogers, Women's Gymnastics --
Junior Abbey Rogers became the first gymnast in Academy history to be named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Year. An all-conference selection on the balance beam, floor exercise and all-around, Rogers recorded 13 first-place finishes during the course of the season. She participated in the all-around at the NCAA North Central Regional, was a two-time MPSF Gymnast of the Week and an academic all-conference selection for the second straight year. Rogers, who set personal best marks on every event this season and led the team on the vault, uneven bars, floor exercise and all-around, led the conference on the floor exercise and all-around.
Andrew Volkening, Ice Hockey --
Andrew Volkening was named to the Atlantic Hockey Association all-tournament team for the second straight year and was the goaltender on the all-tournament team at the NCAA Northeast Regional becoming to first Falcon to ever earn that honor. He set new school records for saves percentage (.911) and goals-against average (2.09) and ranked 10th in the nation in GAA. He was named the AHA Goalie of the Month twice during the season. The Genoa, Ill., native made a career-high 49 saves in the 5-4 double overtime win over Mercyhurst in the AHA championship game to send the Falcons back to the NCAA Tournament. The sophomore tender had four shutouts during the season and had a shutout streak of 133 consecutive minutes to set a new school record vs. Division I opponents. He started 38 of the 39 games and won 21 games during the season.
Bryan Avery, Men's Swimming --
Junior Bryan Avery was named the Air Force men's swimming MVP for the 2007-08 season. Avery, who was named the MWC Co-Swimmer of the Week in late October, earned all-conference honors in the 200 freestyle for a second-straight season, finishing as the runner-up with a personal-best mark of 1:37.22. His time, an NCAA provisional mark, moved him into second place on the Academy's top-10 list. He was also a member of two all-conference relay teams, the 800 freestyle relay (which achieved an NCAA provisional mark) and the 400 medley relay team. Avery also set a school record in the 100 butterfly, clocking in at 48.38 in time trials at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Avery now owns Air Force top-10 marks in five different events (100 free, 200 free, 500 free, 100 fly and 200 fly). In addition, Avery qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 butterfly and will compete in June for the opportunity to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Jane Hwang, Women's Swimming --
Junior Jane Hwang was named the Air Force women's swimming MVP for the 2007-08 season. Hwang earned all-conference honors in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events for the second-consecutive season. Hwang, the Falcons' school record-holder in the 200 free, finished seventh in the event at the MWC Championships, while placing eighth in the 100 free. Hwang currently holds school records in two individual events (200 free and 200 IM), while ranking among the Academy's top 10 in five more events (100 free, 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke).
Tom Chandler, Rifle --
Tom Chandler, a freshman from Oak Harbor, Wash., is the Academy's 2008 Most Valuable Marksmanship award winner. Chandler concluded his freshman season as one of the team's top marksman. He surpassed his best scores three times throughout the regular season. His season-best air rifle score was 581/600, he surpassed his season best with a 585 at the 2008 Olympic Air Trials. His top smallbore score was a 584/600 which he scored against UTEP and Nevada-Reno in November 2007. His top aggregate score was a 1747 scored during the Olympic Trials.
Jake Kriegbaum, Wrestling --
Senior Jake Kriegbaum, the Falcons' starter at 141 pounds, was chosen as the 2007-08 Air Force wrestling team MVP. Kriegbaum qualified for the NCAA Championships for the third time in his career after capturing the 141-pound title at the West Regional, knocking off a pair of nationally ranked wrestlers in the process. As a result, Kriegbaum was named Outstanding Wrestler at the West Regional. A first-team All-Western Wrestling Conference selection, Kriegbaum closed the season with a 25-13 overall record and 12-5 dual mark. Kriegbaum also turned in a perfect 5-0 record in WWC dual competition.
Alex Truesdale, Baseball --
Sophomore Alex Truesdale led Air Force with 97.2 innings pitched, 58 strikeouts and compiled a 6.73 ERA. His 97.2 innings pitched led the MWC in regular season play (does not include postseason stats). His 97.2 innings pitched is the first best total in a season in Air Force history. Truesdale earned wins this season over Charleston Southern, BYU and UNLV. His win over BYU snapped Air Force's 55-game Mountain West Conference losing streak. His win over UNLV snapped Air Force's 27 game losing streak to the Rebels. In his last six starts Truesdale, pitched into the eighth inning or better. Truesdale pitched two complete games and pitched nine innings in a game three times.
Daryn Nelson, Boxing --
Senior Daryn Nelson compiled a remarkable 14-3 record during his final season. He won five Boxer of the Week honors and was named the Most Outstanding Boxer (higher weights) at the 2008 National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) Western Regional Championships. Competing in the 156-pound weight class, he won his first Wing Open title. He also won the Western Regional title after defeating the defending national champion. Nelson earned a silver medal at the national championships and claimed NCBA All-America honors.
Brett Rodgers, Men's Tennis --
Brett Rodgers, a sophomore from Midland, Texas, played the entire 2007-08 season at No. 1 singles and doubles for the Falcons. Rodgers was 14-15 overall in singles this season and tied for the team lead with 11 dual match wins. He was named MWC Player of the Week on March 21 after going 3-0 in singles and doubles during a home stand. He paired with freshman Taylor Soster to post an impressive 16-13 overall doubles record and a 13-11 mark in dual matches, including a win at No. 1 doubles over UNLV, Air Force's only doubles win against a conference opponent this season.
Lauren Wilson, Women's Tennis --
Lauren Wilson, a senior from Midland, Texas, played the majority of the 2007-08 season at No. 2 singles. She finished fifth in her flight at the season-opening Wyoming Cowgirl Invitational and combined with fellow senior Erika Shortridge to win their first-round match at the prestigious University of Maryland Fall Invitational. Wilson won 14 singles matches and 11 doubles matches this year. She also finished third on the team for the most dual match singles victories.
Robert Whitney, Golf --
Senior Bob Whitney was named the Air Force golf MVP for the 2007-08 season. One of the most experienced members of the Falcons' team, Whitney competed in 10 events in his senior season, including all five spring tournaments. Whitney recorded his best MWC Championship finish in 2008, placing in a tie for 41st.
Lukas Fisher, Lacrosse --
Senior Lukas Fisher was named the Air Force lacrosse MVP for the 2008 season. Fisher, one of the Falcons' team captains, was a leader on the defensive unit, starting at close defense for the past two seasons. The most experienced player on a defensive line which has included a pair of rookies in goal, Fisher finished the season as one of the team leaders in caused turnovers.
Travis Picou, Men's Track & Field Athlete --
Senior Travis Picou is concluding a stellar four-year career with three program records. He holds three Academy standards (indoor 60-, outdoor 100- and outdoor 200-meter dashes), five Mountain West Conference titles and 12 all-conference accolades. Easily leading the squad this season in all of his respective events, Picou earned all-MWC honors in the indoor 200-meter dash and as a member of the outdoor 4x100-meter relay team. He was the only non-TCU athlete to finish within the top eight of the 200-meter dash at the outdoor championships. Picou, the 2005 MWC Freshman of the Year, served as co-captain of the men's team and will continue his career at the upcoming NCAA Regional meet.
Sara Neubauer, Women's Track & Field --
Sophomore Sara Neubauer rewrote the Academy record books once more this season. Neubauer reclaimed the Falcons' indoor shot put record by becoming the first woman to surpass the 50-foot mark. Heaving a 50'2" shot at the Air Force Invitational, Neubauer reclaimed the top spot on the Academy's all-time list. She earned all-conference accolades in the indoor shot (third-place finish) and followed that up with all-MWC honors in the outdoor discus (second-place finish). Neubauer upped her personal-best mark in the outdoor shot by rewriting her own record. Hitting a distance of 50'4½" at the Colorado Invitational, Neubauer improved the Sophomore Class record and qualified for the NCAA Regionals.
Ian McFarland, Men's Outstanding Track & Field Competitor --
Senior Ian McFarland literally ran into the spotlight at the Mountain West Conference Championships, by winning both the 5000- and 10,000-meter events. In his first-ever appearance in the 10k, McFarland clocked a winning time of 30:44.89 for the first all-conference honor of his career. The co-captain of the men's team concluded the weekend by recording a time of 14:37.33 to win the 5000-meter run. Highlighted by 20 individual points, he paced the Falcons to their third-place finish. In fact, McFarland was just eight points shy of the MWC "High Point" award winner. He has qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the 5000. He was a scoring member of the Falcons' 3000-meter run during the indoor season, placing seventh. He also moved into the program's all-time top-10 list with a career-best 8:11.48 at the Husky Classic.
Melissa Beerse, Women's Outstanding Track & Field Competitor --
Only a sophomore, Melissa Beerse continues to impact the Air Force women's program. She became the first female to ever clear the 13-foot plateau on the pole vault, as she crushed her own indoor record. Her clearance of 13'6½" at the MWC Championships shattered the previous Sophomore Class record by nearly a foot. She claimed all-conference accolades with that second-place finish. Beerse made her first appearance at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where she placed 14th. Beerse continued her success in the outdoor season, where she upped her own standard there as well. Clearing the 13-foot mark once again, Beerse qualified for the NCAA Regional meet with a clearance of 13'1½".