Jan. 13, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Sophomore Kassie Gurnell set a new Academy standard in the triple jump, as the Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the annual Air Force All-Comers Meet on Friday, Jan. 13.
Gurnell, who used a career-best jump of 39'8½" to win the 14-member competition, broke LaTravia Robinson's 2003 mark of 39'5¾" and improved the Sophomore Class Record that she first claimed last month at the Blue and Silver Meet (39'5"). Gurnell first displaced the record on her third attempt, as she marked 39'6½", before improving that mark to the new record of 39'8½".
The sophomore was one of four Falcons in impact the program's all-time top-10 list. Classmate Jalen Fooster bettered his distance in the weight throw to 55'2¼" to move into ninth on the program's record book, while junior Zach Wood debuted in 10th on the high jump records with a winning clearance of 6'9¾". On the women's side, freshman Alexis Jones-Hardy clocked a career-best time of 7.85 in the 60-meter dash to improve her eighth-place mark on the all-time list.
With the 6'9¾" jump, Wood became just the second high jumper since 1997 - and the first since 2003 - to impact the men's top-10 indoor list.
Gurnell and Wood were two of four Falcons to claim outright event titles at the All-Comers Meet. Paige Blackburn paced the Falcons with two first-place finishes, as she won both the weight throw and shot put. The senior matched a season-best distance of 56'0½" to win the weight throw by four feet, while posting a season-best shot put mark of 46'6¾" to win that event by over one foot. Fellow senior Sean Herbison helped Air Force claim three of the four throwing titles, as he won the shot put with a career-best distance of 53'8¾".
In addition, several Falcons finished first among collegiate competitors in their respective events. Sophomore Regan Rogers and Rachel Herald tied for top collegiate spot (second overall) on the high jump, as they tied with matching marks of 5'5". The Falcons swept the collegiate titles of the pole vault, as junior Cale Simmons finished first collegiately (second overall) with season-best matching mark of 17'0¾" and senior Kimber Shealy placed first among collegiate vaulters (fourth overall) with a clearance of 12'5½". In addition, Jim Walmsley was the top collegiate runner in the mile (4:23.08), while the 4x440-yard relay squad of senior Bryce Bergman, classmate Manny Smith, sophomore David Ptacek and junior Anthony Delgado finished first among university teams with a time of 3:18.63.
Simmons led the Falcons to the top three collegiate finishes (and three of the top four overall spots) in an event that featured 18 total competitors. Junior Michael Tibbs matched his career-best clearance of 16'0¾" to finish second to Simmons in the collegiate standings, while classmate Chase Cooper and sophomore Elliott Beski tied for third (fourth overall) with matching marks of 15'7".
Air Force also claimed the top three collegiate finishes in the women's pole vault. Freshman Wren Bonner (12'5½") and junior Bizzy Mellado (11'11¾") placed second and third, respectively, behind Shealy in the collegiate standings.
Junior Melissa Fuerst improved her time in the mile by eight seconds to 5:16.76 to finish second overall in the mile, while senior Phaelen French earned the same outright placement in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:23.58. Sophomore Amanda Blain finished third in the 3000-meter run with a career-best time of 11:17.90 and senior Kyle Schwochow posted a season-best shot put mark of 53'0" to finish third in that event.
Among collegiate competitors, the Falcons claimed four second- and three third-place marks. Freshman William Kerney picked up one of each, as he finished second among collegiate competitors in the long jump (21'10¾") and third in the triple jump (personal-best 46'2½"). Sophomore Lance Wolfsmith finished second among college competitors in the mile with a time of 4:26.30 - a career-best time by five seconds.
Air Force also claimed two of the top three collegiate finishes in the 200-meter dash and 800-meter run. Smith, who ran a leg of the top collegiate relay, placed second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.17, while freshman Jake Spuller placed third in the college standings with a time of 22.33. Seniors Alex Zubey and Nick White finished second (1:54.98) and third (1:56.00), respectively, in the 800-meter run.
Air Force heads out on the road next week, traveling to Lincoln, Neb., for a pair of competitions. Select Falcons will participate at the Nebraska Wesleyan Invitational on Friday, Jan. 20, while the entire squad will compete at the adidas Classic on Saturday, Jan. 21. Both meets will be held at the Bob Devaney Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska.