Jan. 18, 2014
LINCOLN, Neb. - The Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the Holiday Inn Invitational this afternoon (Jan. 25) in Lincoln, Neb. The Falcons accounted for one event title, 16 additional top-eight finishes and three incursions to the Academy record book during the second day of action at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Junior Kobi Rex cleared 6'11¾" to win the high jump, while freshman Taylor Smith recorded the fifth-best clearance in program history (6'10¾") to finish second. The men's record book also received an update in the shot put from sophomore Grant Hamilton, who finished fourth in that event with a career-best toss of 56'4¾" ... the sixth-best distance in program history.
The women's record book earned its update from Kassie Gurnell, who recorded a Senior Class Record of 39'11¼" in the triple jump. Gurnell's mark blasted the program's previous mark of 38'3" that had stood since the 1990 season. The senior was one of two Falcons to place within the top eight of that event, as sophomore Angelea Ross finished seventh with a distance of 37'9½".
In addition to the finishes on the high jump and shot put, the men recorded seven additional top-eight finishes. Sophomore Dylan Bell and senior Cort Rogers both scored in the pole vault, as the pair finished second (17'0¾") and third (career-best 16'8¾"), respectively. A trio of Falcons picked up sixth-place finishes in their events, including sophomore Gavin McHenry (60-meter dash, 6.95), sophomore Joey Wilkin (60-meter hurdles, 8.49) and junior Kyle Gartrell (triple jump, 45'8½"). Both relays scored as well, with the 4x400-meter relay of junior Dan Bieber, junior Jake Spuller, senior Josh Nielsen and freshman Andre Young finishing seventh (3:21.17) and the distance medley relay team of senior Matthieu Caldwell, sophomore Grant Caswell, sophomore Sean Bapty and freshman Kyle Eller placing eighth (10:29.71).
The women added four additional scoring placements during the second day of competition, highlighted by a runner-up finish on the high jump from senior Rachel Herald (5'8½"). Junior Danielle Tabb added a third-place finish on the shot put with a distance of 48'5¼", while sophomore Riley Vann and senior Paige Shirley finished fourth and fifth, respectively, on the pole vault with matching marks of 11'3¾". The 4x400-meter relay of sophomore Naomi Alston, senior Annette Eichenberger, junior Morgan Malone and freshman Alexa Chacon rounded out the meet with an eighth-place time of 3:57.35.
The Falcons return to the Academy next week to host the 24th-annual Air Force Invitational. The three-day event begins on Thursday, Jan. 23, with the heptathlon and pentathlon and continues through Saturday, Jan. 25.