Jan. 25, 2014
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Three event titles and seven improvements to the Academy record book highlighted the final day of competition for the track and field team, as the Falcons wrapped up action at the 24th Air Force Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 25.
The top-10 list of the men's 800-meter run received a major rewrite this afternoon, as junior Zach Perkins and freshman Matt Dorsey debuted on the list. Perkins was the top collegiate runner - and finished second overall - with a career-best time of 1:52.41. When converted for altitude, his time of 1:51.10a is ranked seventh on the program's all-time list. Dorsey joined Perkins on the all-time list, as he crossed the finish line fourth overall with a time of 1:52.63. His altitude-adjusted time of 1:51.32a is ranked 10th on Air Force's top-10 list and just shy of the program's Freshman Class Record. In addition, sophomore Patrick Corona used the 11th-fastest time in program history (1:52.81, 1:51.50a) to finish sixth overall.
Sophomore Grant Hamilton improved his distance in the shot put to 56'8¾", while finishing fourth overall (third among collegiate competitors). With that distance, Hamilton improved his No. 6 ranking on the program's all-time list. He was one of two Falcons to better a No. 6 mark on the Academy's all-time list, as classmate Dylan Bell finished fifth in the seeded pole vault (third among collegiate vaulters) with a personal-best clearance of 17'6½" - a height that is ranked sixth on the all-time standings for that event.
Two more Falcons matched career-best marks that are already listed on the program's top-10 list. Senior Kobi Rex cleared 7'0½" for the second time in three weeks to win the seeded high jump for the third straight meet, while sophomore Gavin McHenry equaled his personal-best time in the 60-meter dash (6.81) to finish third. Rex's clearance, which he first accounted for at the Air Force All-Comers Meet on Jan. 11, remains the third-best height in Air Force history, while McHenry, who first recorded the Academy's 10th-fastest sprint time last February, improved his seasonal time by 0.10-seconds during the today's preliminary and final rounds.
Rex was one of three event winners for the Falcons, as seniors Rachel Herald (seeded high jump) and Kassie Gurnell (triple jump) claimed victories in the field events for the women's team. Herald cleared 5'7" to share the high jump title with Colorado State's Amy Medina, after an entire series of competition and six jump-offs provided equal standings. Gurnell, who recorded a distance of 39'10½", paced the Falcons to a one-two finish in that event, as sophomore Angelea Ross took second with a season-best 38'8¾".
Junior Kyle Gartrell set a PR in the triple jump, as he finished second with a mark of 47'6 ½" - a personal improvement of nearly one foot, while sophomore Joey Wilkin improved his overall time in the 60-meter hurdles to 8.22 during a fifth-place finish in the event finals.
Two Falcons accounted for top-five overall finishes in the men's seeded pole vault. Like Bell, junior Joey Uhle cleared 17'6½" to finish fourth overall (second among collegiate vaulters) based on attempts. The Falcons also earned three scoring finishes in the mile (based on scoring for Division I and non-Division I runners). Junior Elliot Myers, senior Isaiah Bragg and sophomore Sean Bapty finished seventh (4:23.44), eighth (4:26.45) and ninth (4:30.97), respectively. Junior Jake Spuller and sophomore Daniel Shellhouse scored for the men in the 200-meter dash and 3000-meter run, respectively, as Spuller clocked a time of 22.01 to finish fifth in the sprint and Shellhouse accounted for a time of 9:15.31 to take eighth in the 3000.
On the women's side, junior Taylor Drolshagen scored in the mile with a ninth-place collegiate time of 5:21.64, while sophomore Katelyn Holland recorded a distance of 40'2" in the shot put to take 10th.
Colorado won the Division I men's title with 148 points, while Western State claimed the non-Division I title with 153 points. In the DI standings, Colorado State and Air Force finished second (127) and third (118), respectively, while BYU (108) and Wyoming (38) rounded out the top five. Colorado State (Division I, 113.50 points) and New Mexico Highlands (non-Division I, 143 points) captured the women's team titles, while BYU (100), Colorado (89), UNLV (77) and Wyoming (76) rounded out the Division I top five.
Three different Cadet Field House and Air Force Invitational records were set today. Olympic champion Jenn Suhr cleared 15'1¾" to win the seeded section of the women's pole vault and eclipse the previous standard that she set two weeks ago at the Air Force Holiday Open, while Laura Thweatt of the Boulder Track Club shattered the meet and facility records in both the mile and 3000-meter events. By winning the mile by two seconds (4:49.98) and lapping the entire 3000-meter field (9:41.78), Thweatt shattered records that had stood for more than a decade.
Air Force returns to action next Saturday (Feb. 1), when it faces nationally-ranked competition at the New Mexico Team Invitational at the ABQ Convention Center in Albuquerque.