Falcons Wrap Up Competition at Team Challenge
Kassie Gurnell

Jan. 28, 2012

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USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Sophomore Kassie Gurnell improved her program record in the triple jump and freshman Blue Kearney won the long jump, as the Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the Air Force Team Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Academy's Cadet Field House.

Gurnell, who first set the women's triple jump record during the Falcons' last home meet two weeks ago, reset her record by two inches, recording a distance of 39'10¾" to place third, while Kearney recorded a career-best 23'5½" to claim the men's long jump title.

Air Force also claimed runner-up spots from the women's pole vault and shot put.

Senior Kimber Shealy cleared a season-best 13'1½" to take second in pole vault, while classmate Paige Blackburn earned the same placement in the shot put with a career-best distance of 49'2¼". Shealy, who improved her own Senior Class Record in the pole vault by four inches, was one of two Falcons to score in that event, as classmate Tawny Lambuth improved her season-best mark by one foot to finish fifth at 12'5½". Blackburn, who improved her distance in the shot put by nearly one foot, firmly secured her second-place standing on the program's all-time list.

The men accounted for three scoring places in the men's pole vault. Junior Chase Cooper, sophomore Elliott Beski and classmate Cort Rogers each recorded matching clearances of 16'0¾" to place third, fourth and sixth, respectively, based on attempts. Cooper's mark was a season best, while Rogers equaled his best height of the season.

Air Force collected half of the scoring finishes in the men's shot put, highlighted by senior Kyle Schwochow's third-place distance of 52'9¼". Classmates Sean Herbison and James Cole finished sixth (52'4¾") and seventh (season-best 51'5¾"), respectively, while junior James Chambers placed eighth with a mark of 50'4¾".

On the women's side, the 800-meter debut of three freshmen and one sophomore saw the Falcons collect four top-eight placements. Freshman Taylor Drolshagen finished third in a time of 2:23.62 and classmate Rebecca Esselstein placed fifth in 2:25.25, while sophomore Amanda Blain and freshman Michelle Ferguson finished seventh (2:28.01) and eighth (2:28.68), respectively.

The Falcons also earned multiple scoring placements in the women's triple jump and men's weight throw. In addition to Gurnell's third-place finish in the triple jump, senior Jordyn Stoddard placed seventh with a distance of 35'5¾". Junior Brian Ford recorded a career-best 55'9¼" to finish seventh in the weight throw and move into eighth on the program's all-time standings, while sophomore Jalen Fooster tossed a 54'2¾" to finish eighth.

Sophomore Matt Caldwell finished second in the mile run with a career-best 4:19.60, while junior Ted Artz finished third in the 800-meter run behind a personal-best time of 1:54.47. Sophomore Rachel Herald tied for sixth in the high jump (5'5"), while freshmen Riley Coates (3000-meter run, 9:13.26), Casey Riggs (60-meter hurdles, 8.80, career-best) and Kyle Gartrell (triple jump, 45'2¼") all finished eighth in their respective events.

Colorado State won both team titles, accumulating 128.50 points for the men and 98 for the women.

Colorado finished second in the men's race with 105 points, while Air Force scored 70 points to take third. Long Beach State (61 points) edged out Utah Valley (57) for fifth, while Wyoming (48), BYU (41.50) and Northern Colorado (32) rounded out the men's side.

On the women's side, San Diego State scored 91.50 points to take second, while Colorado (78.50) and BYU (68) placed third and fourth, respectively. Wyoming and Long Beach State tied for fifth with 51 points each, while Air Force and Utah Valley tallied matching 45-point totals to tie for seventh. Northern Colorado rounded out the field with 16 points.

The Falcons return to action next weekend (Friday-Saturday, Feb. 3-4), when they travel to Albuquerque, N.M., for the New Mexico Classic.



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