Feb. 5, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Highlighted by senior Noah Palicia accumulating the second-highest heptathlon score in Academy history, members of the Air Force track and field team concluded action at the New Mexico Classic and Combined Events Meet this afternoon (Feb. 5) in Albuquerque, N.M. Palicia was one of three Falcons to impact the program's top-10 lists during the annual meet at the ABQ Convention Center.
Palicia, who entered the day in sixth place, vaulted up three spots to finish third with a career-best 5,293 points. Improving his career total by nearly 300 points, Palicia moved into second on the program's all-time list. Contributing to his overall score was a tie for first in the pole vault (16'0¾"), a second-place finish in the 1000-meter run (2:31.03) and a third-place mark in the 60-meter hurdles (8.66).
The senior was one of two Falcons to change the Academy's top-10 heptathlon standings, as sophomore Michael Tibbs improved his combined score to 4,858 points to move into seventh on the all-time list. Behind a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles (8.80), a ninth-place score in the pole vault (13'9¼") and 13th-place time in the 1000-meter run (3:02.67), Tibbs placed fifth at the New Mexico Combined Events Meet.
Junior Nick White recorded the seventh-best 800-meter run in program history, as he finished fifth in the race with a personal-best time of 1:52.47 (1:51.84 with altitude adjustments). White became the first Falcon to impact the 800-meter indoor standings since 2008 and just the third since 2003.
Air Force added several additional top-10 finishes during the New Mexico Classic.
Junior Paige Blackburn paced the women's team with a fifth-place finish in the shot put, as she posted a distance of 46'7½". Junior Katie Carroll, who ran the leadoff leg of the distance medley relay last night, competed in the mile run today, clocking a ninth-place time of 5:10.91. Freshman Stephaney Saari also added a ninth-place finish for the Falcons, as she earned that placement in the 800-meter run behind a time of 2:19.62.
On the men's side, the 4x400-meter relay team of junior Bryce Bergman, classmate Manny Smith, sophomore Anthony Delgado and senior Chris Severino finished second with a time of 3:14.49. Air Force earned a pair of top-five finishes in that race, as the squad of freshman Cory Engel, senior Matt Jones, freshman David Ptacek and White took fifth in 3:19.62.
Bergman also picked up a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles after clocking a time of 8.19 in the finals, while Engel took 10th in the preliminary round behind a time of 8.40.
With a throw of 55'2¼", Robert Drye paced Air Force to three of the top six placements of the shot put. The junior picked up a fourth-place finish behind a distance just shy of his career mark (55'2¾"), while classmates Kyle Schwochow (54'1") and Sean Herbison (53'5¾") finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
Freshman Elliott Beski finished fourth in the unseeded pole vault with a clearance of 15'1", while sophomores Rob Simmons (16'7¼") and Cale Simmons (16'1¼") placed fifth and ninth, respectively, in the men's seeded pole vault. Senior Tyler Small rounded out the Falcons' top-10 finishers, as he tallied a time of 8:50.72 to place ninth in the 3000-meter run.
The Falcons return to the Academy next weekend (Feb. 11-12) to host the 21st-annual Air Force Invitational at the Academy's Cadet Field House. Friday's action begins at 1 p.m., while competition on Saturday begins at 10 a.m. In addition, select athletes will travel to Seattle, Wash., for the Husky Classic.