Feb. 11, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Behind by an Academy-record clearance of 18'1¼", Air Force junior Cale Simmons became the NCAA leader in the pole vault during the track and field team's second day of competition at the Air Force Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Simmons' clearance, which was over a foot higher than the rest of the field, is the best clearance in the NCAA to date this season. It is also the third-highest vault in the U.S. for 2012 and the third-best clearance in Mountain West history.
His mark, which vaulted the junior from sixth to first on the program's all-time list, broke Nick Frawley's 2009 record of 18'1".
Senior Paige Blackburn improved her career-best mark in the shot put to 49'7¾", easily winning the 31-member event by nearly four feet. That mark, which bettered her own distance by over five inches, is the second-best throw in Academy history.
Sophomore Lance Wolfsmith won the mile with a personal-best time of 4:23.80 and paced the Falcons to four of the top six spots in that race. Freshman Elliot Myers placed second in a career-best 4:27.94, while sophomore Gavin Owens and freshman Riley Coates used career-best times to place fourth (4:28.68) and sixth (4:32.65), respectively.
Air Force also earned a first-place finish from senior Nick White, who posted a time of 1:53.47 to win the 800-meter run. Freshman Ronnie Elly also finished within the top eight of that race, as he clocked 1:57.97 to place seventh.
Senior Kimber Shealy was the top collegiate finisher in the pole vault - and finished second overall - with a season-best matching clearance of 13'1½". She was one of two Falcons to place within the top five, as fellow senior Tawny Lambuth cleared 11'9¾" to take fifth.
Junior Jen Bremser finished second in the mile with a career-best time of 5:20.12, while freshman Alex Jones-Hardy clocked the sixth-fastest 60-meter dash time in program history (7.74) to finish sixth. The women's 4x440-yard relay team of sophomore Kassie Gurnell, junior Bethany Gross, senior Rachel Thomas and sophomore Heather Shepard clocked a combined time of 3:58.51 to finish fifth. Sophomore Rebecca Esselstein clocked a career-best 800-meter time of 2:23.30 to finish seventh in that event, while junior Lesly Torres earned the same placement in the high jump with a clearance of 5'5".
Back on the men's side, Air Force earned an additional pair of top-eight finishes in the pole vault, as sophomore Cort Rogers and freshman Joey Uhle placed fourth and fifth, respectively, with matching heights of 16'4¾" (ties are broken based on attempts).
Senior Manny Smith finished third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.34. Classmate Bryce Bergman clocked a career-best 8.14 in the 60-meter hurdles to take fourth, while junior Michael Tibbs finished eighth in that event with a personal-best 8.38. Air Force earned three top-eight finishes in the 200-meter dash, behind junior Anthony Delgado (sixth, 21.93), freshman Jake Spuller (21.96) and sophomore Michael Craig (eighth, 22.19). The relay squad Smith, Spuller, Craig and Delgado finished fourth in the 4x440-yard race with a time of 3:23.50, while senior Sean Herbison tossed a 52'8" in the shot put to finish sixth.
The Falcons return to action next Friday (Feb. 17), when they travel to Laramie, Wyo., for the annual Robert Shine Invitational.