Feb. 12, 2011
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force track and field team concluded an impressive weekend of competition at the AF Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Cadet Field House. Highlighted by a one-two Air Force sweep in the men's 800-meter run and two of the best shot put distances in Academy history, the Falcons accounted for 24 scoring finishes and four additions to the program's all-time record book.
Sophomores Blair O'Bryant and Ted Artz, who swept the top two spots during yesterday's preliminary race, finished first and second, respectively in the finals of ht 800-meter distance. O'Bryant clocked a time of 1:55.45 to win the race, while Artz crossed the finish line in 1:56.16.
The shot put received multiple additions for both the men and the women. With a throw of 57'11¼", junior Kyle Schwochow improved his career distance by over two feet to vault from fifth to second on the men's program's all-time list. On the women's side, classmate Paige Blackburn bettered her personal-distance to 48'5½" to finish as the meet runner-up and improve her second-best all-time standing. Freshman Teresa Loya improved her mark to 45'4½" to finish fifth in the meet with the fifth-best throw in Academy history. Junior Robert Drye also scored for the men in the shot put, as he finished ninth with a distance of 52'2½".
Sophomore James Dills was the runner-up in the heptathlon with a career-best tally of 4,516 points. Contributing the 10th-highest heptathlon total in Academy history was a first-place mark of 40'9½" in the shot put and runner-up finishes in the 60-meter dash (7.29), 60-meter hurdles (8.96) and long jump (21'8¼"). Dills also finished third in the high jump (6'0"), fourth in the pole vault (10'4") and sixth in the 1000-meter run (3:09.23).
Sophomore Anthony Delgado finished third in the 400-meter dash behind a personal-best time of 48.86, while senior Chris Severino recorded a time of 49.10 to place fifth. Delagado and Severino also ran the final two legs of the 4x440-yard relay that scored for the Falcons behind a time of 3:28.05. The pair joined senior Matt Jones and junior Bryce Bergman in the race, while Bergman also scored for Air Force in the 60-meter hurdles behind a sixth-place time of 8.19.
Air Force claimed two of the top five spots in the mile, as freshman Gavin Owens and Shawn Dubbs placed fourth (4:29.74) and fifth (4:31.13), respectively. The Falcons also gained two of the top six spots in the pole vault and high jump. Sophomore Chase Cooper finished fifth in his season-debut on the pole vault, while classmate Cale Simmons took sixth with matching clearances of 16'6¾". Fellow sophomores Zach Wood and Travis Smith earned the same respective placements in the high jump, with matching clearances of 6'8¼". Sophomore Andrew Quallio rounded out the Falcons' scoring runners with a fifth-place time of 16:08.85 in the 5000-meter run.
In addition to Blackburn and Loya's scoring finishes in the shot put, the women received scoring finishes from sophomore Melissa Fuerst, junior Katie Carroll and senior Melissa Beerse. Fuerst finished fourth in the mile with a time of 5:28.42, while Beerse and Carroll collected matching seventh-place finishes in the 800-meter run (2:22.03) and pole vault (12'7½"), respectively.
Two Cadet Field House and Air Force Invitational records were set today by members of the invitational field. Unattached competitor Melinda Owen set a new pole vault standard of 14'9½", while BYU junior Ada Robinson set an AFI record 6'4¾", which matched the Cadet Field House that was originally set in 1997.
The men combined for 92 points to finish second behind meet winner BYU (106 points), who won their second consecutive Air Force Invitational title. Western State placed third with 51 points, while Wyoming (49) and Wayland Baptist (37) rounded out the top five. The women finished third with 38 points. BYU won its third straight AFI title with 116 points, while Northern Colorado (58) took second. Air Force's 38 points edged out Wyoming by one point and Wichita State by four points.
The Falcons return to action on Friday, Feb. 18, when they travel to Laramie, Wyo., for the annual Robert Shine Invitational. The meet will serve as the final tune-up before the 2011 Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, which will take place in Albuquerque, N.M., on Feb. 24-26.