Two Titles, Two Records Highlight Final Day of MW Championships
Feb. 23, 2013
NAMPA, Idaho - The men picked up two conference titles and the women broke a pair of Academy records, as the Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the 2013 Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday (Feb. 23) in Nampa, Idaho.
Sophomores Zach Perkins and Joey Uhle captured event titles for the men's team, winning the mile run and pole vault, respectively, while senior Jen Bremser broke the 23-year-old Academy record in the women's 3000-meter run and junior Kassie Gurnell improved her own standard in the triple jump.
With a career-best clearance of 17'9¾", Uhle paced the Falcons to five of the eight scoring placements in the pole vault. Uhle, who improved his overall height by seven inches to move into fifth on the program's all-time list, became the third Air Force vaulter in the last four years to earn a MW title.
Senior Cale Simmons captured third place with a clearance of 17'2¾", while freshman Dylan Bell and senior Rob Simmons finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with matching clearances of 16'10¾" (season-high for Simmons). Junior Cort Rogers rounded out the scoring Falcons, as he finished seventh with a height of 16'2¾".
In the men's first race of the day, Perkins crossed the finish line in a time of 4:08.23 to pick up his first conference title. Freshman Patrick Corona also scored for the Falcons in the mile, clocking in at 4:13.09 to finish eighth in his first MW Championship meet.
The men earned five runner-up finishes, including three that led to multiple scoring finishes in their respective events.
Senior Matt Bell, who finished second in the 5000-meter run last night, returned to the track today and clocked a 3000-meter time of 8:19.65 to finish second in his first-ever indoor 3000-meter race. Juniors Jake Hawkins and Isaiah Bragg also scored in that event, as they used personal-best times to finish fifth (8:21.97) and sixth (8:22.09), respectively.
Sophomore Jake Spuller and senior Uzor Udensi combined for two of the top-three finishes in the 200-meter dash, marking the first time in program history that Air Force has earned more than one top-three placement in that event. Spuller clocked the ninth-fastest time in Academy history (21.71) to finish second, while Udensi finished close behind with a season-best, third-place time of 21.76. Junior Alex Lindsay also picked up a runner-up finish on the track, as he clocked a season-best time of 1:51.28 to take second in the 800-meter run.
Spuller, Udensi and Lindsay added another silver medal to their haul, as they teamed with junior David Ptacek to finish second in the 4x400-meter relay with a season-best time of 3:16.25. Ptacek also scored for the Falcons in the 400-meter run, as he finished sixth with a time of 49.23.
Bremser's 3000-meter race highlighted several incursions to the program's record book during the final day of Mountain West competition for the women's program.
Clocking the second-fastest 3000-meter time in MW Championship meet history (9:40.73), Bremser cut over one second from the previous Academy record time that Callie Calhoun had held since the 1990 season. Bremser, who finished fourth in the 5000-meter race yesterday, cut over 17 seconds off of her previous best 3000-meter time to take second and pace a pair of Falcons to scoring finishes, as classmate Melissa Fuerst finished eighth with a time of 9:46.92.
Gurnell and freshman Angelea Ross did damage to the Academy's top-10 list in the triple jump, en route to a pair of top-five finishes in the conference standings. Gurnell broke her own program standard, as she recorded a distance of 41'5" on her final attempt to finish third. The mark, a seasonal improvement of nearly one foot, betters the Junior Class Record she already held. Ross, who improved her overall distance by nearly a foot during the competition, finished fifth in the standings after hitting the sand at 39'7¼" on her fifth attempt. The distance, which came on her second personal improvement of the day, is ranked second on the all-time list.
The women received a second runner-up finish from junior Annette Eichenberger, who earned her placement with the second-fastest 800-meter time in Academy history (2:09.80). Eichenberger, who deleted two seconds from her previous best time, finished second in the conference finals by the narrowest of margins (0:00.05).
Prior to Bremser and Eichenberger's respective runner-up finishes today, only one Air Force runner had ever placed within the top three of an individual women's track event at the conference championship meet.
Eichenberger also tallied points for the Falcons as a member of the 4x400-meter relay team that finished seventh in a time of 3:50.04. She anchored senior Bethany Gross, classmate Morgan Mosby and sophomore Morgan Malone to the second-fastest time in Academy history. Mosby also picked up a scoring finish for Air Force, as she placed eighth in the mile with a time of 5:03.73.
The men finished second in the five-team standings with 145 points. New Mexico won its first team title with 185 points, while Air Force edged Boise State for second (145-141). Colorado State placed fourth with 102 points and Wyoming rounded out the field with 72 points.
The women tallied a program-best 59.33 points to finish sixth - the best team placement in program history. San Diego State captured its first MW title with 123 points, while New Mexico finished second with 103. Nevada (86, third), Boise State (77.33, fourth) and UNLV (66, fifth) rounded out the top five, while Air Force slipped past Colorado State for sixth (59.33-58.33). Wyoming (53, eighth) and Fresno State (38, ninth) rounded out the nine-team women's field.
Select Falcons return to action next weekend (March 1-2), when they travel to South Bend, Ind., for Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational.