Rachel Thomas Breaks 400-Meter Hurdles Record at Tailwind Invitational
April 2, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Air Force junior Rachel Thomas broke the program record in the 400-meter hurdles and four other adjustments were made to the women's top-10 lists, as the Air Force track and field team concluded competition at the Tailwind Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday, April 2. Thomas was one of five women to impact the top three rankings in their respective events.
Thomas clocked a career-best time of 1:02.50 to place second in the 400-meter hurdles. That time broke Ainsley Thrailkill's 2002 record of 62.65 and Arcolar Harrison's 1985 Junior Class Record of 62.84. In addition to Thomas' new program standard, classmate Emily Cotharn recorded the eighth-fastest time in Academy history (1:03.86) to place fifth.
Freshman Kassie Gurnell debuted in third on the Academy's all-time triple jump list, as she recorded a distance of 39'1¼" to place fourth in the meet. Classmate Regan Rogers also moved into the program record books, clearing the third-best high jump bar in program history at 5'6". Sophomore Bizzy Mellado improved her pole vault clearance to from 11'9" to 12'6¾" to move into fourth on the program's all-time list, as she finished fourth overall.
In addition, freshman Becca Bauman recorded the 10th-best hammer throw distance in program history at 150'9".
In addition to the marks set by Rogers and Mellado, Air Force earned an additional top-six finishes in both of those events. Sophomore Lesly Torres placed sixth in the high jump at 5'2¼", while senior Melissa Beerse cleared 12'0¾" to earn the same placement in the pole vault.
Senior Christina Burke placed third in the discus throw with a toss of 138'6", while Bauman finished fifth with a distance of 137'11". Freshmen Alana Piccone and Ashley Christ placed fourth (114'4") and fifth (106'4") in the javelin throw.
On the men's side, freshman Mike Lauritzen won his second javelin title of the season, behind a toss of 190'6", while sophomore decathlete Michael Tibbs placed sixth in that event at 160'2". Tibbs also finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.44) and tied with freshman Elliott Beski for sixth in the pole vault at 14'3¼".
Senior Tyler Stanley was the runner-up in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:51.72, while sophomore Cameron Edwards finished fifth in 1:54.47. Stanley also ran the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay that clocked a time of 3:23.22 to finish sixth. Joining Stanley on the relay was classmate Matt Jones and freshmen Michael Craig and David Ptacek. Jones also finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles (54.84), while Ptacek placed fifth in the 400-meter dash (49.98). Freshman Drew Coleman rounded out the Falcons' top-six finishers from the track, placing sixth in both the 100-meter (10.98) and 200-meter (22.73) dashes.
From the field, Air Force accounted for a pair of top-six finishes in both the hammer and discus throws. Freshman Nate Bratka took third in the discus throw with a toss of 151'3", while classmate Spencer Baldwin threw a 149'10" to finish fifth. Baldwin also placed fifth in the shot put (45'5¾"), while freshman Jalen Fooster and junior Jared Barkemeyer finished fifth (158'1") and sixth (156'7"), respectively, in the hammer throw.