Falcons Conclude Action at Air Force Relays

    Rachel Herald
    Rachel Herald

    April 6, 2013

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    USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Highlighted by six incursions to the program's all-time record book, the Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the second-annual Air Force Relays on Saturday, April 6, at the Academy's Cadet Outdoor Track and Field Complex.

    Junior Rachel Herald equaled the second-best high jump clearance in Academy history (5'7") during a fourth-place effort (a height that tied for second on the day), while freshman Angelea Ross moved into fifth on the program's all-time list in the triple jump with a third-place distance of 38'2¾". In addition, juniors Paige Shirley and Becca Bauman moved into eighth on the Academy's all-time list in the pole vault (11'11¾") and hammer throw (164'7"), respectively. Shirley finished second in the pole vault, while Bauman took sixth in the hammer throw.

    Both the men and women impacted the program's all-time standings of the 4x100-meter relay during their respective second-place performances. The men's quartet of senior Uzor Udensi, classmate Anthony Delgado, sophomore Jake Spuller and classmate Blue Kearney recorded the 10th-fastest time in program history (40.94), while the women's relay of senior Bethany Gross, freshman Naomi Alston, sophomore Morgan Malone and junior Kassie Gurnell matched the program's 10th-fastest time (48.59).

    The Falcons collected eight first-place finishes during their first home meet of the outdoor season, including a sweep of the pole vault and distance medley relay titles. Sophomore Joey Uhle cleared 18-feet for the second straight week, as he won the pole vault with a clearance of 18'0". His win came just after senior Bizzy Mellado won the women's event with a season-best height of 12'10". Mellado also ran the 400-meter leg of the distance medley relay that won its race in a time of 12:47.22 (sophomore Rebecca Esselstein, freshman Hannah Everson, Taylor Drolshagen). The men completed the sweep of the Falcons' DMR titles, as freshmen Grant Caswell, Steel Shoaf, Patrick Corona and Kevin Mihalik won the men's race in 10:28.14.

    The men also earned a victory in the 4x400-meter relay, as Udensi, junior David Ptacek, Delgado and Spuller clocked in at 3:16.77 for an easy five-second victory. Gurnell, who ran the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay the clocked the program's 10th-fastest time, won the triple jump with a distance of 40'10½", while the quartet of sophomore Erica Carson, junior Heather Shepard, Malone and Gross won the 4x200-meter relay in a time of 1:43.55.

    Sophomore Nikki Freeman won the javelin throw with a toss of 139'10", while pacing the Falcons to four of the top-five finishes, including the top four collegiate finishes. Junior Kim Smith finished third in the overall standings with a toss of 127'11", while classmate Alana Piccone and freshman Jacki French finished fourth (120'7") and fifth (111'6"), respectively.

    Uhle led the Falcons to a sweep of the top three spots in the pole vault, as senior Rob Simmons and freshman Dylan Bell finished second (season-best 16'6¾") and third (16'0¾"), respectively. The men also picked up three of the top-five finishes in the high jump and 110-meter hurdles. Sophomore Kobi Rex and senior Zach Wood tied for second in the high jump with matching marks of 6'6¾" (a season-best for Wood), while senior Travis Smith placed fourth with the same clearance (season-best matching). In the 110-meter hurdles, freshman Joe Wilkin was the runner-up with a career-best time of 14.86, while sophomores Edmund Duvall and Casey Riggs placed fourth (15.49) and fifth (15.64).

    Air Force also claimed two of the top-five placements four additional events. Kearney and sophomore Kyle Gartrell finished second (22'2½") and third (career-best 20'10¾"), respectively, in the long jump, while junior Carl Eifert (16:06.41) and sophomore Zack Christenson (16:10.03) claimed the same finishes in the 5000-meter run. Junior Tim Urista finished second in the javelin throw (206'9"), while freshman Garrett Griffin made his 2013 debut with a third-place distance of 194'10½". The duo of freshmen Casey Peloquin and Sean Bapty added top-five marks in the 2000-meter steeplechase, as they finished third (6:44.87) and fourth (6:50.83), respectively, in their first steeplechase.

    In addition to his top-five finish in the long jump, Kearney also picked up a top-five finish in the triple jump, as he recorded a season-best clearance of 45'3¾" to finish fourth. Senior Brian Ford earned a pair of top-five finishes, including the top collegiate finish in the hammer throw. Ford tossed a 193'1¼" in the hammer to finish fourth overall (top collegiate), while earning the same overall placement in the discus throw (167'4") to finish second among collegiate competitors.

    Ptacek, freshman Lucas Brown, Duvall and freshman Stone Shoaf finished third in the sprint medley relay (3:40.57), while freshman Jordan McCool clocked a career-best 55.72 in the 400-meter hurdles to claim the same position. Freshman Grant Hamilton rounded out the Falcons' top-five finishers with a fifth-place finish of 51'3" in the shot put.

    The women added five additional top-five finishes. Individually, junior Regan Rogers made her debut in the 400-meter hurdles, placing fourth in a time of 69.00, while sophomore Danielle Tabb picked up the same placement in the shot put (43'3¼") and senior Katy Moorkamp finished fifth in the discus throw with a toss of 138'10¾". In addition, the 4x400-meter relay of Gross, Alston, Ross and Gurnell finished second with a time of 3:55.04, while the sprint medley relay of Shepard, sophomore Sierra Schepper, Carson and freshman Emily Wagemaker finished third in 4:28.20.

    The Falcons remain at the Academy for the next week, as they host the New Mexico and Northern Colorado in a triangular meet at the Cadet Outdoor Track and Field Complex on Friday, April 12. The meet is schedule to begin at 2 p.m., with the women's hammer throw and the men's discus throw.

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