Falcons Have Strong Showing at Air Force Relays
April 7, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The track and field team wrapped up an impressive day of competition at the Air Force Relays on April 7, at the newly renovated Cadet Outdoor Track and Field Complex. The Falcons accounted for 19 first-place finishes and made seven incursions to the program record book, while hosting their first outdoor team competition at the Academy since 2006.
Senior Paige Blackburn was the top collegiate finisher in the hammer throw, recording a career-best 178'0" to move from fifth to second on the Academy's all-time list. Sophomore Becca Bauman improved her distance in that event by over seven feet to move into ninth on the all-time list.
Blackburn also won the shot put (45'9¼"), while freshman Danielle Tabb debuted in ninth on the all-time list with a distance of 42'0½" to finish second in the overall standings. Sophomore Jackie Ahloo (40'9¾") and senior Rachel Gebauer (39'3") finished third and fourth, respectively, to help the Falcons to a sweep of the top four spots.
Sophomore Rachel Herald won the women's high jump with a career-best distance of 5'6" - the third-best mark in program history, while freshman Kobi Rex took first in the men's high jump with the fourth-best clearance in Academy history at 6'11".Air Force also picked up a pair of top-three finishes in the high jump, as junior Travis Smith (career-best 6'9¾", second) and sophomore Regan Rogers (5'3", third) placed in the men's and women's events, respectively.
Junior Bizzy Mellado won the pole vault with a career-best 12'7½" to move into fourth on the all-time list, while sophomore Tim Urista improved his sixth-place standing in the Academy javelin records with a winning throw of 216'11". Seniors Kimber Shealy (12'3½") and Tawney Lambuth (11'3¾") placed second and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault behind Mellado, while Urista was one of three Falcons to finish within the top four, joining junior Michael Tibbs (career-best 177'9", third) and sophomore Brad Hackert (career-best 165'7", fourth).
Air Force also claimed the top-two spots in three more events. Seniors Rachel Thomas (1:04.49) and Emily Cotharn (1:04.73) finished first and second, respectively, in the 400-meter hurdles, while freshman Nichole Freeman (138'11") and sophomore Kim Smith (133'0") earned the same placements in the javelin throw. On the men's side, senior James Cole won the shot put with a career-best toss of 53'7", while classmate Sean Herbison finished second with a distance of 52'3¼".
The Falcons also earned the top two collegiate finishes in the women's discus throw and men's 5000-meter run. Blackburn won the discus throw (165'3"), while Tabb finished second among collegiate throwers with a mark of 139'11". Sophomore Isaiah Bragg clocked a time of 15:29.45 to win the 5000-meter run, while junior Andrew Quallio was the second-fastest collegian at 15:31.91.
Junior Jen Bremser won the 2000-meter steeplechase in 7:30.34, while sophomore Kassie Gurnell took first in the triple jump with a mark of 40'1½". Junior Cale Simmons won the pole vault with a height of 17'1¾", while Cole was the top collegiate finisher in the discus throw (173'8") behind Olympian Casey Malone.
Freshman Blue Kearney was the runner-up in the long jump (23'3¼") and triple jump (43'8½"), while classmate Kyle Gartrell finished third in the triple jump (43'7"). Senior Jared Barkemeyer also picked up a top-three finish, placing third in the hammer throw with a personal-best toss of 172'3".
In the more-commonly contested relays, Air Force won the 4x400-meter event behind a winning time of 3:14.15 from sophomore David Ptacek, junior Anthony Delgado, freshman Jake Spuller and senior Manny Smith. The men's team of sophomore Michael Craig, junior Uzor Udensi, Ptacek and junior James MacAndrew finished second in the 4x100-meter relay (42.53).
On the women's side, Air Force was the runner-up in the 4x100-meter relay, as junior Bethany Gross, freshman Erica Carson, classmate Morgan Malone and sophomore Kassie Gurnell made their season-debut in that distance with a time of 48.94. Gross, Thomas, Malone and senior Phaelen French also finished second in the 4x400-meter relay, behind a time of 3:58.96.
The Air Force Relays provided the Falcons an opportunity to compete in several non-traditional races. The women won the 4x800-meter relay (9:51.63) and 1600 sprint medley (4:15.65), while finishing second in the distance medley relay (12:59.78), second in the 4x100-meter shuttle hurdle relay (1:03.52) and third in the 4x200-meter relay (1:45.98). The men finished second in the 4x200-meter relay (1:30.78), 4x400-meter hurdle relay (3:58.73), distance medley relay (10:31.02) and 4x110-meter shuttle hurdle relay (1:02.85).
The Falcons return to action next weekend, when they travel to Boulder, Colo., for the annual Colorado Invitational on April 13-14.