April 28, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa - Highlighted by three incursions to the program's all-time record book, the Air Force track and field team opened competition at the 103rd Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 27. Two women's relays accounted for the second-fastest times in program history, while Andrew Quallio made his debut on the all-time 10K list.
The women posted the second-fastest relay times in Academy history In both the 4x800 and distance medley relay events. The quartet of freshman Taylor Drolshagen, junior Morgan Mosby, classmate Melissa Fuerst and freshman Rebecca Esselstein clocked a 4x800-meter relay time of 9:13.04 to post the Academy's fastest time since 1984 and finish 15th overall in the event.
Mosby, Esselstein and Fuerst also competed in the distance medley relay, with junior Bethany Gross taking the 400-meter leg. The Falcons crossed the finish line in a 12th-place time of 11:50.86 - the second-fastest time in program history and the best since 2005.
Quallio impacted the Academy's record book during his debut in the 10,000-meter run. The only Air Force athlete to compete on Thursday (April 26) night, Quallio was the runner-up in the 31-runner 10K race behind a time of 29:51.96. Quallio, just the ninth Air Force runner to break the 30-minute mark in the 10,000-meter event, Quallio debuted in eighth on the program's all-time list.
The men competed in three relays during Friday's competition. The 4x1600-meter squad of freshman Zach Perkins, senior Nick White, sophomore Lance Wolfsmith and classmate Jake Hawkins finished fifth in the 4x1600-meter race with a time of 16:52.98. White also competed on the Falcons' 4x800-meter relay team that finished 12th with a time of 7:37.53, joining sophomore Matt Caldwell, sophomore Alex Lindsay and senior Alex Zubey.
The team of senior Bryce Bergman, classmate Manny Smith, freshman Jake Spuller and junior Anthony Delgado clocked a time of 3:13.85 to place 15th in the preliminary heat of the 4x400-meter relay.
From the field, Paige Blackburn paced the Falcons with a pair of top-10 finishes. The senior placed ninth in the javelin throw with a toss of 145'6", while finishing 10th in the discus throw with a mark of 170'6". Blackburn also participated in the shot put, finishing 27th with a toss of 45'5¼".
Blackburn was one of four Falcons to compete in the javelin throw. Sophomore Kim Smith finished 17th with a distance of 126'2", while freshman Nichole Freeman placed 18th with a toss of 124'5". On the men's side, sophomore Tim Urista used a throw of 188'3" to place 13th.
Senior Kimber Shealy finished 12th in the pole vault with a clearance of 12'7½", while freshman Kobi Rex and junior Zach Wood tied for 15th in the high jump with marks of 6'6¾". Senior Kyle Schwochow rounded out the Falcons' place-finishers, as he threw a 49'10½" to finish 24th in the shot put.
Air Force concludes action at the Drake Relays on Saturday, April 28, while the rest of the Air Force team will compete at the Jack Christiansen Invitational in Fort Collins, Colo.