April 29, 2012
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Highlighted by one Academy record and four first-place finishes, the Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the Jack Christiansen Invitational on Saturday, April 28, in Fort Collins, Colo. The men placed second, while the women finished fifth.
Senior Rachel Thomas set an Academy record in the 400-meter hurdles, after cutting nearly one second off of her previous best time. Thomas, who finished third in the meet, set a new Senior Class Record, while bettering the old program record by 0.15 seconds.
Two Falcons claimed first-place finishes while moving into the program's top-10 lists of their respective events. Senior Sean Herbison won the hammer throw with a career-best throw of 196'10", while junior Chase Cooper cleared 16'9½" to take first in the pole vault. Herbison's throw, a personal improvement of nearly 15 feet, is the third-best distance in Academy history, while Cooper tied for ninth with his career-best height.
Air Force also claimed a first-place finish in the women's pole vault, as junior Bizzy Mellado won the event with a clearance of 12'4 ¾".
Cooper and Mellado paced Air Force to four scoring placements in both the men's and women's pole vaults. On the men's side, sophomore Cort Rogers and freshman Joey Uhle tied for second with matching 15'9¼" heights, while sophomore Elliott Beski placed fourth with a clearance of 15'3½". On the women's side, senior Tawny Lambuth cleared 11'5" to take second, while sophomores Libby Westfall and Paige Shirley finished fourth (10'11") and eighth (10'5¼"), respectively.
Sophomore Isaiah Bragg won the 5000-meter run to round out the Falcons' event winners, as he crossed the finish line in a time of 15:30.41 to better the field by 17 seconds. Freshman Riley Coates was the event's runner-up, behind a time of 15:47.82.
Coates was one of six additional Falcons to place within the top three of their respective events. Junior James Chambers was the runner-up in the discus throw with a season-best 166'5", while classmate Travis Smith claimed the same placement in the high jump (6'7"). Fellow juniors Uzor Udensi and Michael Tibbs finished third in the 200-meter dash (21.76) and javelin throw (176'5"), respectively, while freshman Kyle Gartrell took the same placement in the triple jump (45'0¼").
Herbison and Chambers also scored for the Falcons in the shot put, as Herbison took fifth (51'4½") and Chambers placed sixth (career-best 51'2¼"). Udensi added a fifth-place time of 11.10 in the 100-meter dash, while Gartrell also finished sixth in the long jump (20'10").
Tibbs was one of three throwers to score in the javelin, as sophomores Brad Hackert and Nate Bratka finished fifth (151'6") and sixth (150'0"), respectively. Freshman Evan McDowell also scored for the Falcons in the high jump, recording a career-best height of 6'5", and sophomore Michael Craig finished sixth in both the 100-meter (11.19) and 200-meter (22.14) sprints.
The men also earned multiple scoring finishes in two additional events. Sophomores Josh Nielsen and David Ptacek placed sixth (49.19) and eighth (49.38), respectively, in the 400-meter dash, while sophomore Gavin Owens and freshman Elliot Myers finished sixth (4:00.22) and seventh (4:03.24), respectively, in the 1500-meter run.
On the women's side, Air Force claimed three scoring finishes in the discus throw, as sophomore Becca Bauman, junior Katy Moorkamp and freshman Danielle Tabb finished fifth (143'4"), sixth (143'0") and seventh (132'10"), respectively. The Falcons claimed a pair of top-eight finishes in the javelin throw, as well, with sophomore Alana Piccone finished fifth (118'0") and classmate Annalyse Schmitt placed seventh (108'11").
The Falcons also earned multiple scoring finishes in the 800-meter and 1500-meter events. Sophomore Annette Eichenberger clocked a time of 2:23.21 to finish seventh in the 800-meter race, while senior Phaelen French timed 2:24.24 to take eighth. Sophomore Amanda Blain and freshman Heather Connick earned the same placements in the 1500-meter run, as Blain clocked a time of 4:58.65 (seventh) and Connick finished in 4:59.12.
Three more additional members of the women's team scored for the Falcons on Saturday. Senior Jordyn Stoddard finished fifth in the triple jump (36'7"), while junior Kate Kanetzky took sixth in the 5000-meter run (18:57.80) and sophomore Rachel Herald cleared 5'4¼" to place seventh in the high jump.
The men accumulated 127.83 points to finish second among 10 teams. Colorado State won its own meet with 182.33 points, while Wyoming (115 points, third), Colorado (95.50, fourth) and Adams State (80, fifth) joined the Falcons in the top five. Northern Colorado placed sixth with 59.33 points, while Chadron State (32.50), South Dakota Mines (13.50), Black Hills State (13) and Kansas (8) rounded out the field.
The women tallied 56.50 points to finish fifth. The Rams scored 190 points to win their own invitational, while Wyoming finished second with 157.50 points. Northern Colorado (99.50) and Colorado (82) placed third and fourth, respectively, while Adams State (48), Chadron State (34), Black Hills State (14) and South Dakota Mines (1.50) rounded out the nine-team field.
Air Force returns to action next Friday (May 4), when it hosts the annual Front Range Classic at the Cadet Outdoor Track and Field Complex. The Falcons will welcome Colorado, Colorado State, New Mexico, Northern Colorado and Wyoming to the Academy for its final regular season competition.