May 3, 2014
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Air Force track and field team claimed a pair of first-place finishes and made four adjustments to the Academy record book during the Ward Haylett Invitational this afternoon (May 3) in Manhattan, Kan. The men finished third in the scored competition, while the women placed fourth.
Senior Kassie Gurnell and sophomore Sean Bapty claimed event titles for the Falcons at R.V. Christian Track, winning the triple jump and 3000-meter steeplechase, respectively. Gurnell recorded a distance of 40'7½" to win the triple jump by over one foot, while Bapty cut 15 seconds from his previous best steeplechase time to win the event by seven seconds (9:28.91).
In addition to her win in the triple jump, Gurnell scored for Air Force in the 200-meter dash and led off the 4x100-meter relay team that clocked the second-fastest time in Academy history. The quartet, which included sophomore Naomi Alston, junior Morgan Malone and freshman Cecily Agu, finished third in the meet with a time of 47.36.
The relay was one of four changes made to the Academy record book, while senior Rachel Herald matched her own program standard in the high jump with a runner-up clearance of 5'8¾". Freshman Cydnee Reese recorded the program's fifth-best distance in the discus throw with a toss of 157'10", while classmate Alexa Chacon posted the Academy's sixth-fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles (14.63). Classmate Darby Maier continued his climb up the men's all-time standings in the shot put, as he recorded the third-best mark in Academy history (57'2¼") and broke the program's one-year-old Freshman Class Record during a runner-up finish in that event.
The men added another pair of runner-up finishes from the field, as Air Force claimed two of the top-three spots in both the pole vault and javelin throw. Sophomore Dylan Bell and junior Joey Uhle finished second and third, respectively, in the pole vault with matching marks of 17'2¾", while senior Tim Urista and sophomore Garrett Griffin both surpassed the 200-foot mark for the first time this season to earn the same placements in the javelin. Urista finished second with a toss of 204'11", while Griffin took third behind a throw of 202'4".
Air Force added multiple top-five finishes in four additional events. Freshman Kyle Jameson and sophomore Jordan McCool finished third (53.66) and fourth (53.71), respectively, in the 400-meter hurdles, while senior Jake Hawkins (3:53.86) and sophomore Kevin Mihalik (career-best 3:55.03) earned the same finishes in the 1500-meter run. Sophomore Joey Wilkin clocked a wind-aided time of 14.51 to take third in the 110-meter hurdles, while junior Casey Riggs placed fifth with a personal-best time of 14.94. Senior Charlie Perkins and junior Riley Coates accounted for top-five placements in the 5000-meter run, as they finished fourth (debut 14:49.71) and fifth (14:50.74), respectively.
Junior Kyle Gartrell placed third in the triple jump (46'5½"), while the 4x100-meter relay of freshman Chandler Myers, classmate Zach Johnson, senior Josh Nielsen and classmate David Ptacek picked up the same finish with a time of 41.74. Johnson added a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter dash (10.80) and a fifth-place finish in the 200-meter dash (wind-aided 21.58), while senior William Kent took fourth in the hammer throw (171'7") and sophomore Spencer Baldwin finished fifth in the discus throw (159'11").
In addition to the third-place time in the relay, the women picked up four other third-place finishes, two from the track and another two from the field. On the track, Malone clocked her best (legal-wind) time of the season in the 100-meter dash (12.24 ... a time just 0.03 off of her career best), while freshman Lindy Long cut 14 seconds off of her time in the 5000-meter run to place third in 17:59.47. Junior Danielle Tabb claimed that placement following a throw of 45'10" in the shot put and senior Becca Bauman finished third in the hammer throw with a distance of 166'3".
Senior Kim Smith finished fourth in the javelin throw (season-best 138'2"), while Alston and freshman Zoe Casteel placed fifth in the 400-meter dash (57.57) and pole vault (career-best 11'5¾"), respectively.
The men finished third with a 1-2 mark, falling to Wichita State (113-85) and Kansas (92-89), while earning a narrow 91-90 win over host Kansas State. The women finished fourth behind Wichita State (117-76), Kansas State (94-81) and Kansas (93-78).
The Falcons close out the regular season on Friday, May 9, when they host the Air Force Twilight Invitational in the program's final competition before the Mountain West Outdoor Championships. Action is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m., at the Academy's Cadet Outdoor Track and Field Complex.