May 10, 2013
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Backed by 10 top-three finishes, the Air Force track and field team concluded the third day of competition (Friday, May 10) at the 2013 Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Las Vegas, Nev. The men claimed two of the top-three placements in four of the five finals they competed in today.
Air Force claimed three of the top four places in the high jump. Sophomore Kobi Rex and senior Travis Smith recorded matching marks of 6'9¾" (career-best for Smith) to finish second and third, respectively, while senior Zach Wood finished fourth with a height of 6'8¾".
The Falcons also recorded a trio of scoring finishes in the javelin and discus throw, including two of the top-three placements in each event.
Freshman Garrett Griffin recorded a career-best toss of 215'10" to take second in the javelin and debut in seventh on the program's all-time list (the mark is also a Freshman Class Record). Junior Tim Urista added a third-place throw of 208'0", while senior Michael Tibbs placed seventh in 175'5". In the discus, senior James Chambers collected a mark of 177'5" to finish second, while classmate Brian Ford placed third with a distance of 175'4". Freshman Grant Hamilton, competing in his first conference meet, rounded out the Falcons' scoring finishes with a seventh-place distance of 165'8".
Seniors Jeremy Drenckhahn and Matt Bell finished second and third, respectively, in the 10,000-meter run, marking the first time since 2008 that Air Force has claimed two of the top-three finishes. Drenckhahn crossed the finish line in a time of 30:29.96, while Bell was less than one second behind at 30:30.70.
Recording a wind-aided distance of 24'1" on his final attempt, sophomore Blue Kearney finished second in the long jump to become the program's first top-three finisher in that event since 2004 (incidentally, the last time the conference championship meet was held at UNLV). The mark was Kearney's best of the season in wind-aided conditions.
The 16 points in the day's final event (javelin) gave the Falcons a four-point lead in the team standings after two days of scoring. With 78 points, Air Force holds a narrow margin over Colorado State (74 points). New Mexico is currently in third with 54 points, while Wyoming is in fourth with 31 points. Boise State and Fresno State are tied with fifth with 15 points apiece.
On the women's side, senior Jen Bremser became the program's first top-three finisher in the 3000-meter steeplechase, as she finished second with a time of 10:38.53. Classmate Kate Kanetzky also scored for the Falcons in the 10,000-meter run, as she placed sixth with a time of 38:05.01.
Air Force earned a fourth-place finish in the pole vault from senior Bizzy Mellado, who matched her career-best clearance with a height of 12'11½". Mellado, who equaled the third-best clearance in Academy history, matched the program's best finish in that event since 2009.
After the third day of competition - and the first day of full scoring - Air Force is currently in sixth with 19 points. San Diego State, bolstered by a strong start yesterday in the heptathlon, leads the field with 73 points, while New Mexico (57) and Colorado State (37) are ranked second and third, respectively. Boise State is in fourth with 28 points, while just 10 points separate Nevada (20), Air Force (19), Fresno State (16), Wyoming (13) and UNLV (10).
Several qualifying races were also contested today, with several Falcons advancing to tomorrow's finals.
The men qualified a pair of athletes in the 200-meter dash and 800-meter run (the 400-meter dash and 1500-meter will only be contested as a final). Junior Alex Lindsay won the preliminary round of the 800-meter run with a career-best time of 1:50.17 (the seventh-best time in Academy history), while sophomore Zach Perkins finished fifth with a personal-best time of 1:50.63 (the 10th-best time in Academy history). Sophomore Jake Spuller and senior Uzor Udensi, who narrowly missed advancing in the 100-meter dash, qualified to the finals in the 200-meter dash with respective times of 21.48 and 21.52 (career-best).
The Falcons advanced three women to the finals of the 1500-meter run, including sophomore Rebecca Esselstein (career-best 4:31.28), senior Morgan Mosby (4:36.42) and senior Melissa Fuerst (4:36.77). The women earned multiple qualifications to the finals in the 400-meter dash, as sophomore Erica Carson and senior Bethany Gross finished eighth (56.39) and ninth (56.57), respectively. With a time of 2:09.70, junior Annette Eichenberger won her heat and finished third overall to advance to the finals of the 800-meter run.
Carson, who made personal improvement of nearly two seconds in the 400-meter dash, moved into sixth on the program's all-time list. Carson was one of two Falcons to impact the Academy's all-time standings today, as Morgan Malone clocked the program's second-fastest times in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Although she missed a spot in the finals, Malone clocked Sophomore Class Records of 12.21 in the 100-meter dash and 24.53 in the 200-meter dash.
The Falcons wrap up competition at the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships tomorrow (Saturday, May 11) at Myron Partridge Stadium. Action begins at 8 a.m. (PST), with the women's 5000-meter run, while the first field event (men's hammer throw) gets underway at 9 a.m.