Air Force Men Win Second-Straight Mountain West Title

May 11, 2013

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Highlighted by three individual titles on the final day, the Air Force men's track and field team successfully defended its conference title at the 2013 Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday, May 11, in Las Vegas, Nev. The men collected 210 points to better the field by 45 points and become the first Academy team to earn MW titles in back-to-back years.

The Falcons dominated the pole vault standings, tallying five of the top seven spots and 30 total points. Senior Cale Simmons won his second straight title with a clearance of 18'0½", while his twin brother took second with a matching clearance. Rob Simmons improved his personal clearance by over one foot to become the fourth Falcon in program history to clear 18 feet. Sophomore Joey Uhle finished third with a height of 17'4½", while junior Cort Rogers and freshman Dylan Bell finished fifth (16'4¾") and seventh (16'0¾"), respectively.

Sophomore Zach Perkins, who won the conference title in the mile during the indoor championships, added a 1500-meter title to his collection, as he clocked a conference-meet record time of 3:44.38 to take first by over one second. Patrick Corona clocked a Freshman Class Record time of 3:46.79 to finish fifth, while junior Jake Hawkins took sixth in 3:47.61.

Air Force earned a one-two sweep of the top spots in the 400-meter dash, as senior Anthony Delgado won with a career-best time of 47.76. Junior David Ptacek added the runner-up finish in that event with a personal-best time 48.39. The duo also ran on the 4x100-meter relay that took second with the fourth-fastest time in Academy history (40.57) and on the 4x400-meter relay that placed third in 3:15.60.

Joining Delgado and Ptacek on the relays were senior Uzor Udensi and sophomore Jake Spuller. In addition to their placements in the two relays, the pair captured second and fourth, respectively, in the 200-meter dash. Udensi clocked the eighth-fastest time in Academy history (21.36, a tie with former Falcon Alonzo Babers) to finish second, while Spuller clocked in at 21.71.

Freshman Grant Hamilton and senior James Chambers finished second and third, respectively, in the shot put ... a finish that marked the third time in the four throwing events that Air Force had accounted for two of the top three spots. Hamilton added over a foot to his Freshman Class Record with a toss of 57'1½" on his final attempt to take second in the meet and move into second on the Academy's all-time list, while Chambers recorded a career-best distance of 55'6½" to take third and move into eighth on the program's all-time standings.

Senior Brian Ford was the runner-up in the hammer throw with a toss of 193'9", while junior Jalen Fooster tossed a 178'11" to score for the Falcons with an eighth-place finish. Junior Alex Lindsay added a top-three finish to the men's standings, as he took third in the 800-meter run with the fourth-fastest time in Academy history (1:49.25).

The Falcons rounded out the scoring placements with three top-eight finishes in the 5000-meter run. Senior Jeremy Drenckhahn and Matt Bell, doubling up after their top-three placements in yesterday's 10,000-meter run, finished fourth (14:39.00) and seventh (14:41.31), respectively, while sophomore Elliot Myers took fifth in 14:39.26.

With all 28 members of the travel party scoring for Air Force, the men totaled 210 points to win its second straight conference title - and become the first program in Academy history to earn back-to-back titles in Mountain West history. Air Force bettered the field by 45 points, as Colorado State finished second with 165 points. New Mexico finished third with 149 points, while Boise State (108), Fresno State (90) and Wyoming (85) rounded out the scoring.

On the women's side, junior Annette Eichenberger was the runner-up in the 800-meter run, using a time of 2:07.83 to mark the first time since 2009 (and just the third time in program history) that an Air Force runner has scored in the women's 800-meter run.

The relay squad of senior Bethany Gross, freshman Naomi Alston, sophomore Morgan Malone and junior Kassie Gurnell set a new Academy record in the 4x100-meter relay, as they clocked a time of 47.29. That time, which was seventh in the field, easily broke the previous time of 47.61 that had stood since 2005.

Gross also scored for Air Force in the 400-meter dash, as she and sophomore Erica Carson finished sixth (season-best 56.20) and eighth (56.48), respectively, in the final standings. Prior to today, the Falcons had only scored in that event on one occasion, as Gross earned a seventh-place finish as a sophomore. Gurnell also added an individual event finish to her point production in the 4x100-meter relay, as she recorded a season-best distance of 41'2¼" to take fifth.

The Falcons earned multiple scoring finishes in the high jump and 1500-meter run. Juniors Regan Rogers and Rachel Herald cleared matching marks of 5'6½" to finish fifth and sixth, respectively, in the high jump, while senior Melissa Fuerst and Rebecca Esselstein placed sixth (4:31.49) and eighth (4:33.36), respectively, in the 1500-meter race. Rogers' clearance in the high jump is a career-best and the third-best clearance in program history, while Esselstein's time in the 1500 is also a personal best.

Rounding out the Falcons' scoring finishes was Jen Bremser, who placed sixth in the 5000-meter run. Bremser, who finished second in the 3000-meter steeplechase yesterday, crossed the finish line of the meet's second-longest race in a time of 17:04.40, becoming one of six runners break the Myron Partridge Stadium record.

San Diego State won the women's conference title with 182 points, while New Mexico (145.50) and Colorado State (89.50) rounded out the top three. UNLV and Nevada finished fourth (83) and fifth (78), respectively, while Fresno State (68), Boise State (66), Wyoming (56) and Air Force (51) rounded out the team standings.

The Falcons return to action on May 23-25, when select Falcons travel to Austin, Texas, for the West Preliminary Round of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The three-day event will be held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.



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