Three Champions Highlight Final Day of MWC Championships
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Senior Olivia Korte (discus throw), junior Kevin Hawkins (800-meter run) and freshman Nick Frawley (pole vault) each picked up conference titles, as the Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the Mountain West Conference Championships on Saturday, May 12, in San Diego, Calif. The Falcons picked up 10 all-conference honors today, as the men and women finished third and seventh, respectively.
With a career-best 177'3", Korte set a new Academy record as she won her first conference title in the discus. Topping her old program standard (175'5") by nearly two feet, Korte also set a new MWC Championship meet record, edging out Colorado State graduate Loree Smith's 2001 record of 177'1". Korte led the Falcons to a one-two finish, as freshman Sara Neubauer finished second with a career-best, NCAA Regional Qualifying Mark of 160'11", which is the second-best throw in Air Force history.
Hawkins crossed the finish line of the 800-meter run in 1:50.66 to earn his second career conference title. Hawkins, who also won the 800-meter title at the indoor meet in February, became the Falcons' first outdoor champion in this event since 1994 and only the second in Academy history. Classmate Calvin Glass bolstered the Falcons' point total with a sixth-place time of 1:53.87.
With a NCAA Regional Qualifying Mark of 17'5½", Frawley claimed his first conference title. As the only non-BYU vaulter in the top five, Frawley out-distanced himself from the field by four inches. That mark, which is a career-best by over a foot, is the fourth-best height in Academy history. Frawley is the Falcons' first pole vault champion since Paul Gensic won it as a freshman at the 2002 MWC Championships.
As a team, the Falcons accounted for 146 points to finish third. BYU won its eighth straight title with 214 points. Colorado State (166) finished second, just 20 points ahead of third-place Air Force. TCU (123), Wyoming (88) and New Mexico (75) rounded out the field of competition.
Sophomore Kellen Curry was the runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line in 14.23. In addition to claiming all-conference honors, Curry timed the eighth-fastest speed in Academy history. Junior Travis Picou also earned all-MWC honors as the runner-up in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.39. He and senior Nick Luina, who finished sixth with a time of 22.02, were the only two sprinters in the top seven that were not a member of the TCU squad.
In addition to his finish in the 200-meter dash, Picou also earned third-place all-conference honors in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.60, while Curry added fifth-place points after crossing the finish line in 10.82. Luina, Curry and Picou also claimed all-conference honors as a member of the 4x100-meter relay team that finished third. Teaming up with junior John Payne, the quartet crossed the finish line in 41.26.
Sophomore Kirk Devine added points to the Falcons' cause, while moving up the program's all-time standings at the same time. Tossing a NCAA Regional Qualifying discus distance of 176'6", Devine finished fourth in the event. That mark, which is a career-best throw by over six feet and the fifth-best time in Academy history, displaced the former Sophomore Class Record that had stood since 1992.
Luina and junior Kyle Meakins scored for the Falcons in the finals of the 400-meter dash. Clocking a time of 47.80, Luina placed fourth, while Meakins finished eighth in 49.31. Sophomore Dan Castle picked up a seventh-place time of 3:52.85 in the 1500-meter run. With a seventh-place finish of 53.88 in the 400-meter hurdles, Payne earned additional points for Air Force.
The Falcons received points from four competitors in the 5000-meter run. Sophomore Sean Houseworth clocked a time of 14:42. 57 to take fifth, while classmate Matt Williams finished sixth in 14:47.42. Juniors Ian McFarland (14:49.71) and Josh van Wyngaarden (14:57.80) rounded out the scoring contingent with respective seventh- and eighth-place finishes.
Payne, Hawkins, Picou and Luina also earned a fifth-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:15.38. Freshman Dan Paladino rounded out the Air Force scorers with an eighth-place throw of 47'4¼" in the shot put.
Back on the women's side, the Falcons accumulated 47.50 points for a seventh-place team finish. BYU won its fourth straight MWC title with 195 points, while TCU took second with 152 points. San Diego State (128) rounded out the top three, while Colorado State (119) finished fourth. New Mexico scored 68 points to take fifth, while Utah edged out the Falcons by two points for sixth. Wyoming (42) and UNLV (18) rounded out the women's field.
Neubauer and Korte also earned all-conference honors in the shot put as they finished second and third, respectively, with NCAA Regional Qualifying Marks. Neubauer was the event runner up with a throw of 48'3½", while Korte set a new Senior Class Record of 48'2" - the second-best throw in Academy history - to take third.
The women also received points from junior Kelly Robinson, who finished sixth in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:28.54. Freshman Ally Romanko added a point to the total, as she finished eighth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:12.57.
During the course of the 2007 championships, Air Force accounted for six overall champions. That is the most ever for an Air Force team - indoor or outdoor - during its history as a member of both the WAC and MWC.
Air Force has a week off from competition, while several of its athletes prepare for the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships. The two-day regional meet begins Friday, May 25, in Des Moines, Iowa. The top five competitors from each event earn an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championships, which are scheduled from June 6-9 in Sacramento, Calif.