May 25, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - Backed by the fourth-fastest time in Academy history, Air Force senior Jim Walmsley punched his ticket to next month's NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3000-meter steeplechase during the second day of action at the West Preliminary Meet on May 25, in Austin, Texas.
Crossing the finish line in a career-best time of 8:51.65, Walmsley placed fifth in the opening heat of the steeplechase's national quarterfinal. The top three finishers from each heat earned an automatic berth to the next round, as well as the next three fastest runners (regardless of heat). Despite competing in the first heat, Walmsley's time remained one of the fastest in the 48-runner field, as he placed seventh overall, with a time that bettered four of the automatic qualifiers in the two latter races.
Walmsley, who improved his time by seven seconds during tonight's race, moved into fourth on the program's all-time list. With his finish, Walmsley advanced to the NCAA Championships next month in Des Moines, Iowa. The 12 finalists from tonight's quarterfinal will join their counterparts from the East Preliminary Meet at Drake Stadium for the national semifinals on Thursday, June 7.
Four Air Force seniors closed out impressive collegiate careers at Mike A. Myers Stadium today, as they competed in the national semifinals of their respective field events.
Rob Drye finished 14th in the hammer throw with a distance of 199'6", matching his finish from last year's NCAA semifinals and missing a spot in the finals by just two places. After fouling on his first two attempts, Drye recorded the toss of 199'6" to advance to the second round as one of the field's top 16 throwers. He added a throw of 194'1", before finishing the meet ranked 14th. Drye was one of two Falcons to compete in the hammer throw, as Sean Herbison recorded a distance of 189'0" to place 32nd.
With a clearance of 12'10¼", Kimber Shealy finished within the top half of the field in the pole vault. Placing 20th overall, Shealy's clearance was tied for the third-best height of the day. Paige Blackburn, competing in her second event in as many days, finished within the top half of the discus throw field, as she tossed a 163'10" to finish 23rd.
Also wrapping up an impressive collegiate career was Bryce Bergman, who participated in the first round of competition for the 110-meter hurdles. Bergman, who competed in the first round of the 400-meter hurdles yesterday, placed 41st in the 110-meter event with a time of 14.43.
The 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (West Preliminary) will conclude tomorrow (May 26) in Austin, Texas. Air Force will participate in six events during the final day of competition, beginning at 11 a.m. (CST) with the men's discus throw.