May 26, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - Air Force junior Cale Simmons earned a spot to next month's NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the pole vault after placing seventh in that event during the West Preliminary Meet on Saturday, May 26, in Austin, Texas.
Simmons, who earned All-America honors at the national indoor meet, cleared 17'6½" to advance to his first NCAA Outdoor Championship. After passing on the opening three heights, the junior entered the competition at the 17'6½", clearing the bar on his first attempt to earn a spot among the top 12. With the top six finishers clearing 17'8½", Simmons finished the semifinal meet tied for seventh.
Joey Uhle matched Simmons' height of 17'6½" to finish 14th in the 48-vaulter semifinal. That mark, a personal improvement for Uhle by nearly four inches, is the sixth-best clearance in program history. That clearance is also a new Freshman Class Record for the Academy, as Uhle bettered the previous mark of 17'5¾" that Paul Gensic had held since 2002.
However, despite tying for the second-best height of the day, Uhle missed the national finals by just two places, based on the tie-breaking procedures. Junior Chase Cooper also competed in the semifinals of the pole vault, clearing 16'8¾" to finish 32nd overall, based on tie-breakers, as that height was tied for the fourth-best clearance of the day.
Senior Jim Walmsley finished 16th in the national semifinal of the 5000-meter run with a time of 14:29.54, while classmate James Cole used a throw of 176'1" to place 19th in the semifinals of the discus throw, Junior Zach Wood cleared 6'9¾" to finish 26th in the national semifinal of the high jump, while freshman Kobi Rex cleared 6'8" to tie for 37th. Senior Alex Zubey competed in the national quarterfinal of the 1500-meter run, where he clocked a time of 3:49.04 to finish 15th.
On the women's side, sophomore Kassie Gurnell finished 40th in the triple jump with a distance of 39'4".
Simmons and Walmsley, who advanced to the semifinals of the 3000-meter steeplechase last night, return to action June 6-9 at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.