James Cole Earns Bid to NCAA Championships in the Discus Throw
May 28, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. - Backed by the second-best discus throw in Academy history, Air Force junior James Cole qualified to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships during the final day of competition at the West Preliminary Meet in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, May 28. With a career-best distance of 179'0", Cole finished 11th in the national semifinals to advance to his first national championship meet.
On his first throw of the evening, Cole posted a career-best distance of 179'0" - a personal improvement of nearly three feet and the second-farthest distance in Academy history. Despite recording foul marks on the next two chances, the junior easily won the first flight based on his opening mark. Cole remained among the event leaders throughout the final two flights, placing 11th after all 48 competitors concluded competition in the trials.
As one of the top 16 finishers in the first round, Cole earned an additional three throws in the event finals, which took place nearly three hours after the conclusion of his flight. He fouled on his three attempts of the final round, but Cole's opening distance of 179'0" remained 11th overall. The junior, who entered the meet ranked 33rd in the West Region, significantly bettered his overall , while defeating three throwers ranked among the region's top 10.
With his finish, Cole earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships next month in Des Moines, Iowa. The top 12 finishers from tonight's West Preliminary, as well as the top 12 throwers from the East meet, will compete in the national finals on Wednesday, June 8.
Three other Falcons also competed in national semifinal event during the final day of action at Historic Hayward Field.
Junior Jim Walmsley placed within the top half of the field in the 5000-meter run, finishing 21st overall with a time of 14:00.17. Sophomore Jeremy Drenckhahn also competed at that distance, clocking a time of 14:12.09 to finish 30th. The Falcons competed in two separate heats of the 5000-meter race, with Walmsley placing 11th in his heat and Drenckhahn finishing 16th in his.
Junior Paige Blackburn competed in the women's discus throw this afternoon, finishing 24th with a distance of 154'5". Blackburn, who also participated in the javelin throw at the West Preliminary Meet, recorded the 154'5" throw on her first attempt, before fouling on the remaining two chances of the event trials.
Cole and senior Justin Tyner will represent the Air Force Academy at the NCAA Championships, which will be held June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa. Both Cole and Tyner, who won the West steeplechase last night, will open competition on Wednesday, June 8.