Falcons Have Strong Showing at Blue/Silver Open
Rob Simmons

Dec. 9, 2011

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USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Highlighted by eight additions to the program's top-10 lists and seven first-place finishes, the Air Force track and field team had a strong start to the 2011-12 season during the inaugural Blue and Silver Open on Friday, Dec. 9, at the Academy's Cadet Field House.

The women's team made six additions to the program's record book, backed by a pair of incursions from Lesly Torres. The junior moved from seventh to fourth in the Academy's high jump standings, while debuting in ninth on the 60-meter hurdles' list. Torres cleared a career-best 5'7" to place second in the 15-member high jump competition, while clocking a career-best time of 9.20 to finish sixth in the hurdles event and become just the second Falcon since 2005 to impact the hurdles' top-10 list.

Kassie Gurnell, the Academy's outdoor record holder in the triple jump, moved into second on the program's indoor standings for that event, as she recorded a Sophomore Class Record-distance of 39'5" to finish fifth. Freshman Wren Bonner tied for first in the pole vault with a debut clearance of 12'9½" - the fourth-best clearance in Academy history - while classmate Alexis Jones-Hardy recorded the sixth-fastest time ever in the 60-meter dash (7.87) during her introduction to collegiate competition. Sophomore Becca Bauman recorded a career-best weight throw distance of 48'7¼" to debut in 10th on the program's all-time list.

On the men's side, junior Rob Simmons cleared 17'8½" in the pole vault to move into third on the program's all-time list, while placing first among collegiate competitors and tying for the overall lead. Sophomore Jalen Fooster cleared a career-best 54'11¼" in the weight throw to debut in a tie for 10th on the all-time list.

In addition to Simmons' win in the pole vault, the men claimed four first-place finishes during the season-opening competition. Junior Anthony Delgado won the 300-meter dash in a time of 35.19, while seniors Manny Smith and Alex Zubey won the 500-meter dash (1:05.71) and mile run (4:21.69), respectively. The two-mile relay quartet of freshman Zach Perkins, classmate Jared Elly, sophomore Matt Cladwell and classmate Alex Lindsay won that event in a time of 8:09.65.

Delgado was one of four Falcons to finish within the top six of the 300-meter dash, as freshman Jake Spuller (35.20) finished second and Smith and junior Uzor Udensi placed fifth (35.58) and sixth (35.60), respectively. In addition, Udensi finished fourth in the 60-meter dash (6.97), while Smith ran a leg of the mile relay (joining sophomore David Ptacek, freshman Casey Riggs and sophomore James MacAndrew) that placed second in a time of 3:20.95.

In an all-Air Force mile, sophomore Jake Hawkins finished second (4:21.94) to Zubey. Junior Zach Wood cleared a career-best matching 6'8¾" to finish third in the high jump, while junior Cale Simmons and sophomore Elliott Beski finished third (17'0¾") and fourth (career-best 16'6¾"), respectively, in the pole vault.

From the throwing cage, senior Kyle Schwochow (52'5¼"), junior Brian Ford (52'2½"), senior James Cole (51'1¾") and senior Sean Herbison (50'0") finished third through sixth in the shot put.

On the women's side, juniors Melissa Fuerst and Jen Bremser placed first (3:04.71) and second (3:06.47), respectively, in the 1000-meter run, while senior Phaelen French finished fourth (3:09.99). Kimber Shealy set a Senior Class Record as she tied with Bonner for the top spot in the pole vault (12'9½"), while senior Tawny Lambuth placed fifth at 11'5¾".

Torres' second-place finish in the high jump paced the Falcons to three of the top four spots in that event, as sophomores Regan Rogers and Rachel Herald finished third (5'5") and fourth (5'3"), respectively.

Sophomore Heather Shepard, senior Emily Cotharn, freshman Eric Carson and classmate Morgan Malone were the runner-up squad in the mile relay (4:05.13), while sophomore Annette Eichenberger joined freshmen Michelle Ferguson, Rebecca Esselstein and Taylor Drolshagen to take second in the two-mile relay at 9:57.61.

Sophomore Amanda Blain and freshman Emily Hazen finished third (5:45.21) and fourth (5:47.71) in the mile run, while Paige Blackburn picked up a pair of third-place finishes in the throwing events. The senior placed third in the shot put (46'5¼") and weight throw (46'5¼").

The Falcons return to action after the holiday break when they host the 2012 Air Force All-Comers Meet on Friday, Jan. 13, at the Academy's Cadet Field House.



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