World-Class Athletes to Compete at Air Force All-Comers Meet
Jan. 14, 2011
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Several world-class athletes will be competing this afternoon (Jan. 14) at the Air Force All-Comers meet, including three Olympians, four of the top seven U.S. women's pole vaulters and the second-ranked Canadian pole vaulter. Action for the Falcons' season-opening meet begins with the field events at 2 p.m., while the running events are slated to start at 4 p.m.
Air Force volunteer coach and 2008 Olympian, Jenny (Barringer) Simpson, will be making her 2011 debut in the 800-meter run. Simpson, who currently trains with Air Force distance coach Juli Benson, was the inaugural winner of the USTFCCCA Bowerman Award at the conclusion of her stellar career at Colorado. Simpson is the American record-holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase, as well as a three-time NCAA champion and two-time USA champion in that event.
The women's pole vault promises to be a showpiece of the All-Comers Meets, as four of the top seven vaulters in the country will compete at the Cadet Field House this afternoon. The professional field includes Becky Holliday, Melinda Owen, Kylie Hutson and April Steiner Bennett.
Holliday, the 2003 NCAA champion from Oregon, was fourth in the country last year with a clearance of 15'1", while Owen, a former vaulter for Idaho, was ranked fifth at 14'10". Hutson, a four-time NCAA champion (2009 indoor/outdoor, 2010 indoor/outdoor) at Indiana State, makes her professional debut ranked sixth with a mark of 14'9½". Steiner Bennett, a member of the 2008 Olympic Team, and Arkansas competitor, was ranked seventh in the nation last year with a mark of 14'7¼" (career-best 15'2¼").
In addition, the field includes Kelsie Hendry, who was ranked second in Canada last year with a clearance of 14'11". Hendy, who won the bronze medal at last year's Commonwealth Games and represented Canada at the 2010 World Indoor Championships, is the Cadet Field House record holder, after clearing 14'7¼" at the Air Force Invitational last winter.
Air Force senior Melissa Beerse, who holds the Academy record at 13'6½", also returns to the runway following a year away from USAFA for family reasons.
Former Colorado State thrower and 2008 Olympian Loree Smith will compete in the weight throw. Smith is the 2007 NCAA champion in the hammer throw and NCAA runner-up in the weight throw.
Several former Falcons will also open their 2011 season.
The men's pole vault will feature Air Force record-holder and three-time NCAA All-American Nick Frawley, who is now training in Arizona as a part of the Air Force's World Class Athlete Program. Today's meet will mark Frawley's professional debut. Fellow WCAP athletes Sean Houseworth and Matt Williams, who both train with Benson, will also open their seasons this afternoon.