Falcons Off To Final Qualifying Meets

    Chris Acs is just one of the Falcons that will be competing this weekend at Final Qualifying Meets.
    Chris Acs is just one of the Falcons that will be competing this weekend at Final Qualifying Meets.

    March 4, 2004

    The Air Force track and field program will be splitting up this weekend, as they travel to two Final Qualifying Meets on Friday-Saturday (March 5-6). The Falcon runners will head to Seattle, Wash., for a meet at the University of Washington, while the field competitors will travel to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

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    Anthony Park opened the first full day of men's competition at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships winning the long jump title with a season-best distance of 24'4?". Sean Temple successfully defended his championship title in the 60-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line in a time of 7.89.

    Air Force track and field head coach Ralph Lindeman was named Co-Coach of the Year by the Mountain West Conference coaches following the three-day competition. Lindeman, who shared this year's honor with Del Hessel of Colorado State, also earned an indoor coaching title in 2001, as well as two outdoor titles.

    The Falcons had 13 individuals who earned all-conference honors in 15 events at the 2004 MWC Indoor Championships. Bolstered by Anthony Park and Sean Temple's event wins, the Falcons earned five second-place finishes and seven third-place marks. A complete recap of the men's all-MWC team performers can be found on page two of this release.

    Until the Don Barrett/Air Force Open on Feb. 21, the Academy's triple jump record had stood for 20 years. After Anthony Park posted a new school record at that meet, he barely waited a week, before setting an even better record. Park jumped to an Academy-best 50'8?" at the MWC Championships, en route to a third-place finish. His mark displaced his previous record of 50'6?", which he set at the Air Force Open.

    Olivia Korte made her mark early on the Falcons' record book, posting the best distance in the weight throw that the Academy has ever seen. Only a freshman, Korte threw a 53'10?" at the MWC Championships, crushing the previous record of 53'5?" that Beth Inglis set in 2002. Korte's mark also shattered the program's Freshman Class record of 45'3?" that current teammate Dominique Boivin recorded in 2002.

    "Our whole approach to the meet was to have fun and 'play' track and field," head coach Ralph Lindeman said. "As a coaching staff, we tried to reduce the stress level on our cadet-athletes and not let them know of any expectations or projections for their events. We tried to focus on the process and performance instead of the outcome. In the end, my own disappointment of the outcome paled in comparison to my pride in their outstanding efforts and awesome performances."


    "I told our team before the meet that this is the best all-around team that USAFA has ever had," head coach Ralph Lindeman commented. "Then they went out and had the best meet I've ever had a team have, in the most exciting meet that I have ever been a part of in my 30 years of coaching. It's a rare feat to have half of your competitors record their personal-best marks in a championship meet...and 60% of our performances were lifetime bests! That is a phenomenal accomplishment!"

    For the first time in Academy history, the Falcon made a sweep of the medals at a conference championship. While Sean Temple crossed the finish line in a time of7.89 to earn his second consecutive indoor 60-meter hurdles title, teammates Luke Marker and Jim Campbell were nipping at his heels, finishing second and third, with respective times of 7.92 and 7.93. Not only did the three seniors occupy the top three steps of the awards podium, Temple, Marker and Campbell also recorded the three fastest times in MWC Championship meet history.

    In addition to Sean Temple, Luke Marker and Jim Campbell's 1-2-3 sweep in the 60-meter hurdles, the Falcons made their presence felt with at least three top-eight finishers in five other events. Three Air Force pole vaulters finished within the top five, as Paul Gensic led the way with a second-place finish. Jason Jones and Christian Morgan recorded respective fourth- and fifth-place finishes. In fact, Air Force took two of the top-three spots in the 3000- and 5000-meter runs, as well as the heptathlon and long jump. Ben Payne and Brian Dumm finished second and third, respectively, in the 300-meter run, while Kalib Wilkinson finished eighth. Payne and Dumm finished in the same places during the 5000-meter run, while Wilkinson moved up to seventh. In the conference's first championship competition of the heptathlon, Nick Herald and Caleb Pelger took the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, while Brian Walsh finished eighth. Anthony Park won the long jump, while Chris Banks and Nick Bromberek finished third and seventh, respectively.

    In the most recent edition of the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association's Team Power Rankings, the Falcons are nationally ranked No. 13. The web site ranks team following a point system on the 'basis of quality of athletic performance, team depth and dual meet scoring potential'. It is the highest ranking ever for the Falcon men.

    Sean Temple and Anthony Park each won their third individual conference title at the 2004 MWC Indoor Championships. Temple previously won the indoor hurdles title in 2003, as well as the 2002 outdoor hurdles title, while Park claimed both the outdoor long and triple jump titles as a freshman (2001). They join teammate Ben Payne, who won the indoor 5000-meter run in 2002, as well as back-to-back outdoor 10,000-meter run titles (2002-03), as seniors who have claimed three conference titles during their run with the Falcons. All three enter the outdoor season with a chance to match Academy title-leader Eric Mack, who won five conference titles.

    Six Falcons have already set provisional qualifying marks for the upcoming NCAA Championships, as well as one relay team, Brian Dumm recorded a provisional qualifying time of 8:05.05 in the 3000-meter run, while Ben Payne set his mark in the 5000-meter run (14:04.26). Sean Temple and Luke Marker recorded respective provisional marks of 7.92 and 7.95 in the 60-meter hurdles. Nick Herald's 5187 points in the heptathlon is provisional, as is Paul Gensic's 17'7" on the pole vault. (Gensic is currently ranked No. 7 in the NCAA.)


    The Falcons highest finish of the weekend came from the distance medley relay team of Elizabeth Catherwood, Jen Neville, Kelly McPherson and Jean Taylor. They finished fourth in the event with a time of 12:43.79. Two individuals and the mile relay team collected the remainder of the Falcons' points. Cindy Dawson finished eighth in the mile, while Jean Taylor placed the same in the mile. Neville and Dawson ran the final legs of the mile relay team that also finished eighth, along with Jami Hodge and Genelle Chapman.

    "I was really disappointed in our women's performances...only 28% had season or personal-bests," head coach Ralph Lindeman said. "That's just not acceptable in conference championship competition. Nevertheless, I trust that they will correct themselves and I have high expectations for their performances at the outdoor conference championships in May."

    In a competition being dubbed the "Meeting of the Minds", the Falcons kick off the outdoor season on Saturday, March 20, at a quadrangular in Irvine, Calif. Joining Air Force will be host-school UC-Irvine, as well as Cornell and Yale.



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