Falcons Hand Out Underclassmen Awards
May 19, 2010
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force track and field team honored 11 underclassmen on Tuesday, May 18, during the first of its two end-of-season awards ceremonies. The Falcons handed out 13 awards to members of the freshman, sophomore and junior classes. Justin Tyner claimed the largest haul, as he took home three awards, highlighted by the Men's Most Valuable Competitor Award.
Tyner, who was named the MVP of the cross country team in the fall, continued his breakout year on the track. Tyner claimed All-America status at the NCAA Indoor Championships, as he finished third in the 5000-meter run. In addition to finishing as the top American runner in that event, Tyner posted the Falcons' best national finish in a track event since 1984. Tyner also claimed a Mountain West Conference title during the indoor season, as he won the 3000-meter run with the third-fastest time in conference history. He also claimed indoor and outdoor all-conference honors in the 5000-meter run, with a second-place finishes in that distance at both conference meets. He set Academy records in the indoor 5000-meter run, the outdoor 1500-meter run and the outdoor 5000-meter run, while posting the second-fastest time in program history in the 3000-meter steeplechase. The junior was also honored with the Alonzo Babers Outstanding Performance Award and the men's High Point Award.
Freshmen Chase Cooper and Bethany Gross received the Newcomer of the Year award for their respective teams. Cooper was the runner-up in the pole vault at the MWC Indoor Championships, while accounting for the third-best indoor clearance in program history. With an outdoor clearance of 16'4¾", Cooper was tied for third on the team and is just shy of the program's outdoor top-10 list. Gross, who only joined the program in late March, made an immediate impact on the Academy record book. Gross, who set Freshman Class records in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, already ranks fourth all-time in the 200-meter dash, fifth in the 400-meter dash and sixth in the long jump. In addition, she ran the anchor leg of both the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay teams that are now ranked among the top three in program history. Gross was also honored with the Falcon Award for Spirit and Enthusiasm.
Sophomores Robert Drye and Paige Blackburn shared the Laura Piper Ironman Award, which is named in honor of 1992 Academy graduate Laura Piper, who was killed in Operation Desert Shield. The award recognizes an individual who competes in, excels and scores in multiple events at a scoring meet. Drye scored for the Falcons in all three of his events at the Military Track and Field Championships, while also scoring in both the weight throw and hammer throw at the MWC meets. Like Drye, Blackburn tallied valuable points for the Falcons at the Military Championships. Placing second in the shot put, discus throw and javelin throw, she helped Air Force to its first-ever team title. She also earned a spot on the medal podium in two events at the conference outdoor meet.
Sophomore James Walmsley was named the men's Most Improved Athlete, while classmate Tawny Lambuth received the distinction on the women's side. Walmsley, who scored for the Falcons in both the 1500- and 5000-meter races during last week's MWC Outdoor Championships, was a member of the distance medley relay team that earned all-conference honors at the indoor meet. He recorded the third-fastest time in Academy history in the 5000-meter run, while posting the sixth-best time ever in the 3000-meter distance. As a pole vault competitor, Lambuth improved her placement on the program's all-time list, moving into fourth on both the indoor and outdoor record books. During the outdoor season, she also made a name for herself on the track, posting the 10th-fastest 100-meter dash time ever and running the third leg of the 4x100-meter relay team that recorded the second-best time in Academy history.
Fellow sophomore pole vaulter Kimber Shealy was awarded with the Callie Calhoun Award for Drive and Determination. In addition to becoming just the second Air Force female to ever clear the 13-foot mark, Shealy moved into second on the program's all-time list in during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. She scored for the Falcons at both conference championship meets, while setting a new meet record to win the pole vault at the Military Championships and help Air Force to its first-ever team title. Junior Tyler Stanley earned the men's Drive and Determination award, named after the late Bret Hyde, who passed award of Lou Gehrig's disease in 2000. An 800-meter specialist, Stanley moved into fourth on the program's outdoor all-time list, while placing fourth at the conference outdoor meet. He was a part of two all-conference relay teams this season, running a leg of the third-place distance medley relay team (indoor) and the third-place 4x400-meter relay team (outdoor).
Sophomore Amanda Wineman was named the recipient of the Paul Gensic Comeback Award, after recovering for injury to compete in the high jump at the MWC Outdoor Championships, while freshman Riley Feeney was honored with the Ernie Cuncliffe Manager Award.
Air Force will honor the outstanding Class of 2010 with the first-ever Senior Night Banquet on Sunday, May 18, at the Academy. During the celebration, the Falcons will hand out several additional awards and name the program's MVP recipients.
2010 UNDERCLASS AWARDS