Joey Uhle, Grant Hamilton Headline Underclassmen Awards
May 22, 2014
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Claiming the two highest honors given to members of the men's track and field team, junior Joey Uhle and sophomore Grant Hamilton headlined the program's Underclassmen Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 22. Uhle was named the MVP of the 2013-14 squad, while Hamilton was selected as the Most Outstanding Competitor.
All-America honors and two conference titles have highlighted Uhle's junior year. During the indoor season, Uhle claimed the third All-America accolade of his career after garnering first-team status with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Uhle, who cleared the fifth-best indoor height in Academy history (17'10¼") at the Air Force Team Challenge, earned his second straight conference indoor title in the pole vault, after tying with teammate Dylan Bell and helping the Falcons to six of the top-eight pole vault finishes at the Mountain West Indoor Championships. His success has continued during the outdoor season, as he claimed his first MW outdoor title and paced the Falcons to a sweep of the three medalist positions in the pole vault. A seven-time event winner this season and MW Athlete of the Week, Uhle is currently ranked 25th in the nation.
In addition to his MVP award, Uhle was honored with the Alonzo Babers Outstanding Performance Award, which recognizes his seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Hamilton is in the midst of a stellar sophomore campaign, setting Academy records in both the indoor and outdoor shot put. Last year's top newcomer, Hamilton became the first Air Force thrower to surpass the 60-foot mark after recording a career-best 60'8" to finish second at the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Ranked 18th in the region heading into next week's NCAA Championships, he first broke the program record in mid-April, tossing a then-best 59'10 ½" to displace a mark that had stood since 2001. Hamilton also accounted for second-place honors at the MW Indoor Championships, while breaking the program's 13-year-old record in that event. After debuting in 10th on the program's all-time list during the squad's season-opener, Hamilton quickly climbed to the top of the list, posting a career-best throw of 58'11¼" during the Air Force Collegiate Open.
Uhle and Hamilton also shared the men's High Scorer Award, as each accounted for 19 points at the conference championship meets (Uhle - nine indoors as pole vault co-champion, 10 outdoors as pole vault champion; Hamilton - eight indoors as shot put runner-up, eight outdoors as shot put runner-up, three outdoors as discus throw sixth-place finisher).
After standout seasons in the throwing ring, freshmen Darby Maier and Cydnee Reese were named the Newcomers of the Year for their respective squads. Maier, who debuted on the Academy's all-time list in both seasons of the shot put, broke the Freshman Class Record with the third-best throw in outdoor history (57'2¼") after recording the seventh-best indoor distance at 56'1¼". He also placed within the top-five of the shot put in both conference championship meets. Reese shined for the women in the discus throw, accounting for the fifth-best distance in Academy history (157'10") and tallying the Falcon's first points of the MW Outdoor Championships with an eighth-place finish.
Junior Casey Riggs and sophomore Hannah Everson were selected as the Most Improved Track Athletes of their respective teams, while junior Kyle Gartrell and sophomore Katelyn Holland were honored as the Most Improved Field Athletes. Riggs ended the season on a high note, finishing fifth in the 110-meter hurdles at the MW Outdoor Championships with a career-best 14.55, while Everson, the MVP during the Falcons' cross country season, debuted on the program's all-time list in both the outdoor 5000-meter run (16:55.43, third all-time) and the indoor 3000-meter run (10:02.61 with altitude, eighth all-time). From the field, Gartrell recorded career-best marks in the long jump (indoor: 23'6¼", outdoor: 23'2½") and triple jump (indoor: 48'4", outdoor: 47'10"), while scoring for the Falcons in both events during the indoor and outdoor championships. Holland, who made her collegiate debut this winter, record the program's fifth-best indoor distance (46'6") and seventh-best outdoor distance (45'4¼") in the shot put.
The program's Drive and Determination awards went to juniors Riley Coates (Bret Hyde Award) and Danielle Tabb (Callie Calhoun Award). Coates scored for the Falcons in the 5000-meter run during both conference championship meets, as well as in the 10,000-meter run at the outdoor championships, while Tabb became just the second Academy thrower to break the 50-foot mark in the outdoor shot put (51'11", second all-time) and the third to surpass that mark in the indoor event (50'0¾", third all-time).
After clocking top-10 times in the 100-meter (10.65, 10th all-time) and 200-meter (21.36, ninth all-time) events at the MW Outdoor Championships and running on the program's fifth-fastest distance medley relay at the Iowa State Classic, junior Jake Spuller received the Laura Piper Ironman Award. Sophomore Riley Vann, who became just the ninth woman in program history to clear the 12-foot bar in the outdoor pole vault before injury halted her season, was honored with the Falcon Award for Spirit and Enthusiasm.
Air Force will honor its Class of 2014 on Monday, May 26, during the fifth-annual Senior Night Awards Social. During the celebration, the Falcons will hand out several additional awards and name the recipients of the women's MVP and Most Outstanding Competitor awards.
2014 Underclassmen Award Winners