June 23, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa - Two athletes with ties to the Air Force track and field team - current sophomore Zach Perkins and 2012 graduate Paige Blackburn - wrapped up competition this week at the 2013 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
In the 1500-meter semifinals on Thursday night, Perkins finished eighth in his heat and 33rd overall. The sophomore, who finished second at the NCAA Championships earlier this month, crossed the finish line of the USATF semifinal in a time of 3:49.38. Perkins started the race with an opening lap of 48.13. He added splits of 1:07.43 (700 meters) and 1:00.05 (1100 meters), before clocking a time of 53.79 on the final lap to move from 11th to eighth in the overall standings. In the most tactical of the three semifinal heats, Perkins finished less than two seconds behind the automatic qualifiers.
In Saturday's finals of the 1500-meter national championship race, Matthew Centrowitz (3:45.17), Leonel Manzano (3:45.35) and former USAFA training partner Lopez Lomong (3:45.69) earned the three placements for the World Championships.
Blackburn placed seventh in the javelin on Thursday with a toss of 173'9". The Academy graduate, who is currently studying at the University of Florida, recorded her best toss on her opening attempt. Blackburn also recorded a toss of 167'2" and one foul throw during the opening round, before tallying a throw of 160'1" and two fouls in the final round.
Nike's Brittany Borman won the javelin title with a toss of 199'10", while Ariana Ince (unattached) and Kara Patterson (asics) finished second (185'11") and third (183'4"), respectively.
Blackburn also competed in the discus on Sunday, but fouled on all three attempts. Nike's Gia Lewis-Smallwood tossed a 213'8" to win the title, while Chula Vista Elite's Whitney Ashley and Mac Wilkins' Elizabeth Podominick rounded out the World team with respective second- (200'9") and third-place (199'1") finishes.