KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Several former members of the Academy’s track and field team helped the U.S. Air Force to the men’s and women’s team titles at the 2017 Headquarters Allied Air Command (HQ AIRCOM) Track and Field Championships last week (June 21-23) at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Academy graduates helped the USAF squad to six event titles. Capt Paige Blackburn (Class of 2012) and Capt Manny Smith (Class of 2012) paced the alumni group with two victories apiece. Blackburn finished first in the discus (172’4”) and javelin (164’2”) throws, while Smith won the 400-meter dash (48.81) and anchored the 4x400-meter relay that took first in 3:25.59. The women added an event title from 1Lt Rachel Herald (Class of 2014), who cleared 5’3¾” to win the high jump, while the men received an additional seven points from 1Lt Tim Urista (Class of 2014), who won the javelin with a throw of 188’9”.
In addition to his victories at the 400-meter distance, Smith also earned a second-place finish in the 200-meter dash (22.45). The men claimed an additional scoring finish from A1C Taylor Smith in the high jump (second, 6’7”), while 2Lt Morgan Malone ran the 200-meter leg of the women’s Swedish Relay (100m-200m-300m-400m) that placed second in a time of 2:36.33.
The USAF men’s roster also included 1Lt Zach Wood (Class of 2013) in the high jump and 1Lt Shane Cox (Class of 2013) in the shot put and discus throw, while the women’s lineup included Malone in the 100-meter dash and 1Lt Kate Kanetzky Espinosa (Class of 2013) in the 3000-meter run.
The Air Force men tallied 74 points to defeat their counterparts from Poland (67 points), the United Kingdom (56 points), Germany (51 points), Belgium (33 points) and the Netherlands (22 points), while the USAF women scored 61 points to claim the team title over Poland (45 points), Germany (36 points), the United Kingdom (29 points), the Netherlands (24 points) and Belgium (18 points).