Aug. 12, 2011
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – Air Force track and field head coach Ralph Lindeman announced the 14 athletes who represent the Class of 2015 for the men’s program. The newest Falcons are wrapping up their first full week of classes at the Academy, following six weeks of Basic Cadet Training. This week, GoAirForceFalcons.com will take a look at the new members of the Air Force men’s program.
The freshmen roster represents 10 states and features a high school All-American and state record holder, a state champion in the triple jump and the state runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles.
Sam Gagliano is a dual sport athlete from Waxahachie, Texas. In addition to competing in the 60-meter hurdles (7.89), 110-meter hurdles (13.75), 300-meter hurdles (38.21), high jump (6’9”) and long jump (23’6”), Gagliano was the District 16-4A Player of the Year in football.
“Sam suffered an injury during BCT this summer, and may be unavailable for our 2012 season, but we expect huge things from him in his cadet athletic career,” Lindeman said. “He could be another Anthony Park, who combined a stellar career as a wide receiver for the football team with two Mountain West individual titles at two USAFA records in the long jump and triple jump.”
A transfer from Harvard, Kobi Rex (Monument, Colo.) finished sixth in the 2010 Great Southwest Classic High School Championships, scoring 5,874 points, using high school implements. Rex recorded a high school-best high jump mark of 6’10¼”, while adding an indoor mark of 6’9” to win the Air Force High School Invitational in 2010.
“It’s very unusual for us to get a transfer from another NCAA Division I institution, but we recruited Kobi hard out of high school, and were thrilled when he surprised us by indicating that he wanted to transfer,” Lindeman commented. “He has the potential to make an immediate impact on our success in the Mountain West.”
Air Force also added the 200-meter champion from the Midwest Meet of Champions in Jake Spuller (Detroit, Mich.). Spuller, who finished fourth in the Michigan Division I state championships in the 200-meter dash, won the 400-meter title at the Oakland County Championships.
“Jake really came on at the end of his senior year in high school with some major achievements,” Lindeman noted. “He’s the top sprinter that we’ve recruited in several years and he could immediately help our relay teams.”
Joey Uhle, the Ohio high school record holder in both the indoor (17’3”) and outdoor (17’0”) pole vault, became the first Ohio vaulter to clear the 17-foot mark during the outdoor season. He has also competed in the 300-meter hurdles, clocking a personal-best time of 37.99.
“Joey’s a High School All-American, who joins an already stellar group in the pole vault,” Lindeman commented. “He’ll become a big part of carrying on and building on the terrific success we’ve had over the past 10 years in that event.”
Air Force freshmen class also includes a state champion and state runner-up, as well as several top-five finishers. Kyle Gartrell (Yakima, Wash.) was the Washington 2B state champion in the triple jump, while Casey Riggs (Loveland, Colo.) was the runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles at the Colorado 5A state championships. Riley Coates (Rapid City, S.D.) finished fourth in the 1600-meter run and fifth in the 3200-meter run at the 2011 South Dakota AA state meet, while Jared Elly (Stafford, Va.) placed fifth in the 800-meter run at the Virginia Group III state championships. In addition, Zach Perkins (Alameda, Calif.), twin brother of sophomore distance runner Charlie Perkins, placed fourth in the California’s North Coast Section Meet of Champions and qualified for the state championship meet.
Also joining the Falcons program are distance runner Zach Christianson (Safety Harbor, Fla.), sprinter Siotame Latu (Eugene, Ore.), hurdler/high jumper Evan McDowell (Hudsonville, Mich.), distance runner Elliot Myers (Anaheim, Calif.) and decathlete Matt Rich (Terrell, Texas).
Check back on Monday, Aug. 15, to meet the women’s freshmen class.
Men’s Track and Field Class of 2015
Zach Christianson (Safety Harbor, Fla. | Countryside HS | USAFA Prep School)
Riley Coates (Rapid City, S.D. | Stevens HS)
Jared Elly (Stafford, Va. | Mountain View HS)
Sam Gagliano (Waxahachie, Texas | Waxahachie HS | USAFA Prep School)
Kyle Gartrell (Yakima, Wash. | Riverside Christian HS)
Siotame Latu (Eugene, Ore. | Eugene South HS)
Evan McDowell (Hudsonville, Mich. | Hudsonville HS)
Elliot Myers (Anaheim, Calif. | Esperanza HS)
Zach Perkins (Alameda, Calif. | Alameda HS | USAFA Prep School)
Kobi Rex (Monument, Colo. | Lewis-Palmer HS | Harvard)
Matt Rich (Terrell, Texas | Royse City HS)
Casey Riggs (Loveland, Colo. | Loveland HS)
Jake Spuller (Detroit, Mich. | Detroit Catholic Central HS)
Joey Uhle (Powell, Ohio | Olentangy HS)