Falcons Conclude Second Day of New Mexico Classic

Feb. 4, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Highlighted by victories from senior Paige Blackburn and the men's 4x400-meter relay team, the Air Force track and field team had another strong day of competition at the New Mexico Classic on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Albuquerque, N.M.

Using a toss of 48'11¾", Blackburn defeated the 30-member shot put field by over one foot, while the men's quartet of senior Bryce Bergman, classmate Manny Smith, freshman Jake Spuller and junior Anthony Delgado crossed the finish line of the 4x400-meter relay in a season-best time of 3:14.89 - three seconds ahead of the second-place team.

Air Force also accounted for the top collegiate spot in two additional events. Seniors Kimber Shealy and Tawny Lambuth tied for the top finish among college athletes (sixth overall) in the pole vault with matching marks of 12'9", while Smith recorded the ninth-fastest time in Academy history (48.16) to earn the top collegiate spot and finish fourth overall in the 400-meter dash.

In addition to the event victories in the shot put and 4x400-meter relay, the Falcons collected an additional top-five mark in each event. Freshman Danielle Tabb tossed a career-best 44'2¾" - the eighth-best throw in Academy history - to finish fifth, while the team of freshman Siotame Latu, sophomore Josh Nielsen, sophomore Michael Craig and classmate David Ptacek earned the same placement in the 4x400-meter race behind a time of 3:18.63.

Tabb wasn't the only Falcon to impact the program's record book at New Mexico. Sophomore Kassie Gurnell improved her Academy record mark in the triple jump for the third time this season - and the second time in two weeks - by hitting the sand at 39'11¼" to finish fifth at the meet. Senior Sean Herbison finished second in the men's shot put with a throw of 53'11", debuting in 10th on the program's all-time list. Freshman Alexis Jones-Hardy also improved her eighth-place standing in the 60-meter dash record book, behind a 13th-place time of 7.79.

The Falcons collected three of the top seven finishes in the men's shot put. In addition to Herbison's runner-up throw, classmates Kyle Schwochow and James Cole finished sixth (52'2½") and seventh (season-best 51'8¼"), respectively.

Spuller and Bergman also claimed top-10 finishes in the 400-meter dash, placing eighth (49.06) and 10th (49.52), respectively, while Gurnell ran the leadoff leg of the women's 4x400-meter relay (junior Bethany Gross, senior Rachel Thomas, sophomore Tasha Mayne) that finished seventh in a season-best time of 3:59.26.

Five additional Falcons placed within the top 10 of their respective events. Sophomore Lance Wolfsmith finished third in the 3000-meter run behind a personal-best time of 8:35.48, while senior Nick White placed seventh in the 800-meter run with a season-best time of 1:53.51. Freshman Blue Kearney recorded a distance of 46'1¼" in the triple jump to place eighth, while junior Uzor Udensi and freshman Zach Perkins collected 10th-place marks in the 60-meter dash (season-best 6.97) and mile run (4:24.08), respectively.

The Falcons return to the Academy next weekend (Feb. 10-11) to host the two-day Air Force Invitational. In addition, select athletes will travel to Seattle, Wash., for the Husky Classic.