Jim Walmsley, Men's and Women's DMR Win Conference Titles
Feb. 24, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Air Force track and field team claimed three conference titles during the second day of competition (Feb. 24) at the 2012 Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
In the first scored event of the day, senior Jim Walmsley easily won the 5000-meter run, clocking a time of 14:22.19 to better the field by 16 seconds. Walmsley's wire-to-wire win marked the third time in four years that an Air Force runner has won the Mountain West title at that distance.
The Falcons posted a sweep of the distance medley relay titles, including the first such title for the women's team.
Senior Auriele Fain, classmate Rachel Thomas, junior Morgan Mosby and classmate Melissa Fuerst won the women's first DMR title in program history with an Academy-record performance. The altitude-converted time of 12:00.16 (11:49.26) broke the 2003 time by three seconds, and marked the first time since 2003 that the women's DMR claimed all-conference relay honors.
The men's squad of sophomore Lance Wolfsmith, senior Bryce Bergman, sophomore Matt Caldwell and senior Alex Zubey completed the Air Force sweep of the distance medley relay with a six-second win (9:55.39) in the men's race. The time, when converted for altitude to 9:46.38 is the third-best mark in Academy history.
The women's DMR was one of two Academy records to fall during Friday's action at the conference championships. Senior Paige Blackburn tossed a 62'3" to finish fifth in the weight throw and break Sara Neubauer's 2010 record of 61'11", while becoming just the second Air Force thrower to cross the 60-foot mark in that event.
In addition to the three conference champions, another pair of Falcons earned all-conference honors by placing within the top three of their respective events.
Junior Michael Tibbs recorded the second-best heptathlon total in Academy history, en route to a third-place score of 5,402 points. During the second day of competition in the seven-event competition, Tibbs timed an 8.42 in the 60-meter hurdles, cleared 15'3" in the pole vault and clocked a career-best time of 2:51.35 in the 1000-meter run.
Senior Kimber Shealy cleared a career-best 13'5¾" to finish third in the pole vault, improving the second-best height in Academy history and placing the Falcons to half of the scoring finishes in that event. With the third-best height in program history, Wren Bonner set a career-best, Freshman Class Record clearance of 12'11½" to finish fourth. Senior Tawny Lambuth and junior Bizzy Mellado tied for seventh with matching heights of 12'3½", as all four competitors placed within the top eight.
Air Force earned several other scoring finishes during Friday's action.
In addition to Walmsley's win in the 5000-meter run, Air Force earned scoring finishes in that race from junior Jeremy Drenckhahn (14:51.00, fifth) and sophomore Isaiah Bragg (career-best 14:56.89, seventh). Freshman Blue Kearney finished fifth in the long jump with a distance of 23'3½", while junior Brian Ford finished sixth in the weight throw with a distance of 58'5½".
Several qualifying rounds were contested today. Bergman clocked a time of 8.18 to advance to the finals in the 60-meter hurdles, while freshman Jake Spuller and junior Anthony Delgado qualified in the 200-meter dash after clocking respective times of 21.80 and 21.82. Spuller's time is a career best and the ninth-fastest time in Academy history. Senior Manny Smith finished second among qualifiers in the 400-meter dash (48.45) to advance to Saturday's finals, while senior Nick White and sophomore Alex Lindsay clocked the fastest times in the preliminary round of the 800-meter run. White run the overall qualifier with a career-best time of 1:52.19 (altitude converted 1:51.56 is the seventh-fastest time in Academy history), while Lindsay finished second overall after winning his second in 1:53.16.
Freshman Alexis Jones-Hardy advanced in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.73, while junior Bethany Gross clocked a career-best time of 56.70 (fourth-fastest in Academy history) to qualify for the finals. Sophomore Annette Eichenberger clocked a career-best 800-meter time of 2:13.44 to advance to the finals and move into seventh on the program's all-time list (2:13.44 when converted for altitude).
Although Morgan Malone didn't qualify for the finals of the 200-meter dash, the freshman moved into a tie for third on the Academy's all-time list behind a time of 25.51.
The men are currently in third with 39 points - just six points out of first. New Mexico leads the meet after two days (45 points), while Boise State is second with 43 points. Colorado State is in fourth with 24 points, while TCU (21) and Wyoming (20) round out the six-team men's field.
During the first two days of competition, the women have tallied 40 points - a mark that is just seven points shy of the best total at a full conference meet - to sit in fourth. San Diego State leads the field with 47 points, while New Mexico and TCU are ranked second (42) and third (41), respectively. Colorado State is fifth with 35 points, while UNLV and Boise State are tied for sixth with 32 points. Wyoming rounds out the eight-team field with four points.
The Falcons conclude action at the Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships tomorrow (Feb. 25). Action begins at 9:45 a.m., with the women's shot put.