Falcons Claim Two Champions on Third Day of MW Championships
May 11, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Highlighted by conference championship titles by senior Jim Walmsley (3000-meter steeplechase) and junior Zach Wood (high jump), the Air Force men's track and field wrapped up a strong day of competition at the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday, May 11.
Competing in just the second steeplechase of his career, Walmsley clocked a time of 9:24.96 to win the conference title by a two-second margin. He is the Falcons' first conference champion in the steeplechase since David Romero in 2002.
Wood cleared 6'10¼" to claim the first conference outdoor high jump title in Academy history. With the victory, the junior led the Falcons to half of the scoring placements in that event. Freshman Kobi Rex and junior Travis Smith finished third and fourth, respectively, with matching marks of 6'8¾", while freshman Evan McDowell took eighth with a height of 6'4¾".
The Falcons also earned points from a pair of runners in the 10,000-meter run, as sophomore Isaiah Bragg and junior Jeremy Drenckhahn placed sixth (31:41.85) and eighth (31:54.21), respectively. Bragg's altitude-converted time of 30:00.27 is the 10th-fastest time in Academy history.
Through seven events, the men have accounted for three champions, one runner-up and two third-place finishers. The men currently lead the team standings with 67 points, while Boise State is a close second with 64.50 points. Wyoming is in third with 51 points, while New Mexico (43), Colorado State (32.50) and TCU (15) round out the field.
Senior Paige Blackburn was the runner-up in the women's discus throw (163'1"), while also scoring in the hammer throw with a mark of 180'11". Blackburn was one of two Falcons to score in the discus, as junior Katy Moorkamp finished sixth with a career-best toss of 152'5". Moorkamp's mark - a personal improvement by five feet - is the sixth-best throw in Academy history.
The women also earned multiple scoring placements in the pole vault. Senior Kimber Shealy placed fourth, junior Bizzy Mellado tied for fifth and freshman Wren Bonner finished eighth with matching clearances of 12'3½". Junior Jen Bremser scored for Air Force in the 3000-meter steeplechase, as she finished eighth in 11:41.94.
The women are in sixth place with 23 points. Colorado State leads the team standings with 62 points, while San Diego State is ranked second with 49.50 points. TCU (44), Boise State (32) and New Mexico (25.50) round out the top five, while UNLV (20) and Wyoming (17) are ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.
Several qualifying events were also contested today.
Senior Bryce Bergman won the preliminary round of action in the 400-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 51.89. He also qualified to the finals of the 110-meter hurdles after placing fifth with a season-best matching time of 14.33. Classmate Manny Smith won his preliminary round of the 400-meter dash, clocking a time of 47.90.
The Falcons qualified three runners to the finals of the 200-meter dash. Junior Uzor Udensi finished sixth with a time of 21.62, while freshman Jake Spuller and junior Anthony Delgado placed seventh (21.63) and eighth (career-best 21.69), respectively. Air Force also earned a pair of finalists in the 800-meter run, as sophomore Alex Lindsay won his heat with a time of 1:54.56 to place second overall and senior Nick White finished second in his heat and third overall with a time of 1:53.39.
On the women's side, senior Rachel Thomas qualified to the finals of the 400-meter hurdles with an eighth-place preliminary time of 62.01. Although she did not qualify to the finals of the 100-meter hurdles, junior Lesly Torres clocked a career-best 14.91 - the 10th-best time in Academy history.
Action concludes tomorrow (Saturday, May 12) with the final day of competition at the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The meet begins at 10:30 a.m., with the women's shot put, while the first running event gets underway at 12:30 p.m.