Falcons Conclude First Day of NCAA Outdoor Championships

May 24, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas - The Air Force track and field team wrapped up the first day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (West Preliminary) on Thursday, May 24, in Austin, Texas. Four Falcons competed in the national semifinal of their respective events, while four others participated in first-round races.

Senior Paige Blackburn finished 14th in the semifinals of the javelin throw, missing a spot in the national finals meet by a mere five inches. Blackburn recorded a distance of 158'9" on her second attempt. As one of the top 16 throwers in the 48-competitor event, Blackburn advanced to the second round where she earned another three attempts. The mark of 158'9" remained her best of the six attempts and she finished the day ranked 14th (the top 12 advance to the finals in two weeks). Sophomore Kim Smith also competed in the javelin throw, placing 38th with a throw of 135'9". Classmate Tim Urista earned the same placement in the men's javelin, after recording a distance 189'11".

Andrew Quallio participated in the national semifinal of the 10,000-meter run. Competing at that distance for just the third time in his career, the junior placed 29th in the 48-runner event with a time of 31:26.79.

Several first-round events took place on the track today for Air Force athletes.

Senior Alex Zubey advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal round of competition in the 1500-meter run, after clocking a time of 3:48.28. The top five finishers from each of the four first-round heats advance to the next round, as well as the next four fastest runners (regardless of their heat). Zubey, who was competing in the fastest heat, finished seventh in his round and earned one of the four "next fastest" spots. However, as a member of the fastest heat, Zubey finished seventh in the entire 48-runner event - holding a better time than 15 of the 20 automatic qualifiers.

Senior Bryce Bergman participated in the first round of the 400-meter hurdles, placing 29th with a time of 52.67. Bergman just missed advancing to the 27-runner quarterfinal round, as he ended tied with USC's Duane Walker for the first non-advancing time. In their first appearance at the NCAA Championships, juniors Melissa Fuerst and Morgan Mosby placed 28th and 34th, respectively, in the first round of action for the women's 1500-meter run. Fuerst, who finished seventh in her heat, crossed the finish line in a time of 4:32.31, while Mosby, who ran in the opening heat, timed 4:35.39 to finish ninth in her group.

Action at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (West Preliminary) will continue tomorrow (May 25) at Michael A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. Air Force will participate in five events during the second day of competition, beginning at 11 a.m. (CST) with Blackburn in the women's discus throw.