Air Force Claims Program-Best 23 All-Conference Selections
May 14, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Air Force track and field team received a program-record 23 all-conference selections at the 2012 Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the league office announced today (May 14). By finishing within the top three of their respective events, 19 individuals (21 events) and two relay teams earned all-MW distinction.
The men earned a program-best 17 all-conference honors, en route to their first-ever Mountain West Outdoor Championship title, while the women tallied an Academy record six all-MW honors.
Manny Smith paced the Falcons with three all-conference nods. The senior was the conference runner-up in the 400-meter dash, while becoming the first all-conference honoree in that event since 2000. He also the second leg of the championship 4x400-meter relay and the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay team that finished third.
Four Falcons each earned a pair of Mountain West medals, including senior Jim Walmsley, who collected conference titles in the 3000-meter steeplechase and 5000-meter run and became the first steeplechase all-conference honoree since 2002. Classmate Bryce Bergman ran the lead leg of the winning 4x400-meter relay and finished second in the 400-meter hurdles, while junior Anthony Delgado and freshman Jake Spuller ran on both the winning 4x400-meter relay team and the 4x100-meter relay squad that placed third.
Air Force claimed two of the three all-conference awards in three additional events, including a one-two finish in the 800-meter run behind sophomore Alex Lindsay (first) and senior Nick White (second). Juniors Zach Wood and Cale Simmons won the high jump and pole vault, respectively, while freshman Kobi Rex (high jump) and sophomore Cort Rogers (pole vault) finished third in their respective events. Wood and Rex became the first Falcons to medal in the outdoor high jump since 2001, while Simmons and Rogers marked the 12th time in 13 years that Air Force has medaled in the pole vault.
Also claiming all-conference honors for the men were MW hammer throw champion Rob Drye and discus throw runner-up James Cole, as well as freshman Zach Perkins (1500-meter run), junior Uzor Udensi (4x100-meter relay, lead leg), sophomore Tim Urista (javelin throw) and junior Michael Tibbs (decathlon), who each finished third in their respective events.
Drye claimed his third career all-MW award in the hammer, while Cole and Tibbs earned their second such award in their respective events. Urista's medal marked the 11th time in 13 years that an Air Force javelin thrower has placed within the top three, while Perkins became the Falcons' first all-conference selection in the 1500-meter run since 2005.
Senior Paige Blackburn paced the women with two Mountain West medals, as she won the javelin throw and finished second in the discus throw. Blackburn was one of two Falcons to medal in the javelin, as freshman Nichole Freeman placed third. It is the ninth time in 10 years that Air Force has medaled at least two athletes in the javelin throw.
Junior Morgan Mosby's victory in the 1500-meter run paced Air Force to a one-two finish in that event, as classmate Melissa Fuerst finished second. In addition to Mosby becoming the women's first-ever individual conference champion from the track, she and Fuerst are the first all-conference honorees at that distance and just the fourth and fifth members of the women's team to medal in an outdoor track event.
Sophomore Kassie Gurnell finished second in the triple jump to round out the Falcons' all-conference honorees, collecting the program's first-ever top-three finish in that event at an outdoor championship.
With 23 outdoor all-conference selections and 16 indoor all-MW awards, Air Force tallied a new program record for all-conference awards at 39 total. In addition, the 30 combined honors for the men and the nine total awards for the women are also program-best marks.