Air Force Heads to NCAA Outdoor Championships
May 21, 2013
Twenty-three members of the Air Force track and field team will travel to Austin, Texas, this weekend for the West Preliminary of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The three-day event, which will be held at the University of Texas' Michael A. Myers Stadium, will run from Thursday, May 23, to Saturday, May 25.
For the second straight year, the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (West Preliminary) will be held in Austin, Texas. Full championship tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for youth (17 and under) and seniors, while single-day passes are $10 for adults and $7 for youth (17 and under) and seniors. The Longhorns will have live results and video streaming at TexasSports.com. A complete schedule of events for Air Force athletes can be found on page 2 of this release.
HOW THIS WORKS
The 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships begin this weekend at two preliminary sites (West Region-Austin, Texas; East Region-Greensboro, N.C.). Each region features the top 48 declared athletes in each event, with the exception of the decathlon and heptathlon. The top 12 finishers in each event from the two preliminary sites will advance to the national meet on June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.
WHO TO WATCH
The Falcons will send a program-record 23 athletes to the NCAA Championships West Preliminary, including four pole vaulters (men: Cale Simmons, Rob Simmons, Joey Uhle; women: Bizzy Mellado), four 1500-meter runners (men: Jake Hawkins, Zach Perkins; women: Melissa Fuerst, Morgan Mosby) and three javelin throwers (men: Garrett Griffin, Tim Urista; women: Nikki Freeman). The Falcons will also send multiple competitors in the men's 10,000-meter run (Matt Bell, Jeremy Drenckhahn), discus throw (James Chambers, Brian Ford) and hammer throw (Jalen Fooster, Ford). Air Force will also be represented in the men's 200-meter dash (Uzor Udensi), 800-meter run (Alex Lindsay), 5000-meter run (Bell), high jump (Kobi Rex) and shot put (Grant Hamilton), as well as the women's 800-meter run (Annette Eichenberger), 3000-meter steeplechase (Jen Bremser) and triple jump (Kassie Gurnell). A list of the Falcons' regional rankings can be found on page 3 of this release.
AIR FORCE TIED FOR 12TH IN TOTAL NUMBER OF NCAA ENTRIES
With 18 entries into the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the men are tied for 12th in total number of entries among all schools (there are nearly 240 programs sending at least one athlete to the national championships). The Air Force men, which will be represented by 16 athletes in 18 events, are tied with the San Diego State women for the most entries to the NCAA Championships among all the Mountain West schools.
POLE VAULT POWER
With three pole vaulters clearing the 18-foot bar this season, Air Force is the only program in the nation to hold that distinction. In fact, the Falcons are the only squad to have more than one better the 18-foot bar. With an Academy- and conference-record clearance of 18'4¾", Cale Simmons is ranked fifth in the national standings, while Joey Uhle is ranked eighth with his career-best height of 18'1". Following a personal improvement of over one foot at the conference championships (18'0½"), Rob Simmons is ranked 12th in the national standings.
AIR FORCE NETS RECORD 24 ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS
The Falcons collected a program-record 24 all-conference selections at the MW Outdoor Championships, improving the previous record of 23 set last year. By finishing within the top three of their respective events, 20 individuals (22 events) and two relay teams earned all-MW distinction.
FALCONS CLAIM SECOND-STRAIGHT OUTDOOR TITLE
All 28 members of the men's travel party scored at least one point, as Air Force captured its second-straight outdoor team title at the MW Championships on May 11. Backed by three conference titles, five of the top-seven places in the pole vault and two of the top-three finishes in the 400-meter dash, 10,000-meter run, high jump, shot put, discus throw and javelin throw, Air Force bettered the field by 45 points.
MAKING A NAME FOR THE PROGRAM
Since February 2012, the men's track and field team has accounted for three Mountain West titles ... that is one more than all other Academy programs combined (2003 men's cross country, 2004 men's basketball).
LINDEMAN NAMED MW COACH OF THE YEAR
After leading the Falcons to their second straight outdoor team title, Ralph Lindeman was selected by his peers as the Mountain West Coach of the Year. It is the second straight year that he has been awarded the outdoor coaching award. For his Academy career, Lindeman has claimed the outdoor coaching award from the Mountain West on four occasions, while earning the indoor award five times and the WAC award twice.
PERKINS SETS CHAMPIONSHIP-MEET RECORD
Zach Perkins, the conference indoor champion in the mile, added another Mountain West title to his sophomore season, as he won the 1500-meter title in Las Vegas. Clocking a time of 3:44.38, Perkins set a new Championship-Meet Record, breaking a mark that had stood since 2001. That mark was also a new Sophomore Class Record at the Academy.
AIR POWER AT ITS FINEST
The Falcons dominated the pole vault standings at the MW Outdoor Championships, tallying five of the top-seven spots and 30 of the possible 36 points. Cale Simmons won his second straight title with a clearance of 18'0½", while his twin brother Rob Simmons took second with a matching clearance. Joey Uhle completed the sweep of the top-three places with a clearance of 17'4½", while Cort Rogers and Dylan Bell finished fifth (16'4¾") and seventh (16'0¾"), respectively.
Improving his personal clearance by over one foot to 18'0½" at the conference championship meet, Rob Simmons became the fourth vaulter in program history to clear the 18-foot bar, as he tied with Paul Gensic (2004) for the third-best clearance in program history.
DELGADO LEADS A ONE-TWO PUNCH
Anthony Delgado became the program's first 400-meter champion since 2000, as he used a career-best time of 47.76 to claim his first conference title by over a half second. Delgado paced the Falcons to a sweep of the top-two placements in that event, as David Ptacek took second with a personal-best time of 48.39.
JUST THROWING IT OUT THERE
Air Force accounted for seven of the 12 top-three finishes in the throwing events at the conference meet, including second- and third-place finishes in the shot put (Grant Hamilton,(James Chambers), discus throw (Chambers, Brian Ford) and javelin throw Garrett Griffin, Tim Urista). Ford also captured a runner-up finish in the hammer throw. In addition, Hamilton (discus throw, seventh),(Jalen Fooster (hammer throw, eighth) and Michael Tibbs (javelin throw, seventh) added top-eight finishes in their respective events, as the men accounted for 55 of the team's 210 points.
KEARNEY TAKES SILVER IN LONG JUMP
Recording a wind-aided distance of 24'1" on his final attempt, Blue Kearney finished second in the long jump at the conference championships to became the program's first top-three finisher in that event since 2004 (incidentally, the last time the conference championship meet was held at UNLV). The mark was Kearney's best of the season in wind-aided conditions.
CAUTION, FALLING RECORDS!
The relay squad of Bethany Gross, Naomi Alston, Morgan Malone and(Kassie Gurnell shattered the Academy record in the 4x100-meter relay, crossing the finish line in a time of 47.29. Backed by a seventh-place finish, the quartet easily broke the previous mark of 47.61 that had stood since 2005.