Air Force Duo Heads for NCAA Championships
June 3, 2013
The collegiate track and field season comes to a close this week, as sophomores Zach Perkins and Joey Uhle travel to Eugene, Ore., for the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The meet, which will run from June 5-8, will be held at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Senior Cale Simmons was scheduled to compete in the national finals of the pole vault, but a hip flexor injury sustained during the West Preliminary Meet has forced him to withdraw from competition.
The 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., for the first time since 2010. The four-day meet begins on Wednesday, June 5, and continues through Saturday, June 9. Tickets can be purchased through Oregon's ticket office at 1-800-WEB-FOOT. Currently, the meet will be broadcast on Thursday (ESPN3, beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET), Friday (ESPNU, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (ESPNU, beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET) only.
Wednesday, June 5 (4:00 p.m. PST) - Pole Vault Finals
Thursday, June 6 (4:45 p.m. PST) - 1500-Meter Run Semifinals
Saturday, June 8 (2:31 p.m. PST) - 1500-Meter Run Finals
HOW THEY GOT THERE
Both Falcons advanced to the national championship meet based on their top-12 finishes at the West Preliminary meet over the May 23-25 weekend in Austin, Texas. With a clearance of 17'8½", Joey Uhle won the national semifinals of the pole vault, while Zach Perkins finished third in his quarterfinal heat of the 1500-meter heat to earn an automatic berth into the national semifinals.
This is the first appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for both Zach Perkins and Joey Uhle, although Uhle competed at the NCAA Indoor Championships in mid-March and earned All-America status behind a 14th-place finish.
BY THE NUMBERS
Thirteen Falcons have claimed All-America status a total of 20 times at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Former Falcons Nick Frawley, Sara Neubauer and Dana Pounds lead the Academy's DI history with three All-America certificates apiece, while Pounds (javelin, 2005-06) is one of two NCAA champions for Air Force at the Division I level, joining Jim Murphy, who won the 5000-meter title in 1964.
YOU LOOK FAMILIAR
Joey Uhle will be facing off against his twin brother Chris during the pole vault competition at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Wednesday. The Uhle brothers claimed a share of both regional titles during the NCAA Preliminary weekend, as Joey tied for first at the West Prelim (17'8½") and Chris took a share of first at the East Prelim (17'2¾") as a vaulter for Virginia Tech.
Joey Uhle isn't the only twin on the Falcons' original NCAA roster. In fact, all three Air Force qualifiers - Zach Perkins (Charlie, Air Force), Cale Simmons (Rob, Air Force) and Uhle (Chris, Virginia Tech) - have twin brothers.
LINDEMAN AND STEFFAN EARN USTFCCCA AWARDS
Ralph Lindeman and Scott Steffan were awarded regional coaching honors by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on June 3. Lindeman was selected as the Mountain Region Men's Head Coach of the Year for the third time in four cycles, while Steffan claimed his third straight Mountain Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year honor.
FALCONS NAME 2013-14 CAPTAINS
The Falcons announced their eight team captains for the upcoming 2013-14 season on May 31. Elliott Beski, William Kent, Alex Lindsay and David Ptacek were chosen by their teammates as captains for the men's team, while Annette Eichenberger, Kassie Gurnell, Paige Shirley and Kim Smith were selected as the women's team captains.
TRIO EARNS ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
Matt Bell, Jeremy Drenckhahn and Rebecca Esselstein were named to the Capital One Academic All-District VII Team for track and field and cross country, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced on May 30. While it marks the seventh straight year that at least one Air Force athlete has been named an academic all-district selection, the three honorees are the most in Academy history for a single season.
TRACK AND FIELD NETS HALF OF ACADEMY'S TOP-6 AWARDS
The Air Force track and field team claimed three of the Academy's Top-Six awards, which recognizes the top athletes from across all 27 of Air Force's sports teams. Jen Bremser was named the Academy's Most Valuable Female Athlete, while Cale Simmons was honored with the Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award and Jeremy Drenckhahn was the Scholar-Athlete award recipient.
UHLE WINS WEST REGION POLE VAULT TITLE
Backed by a perfect five-for-five mark on first attempt success, Joey Uhle earned a share of the West Region title in the pole vault at the NCAA West Preliminary meet on May 25. Uhle tied for first after clearing 17'8½" with an unblemished slate. After passing on the opening bar, he cleared the next five on his opening try at each height - the only vaulter to post a perfect five-for-five record in the event (his co-champion went four-for-four).
SIMMONS QUALIFIES FOR FOURTH NCAA MEET
Air Force advanced two national finalists in the pole vault, as Cale Simmons cleared 17'8½" on just his second attempt of the meet. Nursing an injury, Simmons skipped the first five heights and did not enter the competition until the bar had been raised to 17'8½" and the majority of the field had already qualified. Without any warm-ups, Simmons cleared the bar on his second attempt to qualify for his fourth consecutive NCAA Championship meet (indoor/outdoor).
PERKINS EARNS FIRST INVITE TO NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Zach Perkins earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Outdoor Championships on May 25, after placing third in his heat of the 1500-meter quarterfinals. Crossing the finish line in a time of 3:45.05, Perkins recorded the third-fastest time in the entire 24-runner field, including all five automatic qualifiers from the other heat.
MOSBY BREAKS ACADEMY RECORD ... AGAIN
Morgan Mosby crushed her own Academy record in the 1500-meter run for the second time this season. Clocking a career-best time of 4:19.86 during first-round action at the NCAA West Preliminary on May 23, Mosby cut nearly four seconds from her previous record to finish overall in the 48-competitor event.
GURNELL IMPROVES JUNIOR CLASS RECORD
Kassie Gurnell, who entered the NCAA Preliminary Meet ranked 30th in the region, used a season-best distance of 41'5¼" to finish 17th in the 48-competitor field. The mark, a three-inch improvement over her previous "best" of the season, is a new Junior Class Record for the Academy, bettering the mark of 41'5" she set indoors.
MORE NEWS FROM THE PRELIMINARY MEET
Garrett Griffin and James Chambers placed within the top half of the semifinal fields of their respective throwing events, as Griffin finished 22nd in the javelin (210'9") and Chambers placed 24th in the discus (173'8"). Annette Eichenberger finished within the top half of competitors in the preliminary round of the 800-meter run, as she finished 21st in the quarterfinal with a time of 2:08.63.