Two Falcons Set For NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 5, 2012
The 2012 track and field season come to a close this week, as Cale Simmons and Jim Walmsley travel to Des Moines, Iowa, for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday-Saturday (June 6-9) at Drake Stadium.
The 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, for the second straight year. The four-day meet begins on Wednesday, June 6, and continues through Saturday, June 9. All information pertaining to the NCAA Championships can be found at the Championship Central page at GoDrakeBulldogs.com. The meet will be streamed by ESPN3.com on Thursday-Saturday, while ESPNU will offer live coverage on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. A complete schedule of Air Force events is below (all times are central).
Thursday, June 7 (7:25 p.m.) - 3000-Meter Steeplechase Semifinals
Friday, June 8 (4:30 p.m.) - Pole Vault Finals
Saturday, June 9 (11:52 a.m.) - 3000-Meter Steeplechase Finals
HOW THEY GOT THERE
Cale Simmons (pole vault) and Jim Walmsley (3000-meter steeplechase) advanced to the national championship meet based on their top-12 finishes at the West Preliminary over the May 24-26 weekend in Austin, Texas. Simmons tied for seventh in the national semifinals of the pole vault, as he cleared the bar at 17'6½". Walmsley used the fourth-fastest steeplechase time in Academy history (8:51.65) during the national quarterfinal race to earn an at-large spot at Drake.
This is the first appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships for both Cale Simmons and Jim Walmsley. However, Simmons competed at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March, where he earned All-America honors after placing fifth in the pole vault.
MOVING ON UP
Jim Walmsley improved his time in the steeplechase by seven seconds during the NCAA quarterfinals on May 25 to finish fifth in the opening heat. That time, which moved Walmsley from fifth to fourth on the program's all-time list, was the second-fastest among non-AQ runners (top-three finishers from each of the three heats), which gave the recently commissioned second lieutenant a spot to the final site of the NCAA Championships as one of the "next three fastest". In fact, Walmsley's time bettered four of the six automatic qualifiers from the latter two heats.
DID YOU KNOW?
Jim Walmsley will be returning to the site of his first-ever 3000-meter steeplechase - which occurred just 40 days ago on April 28 - when he competes in the national semifinals of that event at Drake Stadium.
Cale Simmons needed just one jump to qualify for the pole vault finals. After passing on the opening three heights, the junior entered the competition at the 17'6½" bar and cleared his first attempt, which secured him a top-12 placement. That height, which tied Simmons for seventh in the 48-vaulter field, matched the second-highest clearance of the day.
TRIO RECEIVES REGIONAL DISTINCTION
Three Falcons earned regional distinction by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on June 4. Ralph Lindeman was selected as the Mountain Region Men's Head Coach of the Year, while Scott Steffan was honored as the Mountain Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year and Paige Blackburn was selected as the Mountain Region Female Field Athlete of the Year.
BLACKBURN AND SHEALY NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Paige Blackburn and Kimber Shealy 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 31. It is the second such selection for the pair, who were both named to the second team. Blackburn and Shealy made up half of the Mountain West selections, while becoming the third and fourth Falcons to claim the honor twice in a career.
With the final clearance of his freshman campaign, Joey Uhle set a new Class Record for the Academy in the pole vault during the semifinals of the NCAA Outdoor Championships on May 28. Improving his own height by nearly four inches, Uhle recorded the sixth-best clearance in program history, while breaking the Freshman Class record of 17'5¾" that Paul Gensic had held since 2002.
Several Falcons narrowly missed a trip to Des Moines, based on finishes just outside of the top-12 at the West Preliminary Meet. Despite tying for the second-best clearance of the day in the pole vault (17'6¾"), Joey Uhle finished 14th overall, based on the meet's tie-breaking procedures, while Paige Blackburn earned the same placement in the javelin throw, missing a spot in the finals by just five inches (158'9"). Robert Drye also earned a 14th-place finish in the hammer throw behind a toss of 199'6", while Alex Zubey finished 15th in the 1500-meter run (3:49.04) and Jim Walmsley placed 16th in the 5000-meter run (14:29.54).
MORE NOTES FROM THE PRELIM
Alex Zubey had a strong showing during the first round of competition for the 1500-meter run on May 24. Competing in the first of four heats, Zubey recorded a time of 3:48.28 to finish seventh in his heat. That time remained the seventh throughout the remaining three heats, as the newly commissioned second lieutenant earned the second of four "next fastest" spots into the national quarterfinals. In addition to placing seventh in the 48-runner event, Zubey held a better time than 15 of the 20 automatic qualifiers (top five finishers from each heat).