May 22, 2014 11:00 PM by Jordan Mason
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Seventeen members of the Air Force track and field team qualified to the West Preliminary of the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the national committee announced Thursday. The Falcons, who qualified athletes in 18 total events, will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., next week (May 29-31) for the opening round of national competition.
Based on their respective rankings within the region's top 48, 13 men and four women earned a place in the first round. The Falcons will compete in six distance races, four jumping events and three throwing events at the John McDonnell Track on the University of Arkansas' campus.
The men qualified three Falcons in both the 1500-meter run and pole vault, as well as two in the shot put. Junior Zach Perkins, sophomore Patrick Corona and freshman Matt Dorsey all recorded qualifying times in the 1500-meter run, while junior Joey Uhle, sophomore Dylan Bell and senior Cort Rogers earned a place in the pole vault competition and sophomore Grant Hamilton and freshman Darby Maier will represent Air Force in the shot put.
Two other Falcons qualified to the national semifinals of their respective events, as junior Blue Kearney qualified in the long jump and Garrett Griffin earned a spot in the javelin throw.
Senior Isaiah Bragg qualified to the West Preliminary meet in both the 5000- and 10,000-meter races, while classmates Matthieu Caldwell and Gavin Owens will represent the Falcons on the track in the 800-meter run and 3000-meter steeplechase, respectively.
Senior Annette Eichenberger, who holds the highest regional ranking of any Air Force athlete (ninth), will compete in the 800-meter run at the Arkansas regional. Classmates Kassie Gurnell and Rachel Herald qualified in the triple jump and high jump, respectively, while junior Danielle Tabb earned a place in the national semifinals of the shot put.
Gurnell will be making her fourth straight trip to the West Preliminary of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, while Uhle will be making his third appearance in as many years. In addition, it will be the second straight preliminary trip for Eichenberger, Griffin, Hamilton and Perkins.
The three-day NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (West Preliminary) will run simultaneously with the East Preliminary meet in Jacksonville, Fla. The top 12 athletes in each event from both sites will advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will be held June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.
Men's NCAA West Preliminary Qualifiers
Dylan Bell | Pole Vault | 20th at 17'6½"
Isaiah Bragg | 5000-Meter Run | 45th at 14:07.49
Isaiah Bragg | 10,000-Meter Run | 47th at 29:37.25
Matthieu Caldwell | 800-Meter Run | 44th at 1:50.09a
Patrick Corona | 1500-Meter Run | 32nd at 3:45.02a
Matt Dorsey | 1500-Meter Run | 43rd at 3:45.74
Garrett Griffin | Javelin Throw | 47th at 204'11"
Grant Hamilton | Shot Put | 17th at 60'8"
Blue Kearney | Long Jump | 33rd at 24'7¾"
Darby Maier | Shot Put | 39th at 57'2¾"
Gavin Owens | 3000-Meter Steeplechase | 29th at 8:57.31
Zach Perkins | 1500-Meter Run | 26th at 3:44.43
Cort Rogers | Pole Vault | 33rd at 17'1"
Joey Uhle | Pole Vault | 17th at 17'6½"
Women's NCAA West Preliminary Qualifiers
Annette Eichenberger | 800-Meter Run | 9th at 2:04.52
Kassie Gurnell | Triple Jump | 16th at 41'11¼"
Rachel Herald | High Jump | 39th at 5'9¼"
Danielle Tabb | Shot Put | 25th at 51'11"