May 17, 2014 11:19 PM by Posted by Greg Smith
LARAMIE, Wyo. - Highlighted by conference titles in the women's high jump (senior Rachel Herald) and men's pole vault (junior Joey Uhle), the Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the 2014 Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships this afternoon (May 17) in Laramie. The men finished fourth in the team standings, while the women placed 10th.
Herald improved her own Academy-record in the high jump to win the first high jump title in Air Force women's history. With a career-best clearance of 5'9¼", Herald broke her own program standard and helped Air Force to a sweep of the conference's 2014 high jump titles, as freshman Taylor Smith captured the men's high jump title yesterday.
With a clearance of 17'1", Uhle captured his first career outdoor title (third overall) and paced the Falcons to a sweep of the top-three placements in the pole vault. Sophomore Dylan Bell and senior Cort Rogers recorded the same clearance to finish second and third, respectively, based on attempts. The clearance was a career-best for Rogers and the 10th-best clearance in Academy history.
Sophomore Grant Hamilton became the program's first thrower to surpass the 60-foot mark in the outdoor shot put, as he finished second with an Academy-record throw of 60'8". In addition to improving his own Sophomore Class Record, Hamilton paced Air Force to half of the top-four finishes in that event, as freshman Darby Maier finished fourth with a throw of 55'9".
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Highlighted by a third-place finish from sophomore Garrett Griffin, the Falcons claimed three of the top-five finishes in the javelin throw. Griffin tossed a 203'5" to finish third, while freshman Taylor Hulslander placed fourth with a career-best distance of 202'5" and senior Tim Urista took fifth with a throw of 202'0".
Air Force also added a pair of scoring finishes in the 800-meter run, 110-meter hurdles and triple jump. Seniors Matthieu Caldwell and Alex Lindsay finished fourth (1:52.00) and sixth (1:52.79), respectively, in the 800-meter run, while junior Casey Riggs (sixth, 14.55) and sophomore Joey Wilkin (seventh, 14.59) added top-eight finishes in the hurdles. Juniors Blue Kearney and Kyle Gartrell, who scored for the Falcons yesterday in the long jump, added scoring placements following career-best performances in the triple jump. Kearney recorded a distance of 47'11¾" to finish seventh, while Gartrell added a career-best distance of 47'10" to finish eighth.
Kearney also ran the opening leg of the 4x100-meter relay that finished fifth in 40.97, leading off a squad that included freshman Zach Johnson, junior Jake Spuller and senior David Ptacek. Spuller, who individually finished fourth in the 200-meter dash with a career-best time of 21.36 (the seventh-fastest time in Academy history), also led off the 4x400-meter relay of Ptacek, Caldwell and Lindsay that finished sixth in a time of 3:15.27. Junior Riley Coates rounded out the list of Air Force scorers, as he finished sixth in the 5000-meter run with a time of 14:57.82.
New Mexico scored 185 points to win its first conference title, while Colorado State (156 points) and Utah State (127) finished second and third, respectively. Air Force finished just one point behind the Aggies, taking fourth with 126 points, while Wyoming (fifth, 110), Boise State (sixth, 67) and Fresno State (seventh, 45) rounded out the field.
Senior Kassie Gurnell was the runner-up in the triple jump for the second time in three years, as she recorded a season-best, Senior Class Record, distance of 41'11¼"
In addition to her finish in the triple jump, Gurnell also ran on both scoring relays for the women. She teamed up with sophomore Naomi Alston, junior Morgan Malone and freshman Mikayla Robertson to finish fourth in the 4x100-meter relay (47.70), while joining Alston, Malone and senior Annette Eichenberger on the 4x400-meter relay that finished eighth in 3:55.84.
Individually, Eichenberger finished fourth in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:41.97, while classmate Kim Smith and junior Danielle Tabb added additional scoring finishes from the field. Smith recorded a season-best distance of 140'7" to take fourth in the javelin throw and Tabb placed eighth in the shot put with a mark of 47'11¾".
Although missing a scoring finish by just one spot, sophomore Katelyn Holland continued to climb up the Academy's all-time standings in the shot put, as she moved into seventh on the all-time list with a career-best distance of 45'4¼".
San Diego State successfully defended its conference title with 144 points, taking a 20-point advantage on runner-up New Mexico. Just four points separated Colorado State (third, 94.50), Wyoming (fourth, 94) and Boise State (fifth, 90.50), while Utah State took sixth with 78 points. UNLV (59) edged Fresno State (56) for seventh, while Nevada (ninth, 47), Air Force (10th, 31) and San Jose State (11th, 0) rounded out the field.