USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – Air Force track and field head coach Ralph Lindeman announced the addition of 33 cadet-athletes to the program’s roster for the upcoming season, as the Falcons concluded their first week of classes at the Academy. The newest group of Air Force track and field athletes includes six high school state champions and several conference champions.
Five state champions join a men’s program that has accounted for three Mountain West titles as many years (2012 indoor, 2012 outdoor, 2013 outdoor).
Andrew Milliron (Charles Town, W.V./Jefferson HS) claimed a pair of state titles at the 2014 West Virginia State Championships, taking first in the 1600-meter run (career-best 4:16.85) and 3200-meter run, while placing third at the state cross country meet. Zac Petrie (Arvada, Colo./Valor Christian HS) earned a state title in the 800-meter run at the Colorado 4A Championships, while also earning runner-up finishes in that distance at the Simplot Games and Mt. SAC Relays. Petrie also picked up individual titles at the Air Force High School Open and Arkansas High School Invitational, while finishing 10th at the New Balance Indoor Nationals. Colorado Springs native Conner Wilburn (The Classical Academy) was the state 3A champion in the 3200-meter run (best of 9:44.02, adjusted for altitude), while adding a runner-up finish in the 1600-meter run and fourth-place finish in cross country.
From the field, John Reynolds (Greenwood Village, Colo./Kent Denver HS) and Jackson Spaulding (Colorado Springs, Colo./Discovery Canyon HS) combined for six titles at their respective Colorado state championship meets. Reynolds, a transfer from Texas A&M, claimed both the long jump and triple jump titles at the 3A championships during his junior year, while taking third in the triple jump at the Simplot Games and Great Southwest Classic as a senior. The 2013 Air Force High School Open champion, Reynolds recorded career-best marks of 49’7¼” (triple jump), 22’9¼” (long jump) and 6’8¾” (high jump). After claiming 4A titles in the shot put and discus as a junior, Spaulding overcame a serious knee injury sustained during the football season to repeat as the state champion in both events as a senior. During his prep career, he recorded career-best marks of 58’11½” in the shot put and 181’5” in the discus.
Andrew Johnston (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty HS), who claimed 10th-place finishes in the 3200-meter run and cross country at the respective Ohio High School State Championships, also added a 15th-place finish at the Midwest Regional of the Nike Cross Country Nationals and an 11th-place finish in the 5000-meter run at the 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals.
Two Falcons earned top-10 finishes in the 400-meter dash at their respective state meets. Tyler Berson (Tucson, Ariz./Ironwood Ridge HS) finished third at the 2013 Arizona High School Division II State Championships (48.94), while Tyler Koss (Fairfield, Calif./Vanden HS) placed sixth in the same event at the California High School State Championship meet (47.55). Berson also added a sixth-place finish at the Arizona High School Decathlon with 5,379 points.
Sean Lyons (Morristown, N.J./Morristown HS) won his sectional meet in the 1600-meter run and finished 25th at the Northeast Regional of the Nike Cross Country Nationals as senior, while Sean O’Bryan (Oak Park, Calif./Westlake HS) was the #2 runner on the cross country team that won the league title. In addition, O’Bryan finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles at the CIF Southern Section divisional final, won that event at the Mt. SAC Relays and finished third at the Arcadia Invitational. Joseph Taylor (Noblesville, Ill./Guerin Catholic HS) clocked 4:17.99 to finish seventh in the 1600-meter run at the Indiana High School State Championships.
On the women’s side, Shelly Spires (Mobile, Ala./Saint Paul Episcopal HS) claimed 13 Alabama state titles as a prep athlete, including two in the heptathlon, six in the high jump, four in the 400-meter dash and one in the 300-meter hurdles. Her 5000-point total in the 2014 heptathlon championships was the nation’s fifth-highest score by a high school senior, while her career-best high jump clearance of 5’9¼” was ranked 11th.
Spires, who will compete on the Air Force volleyball team during the fall semester, will be joined on the Air Force field event roster by classmate Cami Bartlett (Queen Creek, Ariz./Basha HS), who cleared a career-best 12’0” to win the pole vault at the 2013 Desert Classic Invitational.
Carina Gillespie (Chula Vista, Calif./Otay Ranch HS), who attended the Academy’s Prep School during the 2013-14 academic year, was a two-time CIF San Diego Section champion in the 800-meter run and finished fifth in that distance at the 2013 state meet with a career-best time of 2:10.70. Gillespie, who added a sixth-place finish at the California 1A Cross Country Championships during her junior year, is one of two USAFA prep school graduates to join the women’s team this year, as she joins Giulianna Vessa (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley), who clocked a career-best 800-meter time of 2:16.89 as a junior.
The Falcons will add another pair of distance runners in Katie Burnham (Southlake, Texas/Carroll HS) and Amanda Elliott (Richmond Hill, Ga./Richmond Hill HS). Burnham placed 16th at the Nike Cross Country Nationals’ South Regional with a career-best (5K) time of 18:36.90 and finished 18th at the Texas state championship meet., while Elliot finished sixth in the 800-meter run at the Georgia 5A state championships.
Alex Cerise (Thousand Oaks, Calif./LaReina HS) was the 2013 CIF Southern Section Division VI champion in the 300-meter hurdles with a career-best time of 44.50.
In addition, Gabe Brown (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sand Creek HS), Anthony Bucci (Berkley Heights, N.J./Governor Livingston HS), Colin Chehanske (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck HS), Donny Crabill (York, Pa./Central York HS), Cameron Elliott (Mason, Ohio/William Mason HS), Brooks Hardy (Peachtree City, Ga./McIntosh HS), Forrest Isenhour (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock HS), Connor Severino (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial HS), Jimmy Shipley (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park HS), Jamiel Trimble (Cincinnati, Ohio/Northwest HS) and Britt White (Gilbert, Ariz./Highland HS) will join the men’s team, while Hannah Durbin (Richmond, Ky./Model Laboratory School), Nicole Hahn (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley HS), Claire Hickerson (Warsaw, Ind./Warsaw Community HS) and Kat Pennington (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy HS) will join the women’s program.
The Falcons’ Class of 2018 arrived at the Academy on Thursday, June 26, for six weeks of Basic Cadet Training. The freshman spent the first three weeks of BCT in the Cadet Area, focusing on military orientation, physical conditioning and teamwork, before marching out to Jack’s Valley for two weeks of field training activities that develop mental and physical confidence. Upon returning from Jack’s Valley, the newest class of cadets was accepted into the Wing on Tuesday, Aug. 5, and began classes one week ago (Aug. 13).