TEMPE, Ariz. – Senior Rachel Herald broke the Academy’s 28-year-old record in the high jump, as the Air Force track and field team wrapped up competition at the Baldy Castillo Classic in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday, March 22. Herald was one of six Falcons to capture first-place finishes at Sun Angel Track.
Herald, who opened her senior season by breaking the program’s 17-year-old indoor high jump record at the Air Force Holiday Open, used a meet-winning clearance of 5’8½” to take over the top spot of the outdoor standings during today’s Baldy Castillo Invitational. With a personal improvement of over a foot, Herald improved a program standard that had stood since 1986. Herald was one of two Falcons to finish within the top 10 of the high jump, as classmate Regan Rogers tied for sixth with a mark of 5’1¼”.
Fellow senior Gavin Owens also accounted for an Academy-best mark, breaking his own record in the 2000-meter steeplechase. Finishing second in the non-traditional race, Owens shattered his previous mark with a time of 5:49.53.
Air Force swept the event titles in both the 800- and 3000-meter events. Seniors Annette Eichenberger and Alex Lindsay claimed first-place finishes in the 800-meter run, while freshman Lindy Long and senior Isaiah Bragg paced the field in the 3000-meter run.
Crossing the finish line in a time of 2:07.92, Eichenberger bettered the field by nearly three seconds. Eichenberger, who also ran on the 4x400-meter relay team that finished fifth in 3:54.95, led Air Force to two of the top-three spots in the 800-meter run, as junior Rebecca Esselstein placed third with the ninth-fastest time in Academy history (2:14.09). On the men’s side, Lindsay clocked a time of 1:50.88 to win the race and pace the Falcons to four top-10 finishes. Junior Zach Perkins finished sixth in 1:51.87, while senior Matthieu Caldwell and freshman Matt Dorsey finished eighth (1:51.87) and 10th (1:51.15), respectively.
Air Force claim three of the top-four finishes in both the men’s and women’s 3000-meter run. Bragg won the men’s race in 8:27.69, while classmate Charlie Perkins and junior Riley Coates finished third (8:33.48) and fourth (8:35.76), respectively. On the women’s side, Long finished first in 10:08.66, while classmate Kirsten Linnartz placed fourth (10:30.36) and junior Heather Connick took fifth (10:32.51).
Senior Kassie Gurnell rounded out the Falcons’ list of event winners, as she recorded a distance of 41’0¼” to win the triple jump. Gurnell, who ran on both the 4x100-meter relay (49.05, with freshman Cecily Agu, sophomore Naomi Alston and junior Morgan Malone) and 4x400-meter relay (3:54.95, with freshman Alexa Chacon, Eichenberger and Alston), paced the Falcons to a one-two finish in the triple jump, as sophomore Angelea Ross took second in 37’10¾”.
The program record book received its first update to the men’s long jump standings since 2007, as junior Blue Kearney recorded the fourth-best mark in Academy history (23’11½”) to take second. Sophomores Riley Vann and Katelyn Holland also impacted the record book, as Vann tied for the fourth in the pole vault behind the program’s ninth-best clearance (11’7¾”) and Holland finished fourth in the shot put with the Academy’s eighth-best distance (44’4¼”).
Junior Danielle Tabb joined Holland among the shot put’s top-five, as she recorded a distance of 45’9¼” to take third, while classmate Kyle Gartrell added a second top-10 finish for Air Force in the long jump, as he recorded a ninth-place mark of 22’5”. Gartrell and Kearney also claimed top 10 marks in the triple jump, with Gartrell improving his distance by two feet to 47’4½” (sixth) and Kearney hit the sand at 46’9” to finish eighth.
Junior Joey Uhle was the runner-up in the pole vault (17’4½”), while sophomore Dylan Bell took fourth at 16’6¾”. Air Force also earned multiple top-10 finishes in the men’s 100-meter dash, as well as the women’s discus throw and javelin throw. Junior Jake Spuller finished sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.90, while freshmen Zach Johnson and Chandler Myers finished eighth (11.09) and 10th (11.19), respectively. Freshman Cydnee Reese finished eighth in the discus with a debut toss of 148’10”, while Holland added a ninth-place throw of 140’7” in her event debut. The trio of senior Kim Smith (132’2”), classmate Alana Piccone (122’0”) and sophomore Jacki French (120’8”) finished eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively, in the javelin throw.
Chacon finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles (14.93) and eighth in the 400-meter hurdles (64.48), while sophomores Joey Wilkin (seventh in the 110-meter hurdles, 14.65) and Jordan McCool (fourth in the 400-meter hurdles, 53.97) earned top-10 finishes in the related men’s events. Senior Tim Urista finished sixth in the javelin throw (198’11”), while sophomore Grant Hamilton rounded out the list of individual top-10 finishers following a seventh-place distance of 53’3½” in the shot put.
Both of the men’s relay squads, which included Spuller, senior Michael Craig and classmate David Ptacek, earned third-place finishes, as the 4x100-meter squad clocked a time of 41.63 (with Johnson) and the 4x400-meter quartet finished in 3:15.53 (with senior Josh Nielsen).
The Falcons return to action next weekend, when select athletes travel to Austin, Texas, for the 87th-annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on March 27-29.
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