Sam Gilman Breaks 1500 Record at Drake Relays

DES MOINES, Iowa – Air Force sophomore Sam Gilman broke the Academy’s five-year-old record in the 1500-meter run this evening (April 23), as the Air Force track and field team continued action at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. Gilman was one of five Falcons to improve the program’s Top 10 individual standings on Friday, while Air Force also accounted for four additions to the non-traditional relay list.
With an Academy Record – and conference leading – time of 3:40.39, Gilman finished third in the 13-runner final. One of four runners to better a Meet Record that had stood for the last 31 years, Gilman knocked 1.47 seconds off his previous best time from last Saturday to break the Academy’s 2016 record by nearly a second. In just three collegiate races at the 1500-meter distance, Gilman has moved from 11th to third to first on the program’s all-time standings and reset the program’s Sophomore Class Record.
The women’s 1500-meter run also received an improvement on the Blue Oval this evening, as senior Mahala Norris deleted three seconds from her previous best time to improve her own No. 2 placement on the Academy’s all-time standings and finish third in the 15-runner field (4:15.98).
Junior Ari Martinez registered the fifth-best high jump clearance in Academy history after finishing third out of 14 jumpers with a career-best clearance of 5’7¾”, while sophomore Hayden Bullock debuted in the same placement on the program’s discus throw standings. Following a career-best throw of 48’7¼” in the shot put, Bullock accounted for the fifth-best discus throw in Academy history during a third-place performance. Unleashing a 180’9″ on his final attempt, Bullock improved his personal-best distance for the third time in the six-throw series and added more than four feet to the program’s Sophomore Class Record. Freshman Katie Thompson rounded out today’s rewrite of the program’s top 10 standings, as she accounted for the sixth-fastest 100-meter hurdles race in Air Force history. Prior to finishing fifth in the long jump with a distance of 19’2¾” (+2.3 wind), Thompson clocked a career-best time of 14.56 to finish within the top half of the 26-hurdler field and move into a tie for sixth on the program’s all-time standings.
Air Force also competed in four non-traditional relays today at Drake Stadium, including the 4×800-meter race that counted toward the Relay Cup standings. Junior Garrett Blenkush, senior Aric Kedge, junior Frank Rossi and senior Colin Dwyer combined for the fourth-fastest time in Academy history (7:31.77) and a seventh-place finish to give Air Force two points in the Cup standings after the first day of scoring.
The Falcons impacted the program standings in the other three relays, as well. The men’s 4×1600-meter relay of sophomore Scott Maison, freshman Luke Combs, classmate Nick Scheller and senior Konrad Steck posted the Academy’s third-fastest time (16:48.60) during a third-place performance, while the men’s 4×200-meter and women’s 4×1600-meter relays accounted for the program’s fifth-fastest times in their respective events. Juniors Wyatt Murphy and Sean Geither teamed up with seniors Zachary Dicken and Luke Zuluaga for a runner-up finish in the 4×200-meter relay (1:26.12), while three freshman (Rebecca Wusinich, Rayna Fruchey, Rachel Crytser) and one sophomore (Stephanie Gregersen) combined for a 4×1600-meter time of 20:16.65 to finish fourth in the eight-team event.
Geither also clocked a 200-meter time of 21.94 to win his heat and finish fourth in the full 16-runner event, while classmate Michelle Roca earned the same placement – against the same sized field – in the 400-meter hurdles, after crossing the finish line in 1:01.14. Fellow junior La’a Aiu finished within the top-half of the men’s 400-meter hurdles final following a seventh-place time of 53.96.
Martinez paced Air Force to a pair of finishes within the top-half of the overall standings in the high jump, as senior Kathleen Medill tied for seventh with a season-best matching clearance of 5’4¼”. The Falcons added a pair of top-eight finishes in the pole vault, as seniors Mitch Lipe and Greg Skage finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 16-vaulter event with matching jumps of 16’11½” (season-best for Skage).
The Falcons return to the Blue Oval tomorrow (April 24) for the final day of competition at the 111th Drake Relays, while additional members of the squad travel to Fort Collins for the Jack Christiansen Invitational.


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