Track & Field Seniors Honored at Final Banquet

USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force track and field team’s Class of 2022 was recognized this afternoon (May 22) during the program’s annual Senior Award Ceremony at the Blue and Silver Club. During the final team gathering of the season, the coaching staff recognized its 33 seniors and handed out 14 awards, including the program’s two most-prestigious honors – the Gen Tad Oelstrom Award for Overall Excellence and the David Lyon Award for Leadership.

Sean Geither closed out his Academy career with the team’s top honor – the Gen Tad Oestrom Award for Overall Excellence, an award that goes to the one member of the senior class that excels militarily, academically, and athletically. Geither, ranked 12th in the Academy’s Class of 2022, had another strong season on the track for the Falcons. The leadoff runner of the 4×100-meter relay that won the title at the MW Outdoor Championships, Geither accounted for the 11th-fastest outdoor 200-meter time in program history (21.31) and scored for the Falcons in both the 200- and 400- put events at the conference meet.

The David Lyon Award for Leadership, which was created in 2014 to honor Capt David Lyon, a 2008 Academy graduate and former Air Force thrower who was killed in action in 2013, was awarded to Jenna Kill. The cross country MVP led a young women’s distance squad to resounding success in 2022. Scoring for Air Force at both the indoor (mile run) and outdoor (1500-meter run) conference championships, Kill impacted the program’s Top 10 in both events, as she clocked the seventh-fastest mile (4:51.83a) and ninth-fastest 1500-meter run (4:27.03) in Air Force history. In addition, she led off the 4×1600-meter relay that posted the third-fastest time in Academy history (19:47.50) and ran the third leg of the distance medley relay debuted at No. 10 on the outdoor standings (11:54.02) at the Drake Relays.

Michelle Rock was named the Most Valuable Athlete for the women’s team, while Wyatt Murphy and Ari Martinez captured the Outstanding Competitor awards for their respective squads.

Roca capped her career by breaking her own Academy Record in the 400-meter hurdles, as she became the first sub-60 hurdler in Air Force history during a 59.81 performance at the MW Outdoor Championships. Roca, who bettered the Senior Class Record in that event four times this season, also led off the 4×400-meter relay that registered the program’s fastest outdoor time in 38 years (3:42.14, second overall) at the conference meet and raced on the sprint medley relay that crushed the program standard at the Drake Relays (3:56.82). During the indoor season, she clocked the third-fastest 400-meter (55.17) and fifth-fastest 200-meter (25.13) times in program history, anchored the 4×400-meter relay that posted the second-fastest indoor time in Academy history ( 3:44.52), and ran the sprint leg of the distance medley relay that accounted for the sixth-fastest mark in program history (11:48.86a) during an all-conference performance at the Mountain West Indoor Championships.

Murphy captured four Mountain West medals during a remarkable senior season, anchoring the winning 4×100-meter relay, placing second in both multi-event competitions (heptathlon/decathlon) and earning a third-place finish in the 60-meter dash. In addition to posting the second-highest heptathlon total in program history (5442), Murphy also clocked Air Force Top-25 marks in the 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash and long jump during the indoor season. Outdoors, Murphy became the first Air Force decathlete to ever surpass the 4000-point barrier on the first day of competition – a 4004-point performance that was one of three Decathlon Event Records he set this year (long jump: 23’11½”; 110-meter hurdles: 14.80).Murphy, whose long jump distance was also the fifth-best overall mark in Academy history, tallied 7108 points at the MW Outdoor Championships to move into eighth on the program’s all-time standings.

Martinez, who capped the regular season with the second-best outdoor clearance in Air Force history at 5’10”, became just the third Falcon to medal in the high jump at the MW Outdoor Championships after placing third at last week’s meet with a mark of 5’8″. The senior improved her personal height by two bars during her series at the Air Force Twilight Open to post the conference-leading 5’10” clearance. Martinez, who posted a season-best height of 5’7¾” to tie for fourth at the MW Indoor Championships, placed within the top four in 11 of 14 high jump competitions (four of six indoors, seven of eight outdoors). Martinez, who will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Championships next week, was also honored with the Gail Conway Outstanding Performance Award for her winning 5’10” clearance at the Twilight Open.

Brid O’Connell received the Callie Calhoun Award for Drive and Determination, while Grace Proech received the Laura Piper Ironman Award – an honor named after former Air Force track and field athlete Lt Laura Piper (Class of 1992), who was killed in action during Operation Provide Comfort in 1994. O’Connell continually improved her 800-meter time during the season, finishing with an indoor-best time of 2:11.29a and an outdoor-best time of 2:09.42 – both marks ranked among the top-five in Air Force history. A member of the all-conference distance medley relay and a two-time 800-meter scorer this year, O’Connell also accounted for the program’s seventh-fastest 400-meter time (56.73, indoors), anchored the record-setting sprint medley relay (3:56.82), and ran on the 4×400-meter relays that posted the second-fastest times in Air Force history during both the indoor (3:44.52) and outdoor (3:42.14) seasons, with the latter serving as the fastest time since 1984. Proesch, another member of the sprint medley and 4×400-meter relays, had a tremendous final season on the track for Air Force, competing in every sprint event and posting Air Force Top 10 times in the 100-meter dash ( 12.11 – No. 2 all-time at Air Force), 200-meter dash (24.63 outdoors – No. 3 all-time; 25.20 indoors – No. 6 all-time), and 400-meter dash (56.41 outdoors – No. 10 all-time, 56.81 indoors – No. 8 all-time). Proesch, whose 100-meter time is a new Air Force Senior Class Record, also led off the 4×100-meter relay that posted the seventh-fastest time in Air Force history during a scoring finish at the MW Outdoor Championships.

Ryan Ioanidisthe Most Improved athlete on the men’s team, and Jake Hall, the recipient of the Arne Arneson Coaches Award for Dedication, are both in the middle of stellar senior seasons that will continue next week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Ioanidis, a national qualifier in the 10,000-meter run, was named the Outstanding Performer of the MW Indoor Championships after sweeping the two longest races of the meet. His winning 5000-meter time of 14:09.55 shattered the Championship Meet Record and converted to the third-fastest time in program history (13:47.08a), while his 3000-meter finish of 8:09.15 was the second-fastest time ever at the conference meet, converted to the sixth-fastest time in Air Force history (7:57.11a) and secured the team title for the men. His success continued into the outdoor season, as he raced the second-fastest 10K in program history (28:44.03) during his first outdoor meet, claimed all-MW honors at the conference championships, debuted in the program’s top-10 at 5000 meters (13:50.74 – No. 8 all-time) and claimed a scoring finish at the MW meet that again helped the men secure the team title. Like Ioanidis, the MW Indoor Championships were also memorable for Hall, who became just the eighth Falcon in program history to clear the seven-foot bar in the high jump during an all-conference performance of 7’0¼” (No. 3 all- The only senior in an event group that featured three freshmen and one sophomore, Hall claimed four first-place finishes and cleared an outdoor-best 6’11” at the Beach Invitational to lead the high jump to a top-10 ranking in the USTFCCCA Event Squad Rankings.

Charles Dimnwaobi and Calvin Ciganik rounded out the program’s Senior awards, as Dimnwaobi received the Paul Gensic Resiliency Award and Ciganik was honored with the Falcon Award for Spirit and Enthusiasm. Dimnwaobi, who battled injuries throughout his first two seasons with the program, culminated a stellar senior campaign by running on the winning 4×100-meter relay and claiming a pair of individual medals at the MW Outdoor Championships. After matching the program’s 300-meter record during the indoor season, Dimnwaobi raced up the Academy Record Book during the spring, equaling the third-fastest 100-meter time in Air Force history (10.46) for a runner-up finish at the conference championships and matching his own career-best 200-meter time of 21.01 – the sixth-fastest time in program history – to take third at the MW meet. Ciganik posted a career-best 15’7″ in the pole vault during the indoor season and picked up five top-five finishes over the course of the year.

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