Air Force names 2011 top athletes

  • Published
  • By Eric M. Grill
  • Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs
Air Force officials recently named the service's 2011 top male and female athletes of the year.

Capt. Weston S. Kelsey, a force support officer from the 310th Mission Support Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., is the 2011 male athlete of the year. Airman 1st Class Emily J. Shertzer, an instrumentalist with the 553rd Air Force Band of the Mid-Atlantic at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., is the 2011 female athlete of the year.

Male Athlete of the Year
Kelsey is the nation's top Men's Epee fencer. He won the December 2010 North American Cup, led the U.S. Men's Epee Fencing Team to the 2011 National Team Championship and the 2011 Zonal Team Championship. He finished seventh in the World Fencing Championship in Paris, leading the U.S. team to its first ever World Cup gold medal in the sport. Kelsey also led the team to silver medals at the World Cup Tallinn in Estonia and the World Cup Heidenheim in Germany. He is currently ranked 14th in the world in this sport and will represent the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London; his third time making the U.S. Olympic Team.

When recognized for his 20 years of hard work and dedication to fitness and fencing, Kelsey said he's humbled and honored to not only represent himself and the Air Force, but the entire nation in the upcoming Olympics.

"When I was 10 years old, I had two friends who were fencing," Kelsey said. "I was ready to move on from baseball so I thought I would give fencing a try. I never imagined that I would be still fencing 20 years later in the Olympic Games."

Female Athlete of the Year
Shertzer won the 2011 International Biathlon Union's Nation Summer Biathlon and was the fastest female in the history of the All-Guard Marathon Team, finishing the Lincoln National Guard Marathon with a time of 2:54:20. She set the course record for the Missoula Half-marathon in Montana and led the Air Force to the 2011 Armed Forces Marathon Championship, finishing the event with a U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials-qualifying time of 2:45:55. Shertzer also set the course record when she won the Kauai Half-Marathon in Hawaii and won the Women's Division of the Wildwood Triathlon in New Jersey and the Patriot's Triathlon in Pennsylvania.

Being chosen for the award is both a surprise and an honor for Shertzer.

"I know there are many quality athletes in the Air Force who are deserving of this distinction, some of whom are teammates I've had the pleasure of competing with the past year," she said.

Shertzer continues to challenge herself not only by running marathons, but by honoring her fellow service members as well.

She donned a 35-pound rucksack March 24, and joined 38 Army and Air National Guardsmen on a 26.2-mile march to honor the 39 National Guardsmen killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001. She will also compete with the Pennsylvania National Guard Biathlon team in the Summer Biathlon Championships.

For more information about the Air Force Athlete of the Year and other Air Force Sports programs, visit