Air Force earns gold, bronze track and field at Warrior Games

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  • By Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
  • Defense Media Activity
The Air Force team earned first place in one event and third in two track events during the 2011 Warrior Games track and field competition May 17 here.

Vanessa Warren, the Air Force track coach, said their team goal was to earn as many medals as they could, and the team made huge strides toward that goal today.

"I'm really impressed," she said. "Stacy Pearsall came out and just killed the 800m dash, which is really good. The team seems like they are a lot more polished (as) athletes than they were last year, so that in itself is huge. To see them come out and do as well as they have -- Jason (Morgan) medaled twice in two of his races."

Stacy Pearsall earned the gold medal in the women's 800m dash open. Jason Morgan earned the bronze in the men's wheelchair 200m dash and men's wheelchair 800m dash.

"I try to give them where there mindset needs to be," Warren said. "One: give them the confidence that (they) can do this, especially at altitude, because a lot of them aren't coming from this (environment). Also, give them a little bit of strategy, as anybody would, on the track. When to push and when not to push, and when to sit back and how to gauge yourself and what you have and what you're going to give at different times. I just try to motivate them to do the best they can."

In her race against Marine Savage Margraf, Marine Olivia Koller and the Army's Christina Mitchell, Pearsall finished with a time of 3:31.67, beating her closest competition by more than 20 seconds. Pearsall began the race with a clear lead and maintained it throughout the entire race to earn the first gold medal of the day for the Air Force team.

In his first of three races for the day, Morgan finished the wheelchair 800m dash with a time of 3:27.77, bringing home the bronze for the Air Force. Marine Peter Park won first place with a time of 2:24.44, and the Navy's Nathan Dewalt barely squeaked past Morgan to snag second place with a time of 3:24.39. Morgan, who only had two months to train due to a five-month hospitalization, finished the wheelchair 200m dash in 45.17, blowing past Dewalt, who earned second place ahead of him in two previous races. Park won first place in the event, securing his third gold medal for the Marine Corps team.

"(Being in the hospital) hurt me a little bit on the track -- staying in the lane -- but that's just technique," Morgan said. "I did the best I could with what I had. I trained really hard, but I felt fortunate just to be on the team because I missed the training camp because I was in the hospital. I didn't want let anyone down, including myself, but much more so the whole team."

Christopher D'Angelo and Matt Sanders finished fifth and seventh in the men's 800m dash open with times of 2:35.62 and 2:52.15 respectively.

The pair competed again in the men's 200m dash open. Sanders earned fifth place this time with a time of 27.51, and D'Angelo rounded out the competition at 30.18.

Sanders also represented the Air Force in the men's 100m dash with a score 12.82 for seventh place.