2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • A happy tale to get Air Force fans primed for football signing day

    Tue, January 31, 2012 by admin with no comments

    On Wednesday, the Gazette’s Frank Schwab will provide updates throughout the day – which is national football signing day across the country – on the Falcons’ latest recruiting class, including inside stories from the newest Air Force football players and a list of all of the Falcons’ biggest recruits, along with video highlights. He will also answer any recruiting questions during the day on Twitter, @GazetteAirForce. So keep checking the blog through the day, starting early Wednesday morning – and here’s a story of one of the new recruits as a sneak preview:

    At one point, Kola Alli was getting all the attention from colleges you’d expect from a player who was strong enough to play defensive end and could run a 4.65-second 40-yard dash.

    Alli, who is from Kennedale, Texas, said he had gotten some preliminary interest from schools like Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Michigan State. He had also heard from Air Force.

    Then over the summer, in a 7-on-7 tournament, he went down with a bad knee injury.

    “I was just sitting there thinking ‘Am I going to be able to play this season?’” Alli said.

    The news that he had a torn anterior cruciate ligament let him know his senior season wouldn’t happen. Then he started wondering about what might happen after high school.

    “I was worried,” Alli said. “I thought it would wipe out all chances of me playing college ball.”

    Alli said the attention from colleges stopped, but Air Force kept its offer on the table. He was thrilled when he heard from Air defensive line coach Ron Burton, who recruits that area and reaffirmed Air Force’s offer for him to come.

    “I felt relieved after that; that was a load off my shoulders,” said Alli, who will probably be an outside linebacker in college.

    Alli will go to the prep school next year (assuming he’s healthy, or he could postpone that another year) and then can come to the academy. He still is rehabilitating the knee – he said he has started running and cutting a little bit and said he is feeling good – and he might be one of the more appreciative recruits in the nation on Wednesday, which is national signing day across the country.

    “I’m lucky,” Alli said. “I’m definitely lucky to be able to do this.”

  • This might warm you up: Air Force baseball is practicing

    Sun, January 29, 2012 by admin with 2 comments

    Even though the calendar is still stuck on January and it was about 25 degrees with blowing snow at Air Force Academy on Friday, the Falcons baseball team was out on the field for its first practice.

    The first signs of baseball must mean spring is coming reasonably soon.

    The weather warmed up a bit for the Falcons over the weekend, and they’re taking advantage of all the time they can get outside.

    “We’ll go outside as long as there’s not snow on the ground,” Air Force basketball coach Mike Kazlausky said. “We’ll have plenty of time to be inside.”

    The Falcons start the baseball season very soon, with a doubleheader at Baton Rouge, La. against Alcorn State and national power LSU on Feb. 17. Air Force has some key pieces coming back, such as all-Mountain West picks pitcher Sean Carley and catcher Garrett Custons. The team has taken on the motto “What’s important now,” to put an emphasis on staying focused, and has making the conference tournament as a top goal.

    “I’m excited about how hard our team is practicing,” Kazlausky said.

  • Final: UNLV 65, Air Force 63 (overtime)

    Sun, January 29, 2012 by admin with 17 comments

    Had Air Force guard Michael Lyons’ final shot of regulation fell, or even if a foul Lyons thought he drew on his drive to the basket was called, the night at Clune Arena probably would have ended up with Falcons fans on the Clune Arena floor celebrating the biggest upset in program history.

    Instead, Air Force seemed to be spent when Lyons’ shot came off the rim and the game went to overtime. The Falcons fell short in overtime, but it wasn’t because they didn’t play hard.

    “Great effort,” coach Jeff Reynolds said. “Can’t fault our kids’ effort. I thought they played their hearts out.”

    Reynolds didn’t blame six overtime turnovers on his team being tired, but it had to be a factor. For most of the game, sensing the very real possibility of beating a ranked team for only the second time in Air Force basketball history (the other win was against 21st-ranked UTEP in 1992; UNLV is ranked 12th), every loose ball ended up with an Air Force player or two on the floor. The Falcons worked hard to force a talented UNLV team to settle for many bad shots. UNLV shot just 32 percent from the field in the second half and 33 percent in overtime.

    Air Force doesn’t usually turn the ball over, but with most of the players on the floor reaching or past 40 minutes of game action, it turned the ball over six times in overtime.

    “We’re a little disappointed how we executed at the end,” forward Kamryn Williams said. “The effort was there, everything was there, we just didn’t execute at the end.”

    Despite all the mistakes, Air Force still had a chance to win at the end. With 7.6 seconds left and Air Force trailing 65-63, Falcons forward Mike Fitzgerald dove on a loose ball and called a timeout. Air Force called a play for guard Todd Fletcher, who Reynolds termed his best driver and ballhandler. UNLV played Fletcher well on the screen and he didn’t get the shot off. He tried to pass but even if UNLV’s Chace Stanback hadn’t knocked the pass away, it might have been too late to get up any shot.

    “Sometimes you make ill-advised decisions under pressure,” Reynolds said.

    The loss was disappointing, and dropped Air Force to 11-8 and 1-4 in Mountain West play, but it could end up being a confidence builder for the Falcons.

    “We’re a good basketball team,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got to continue to believe in what we’re doing and at some point we’ll be in a position where at least we get a shot at it.”

  • Pregame: Air Force vs. UNLV; Fletcher likely to play

    Sat, January 28, 2012 by admin with no comments

    Guard Todd Fletcher, who was a game-time decision with a foot injury, was going through pregame warmups and it appears he will play tonight against UNLV. The Falcons will need him.

    Fletcher is the Falcons’ best ballhandler, and the Rebels will pressure Air Force’s backcourt the entire game. The Rebels have forced 191 steals this season. The Falcons will try to keep the pace very slow in this game, which is the best way to frustrate a UNLV team that averages 81.3 points per game.

  • Kansas State reportedly looking in-house for defensive coordinator; Wallerstedt to stay at AFA?

    Fri, January 27, 2012 by admin with 2 comments

    According to a report from Kansas.com, the Wichita Eagle’s website, Kansas State may hire someone from its own staff to be its new defensive coordinator, with Matt Wallerstedt staying at Air Force to remain defensive coordinator.

    Wallerstedt, who played at Kansas State and also was an assistant there before coming to Air Force, talked with Kansas State coach Bill Snyder about the job, but the report said it “doesn’t appear he is prepared to leave the Falcons at this time,” referring to Wallerstedt.

    Wallerstedt has not returned messages this week.

  • Starting guard Todd Fletcher in walking boot, game-time decision for UNLV

    Thu, January 26, 2012 by admin with 6 comments

    Guard Todd Fletcher injured his foot late in Air Force’s loss against TCU on Wednesday and may not be able to play Saturday against UNLV.

    Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said Fletcher didn’t practice today, he isn’t planning on having Fletcher do anything Friday, and will be a “game-time decision” for Saturday’s game against UNLV. Air Force doesn’t think Fletcher broke any bones in his foot, so the Falcons are initially calling the injury a sprained foot. Fletcher was in a walking boot today, Reynolds said.

    “They say he’s pretty sore,” Reynolds said.

    Fletcher suffered the injury with about six minutes left in Wednesday’s game.

    “He played on it, but he was hobbling,” Reynolds said.

    If Fletcher can’t play, freshman Chris Carter would start, Reynolds said. Shawn Hempsey would probably get more time off the bench.

    Fletcher averages a team-high 30.5 points per game, averages 9.7 points and has a team-best 56 assists.

  • 36 Air Force athletes honored on MW fall academic all-conference team

    Thu, January 26, 2012 by admin with no comments

    Here are the 36 Air Force athletes named to the Mountain West’s fall sports academic all-conference team:

    Men’s Cross Country

    Edward Artz

    Junior, 3.89, Aeronautical Engineering

    Matthew Bell

    Junior, 3.53, Environmental Engineering

    Jeremy Drenckhahn

    Junior, 3.80, Biology

    Jacob Hawkins

    Sophomore, 3.77, Physics

    Elliot Myers

    Freshman, 3.58, Undeclared

    Gage Owens

    Junior, 3.20, Mechanical Engineering

    Andrew Quallio

    Junior, 3.22, Mechanical Engineering

    Women’s Cross Country

    Amanda Blain

    Sophomore, 3.78, Legal Studies

    Jennifer Bremser

    Junior, 3.42, Behavioral Sciences

    Katherine Carroll

    Senior, 3.27, Electrical Engineering

    Taylor Drolshagen

    Freshman, 3.07, Undeclared

    Rebecca Esselstein

    Freshman, 3.95, Undeclared

    Michelle Ferguson

    Freshman, 3.97, Undeclared

    Emily Hazen

    Freshman, 3.01, Undeclared

    Kate Kanetzky

    Junior, 3.79, Geospatial Science


    Jeffrey Benson

    Senior, 3.40, Systems Engineering Management

    Asher Clark

    Senior, 3.01, Economics

    Jordan Eason

    Junior, 3.13, Foreign Area Studies

    Joshton Hall

    Senior, 3.25, Legal Studies

    Broam Hart

    Freshman, 3.04, Undeclared

    Ty MacArthur

    Sophomore, 3.22, Systems Engineering Management

    Erik Soderberg

    Senior, 3.00, Management

    Daniel Vinson

    Sophomore, 3.16, Operations Research

    A.J. Wallerstein

    Senior, 3.48, Physics/Mathematics

    Women’s Soccer

    Eryn Avjian

    Junior, 3.26, Materials Chemistry

    McKenna Fox

    Freshman, 3.17, Undeclared

    Victoria Gullo

    Freshman, 3.67, Biology

    McKenna Kimball

    Freshman, 3.55, Undeclared

    Bridgett Murphy

    Senior, 3.48, English

    Krystin Shanklin

    Senior, 3.55, Behavioral Sciences

    Kelly Stambaugh

    Sophomore, 3.21, English

    Felicia Sturgeon

    Freshman, 3.50, Undeclared

    Women’s Volleyball

    Claire Bieber

    Sophomore, 3.54, Political Science

    Elizabeth Carpenter

    Freshman, 3.36, Undeclared

    Ayesha Hein

    Freshman, 4.00, Undeclared

    Maiya Perich

    Junior, 3.45, Foreign Area Studies

  • Air Force, Reynolds requires someone (anyone) to step up in late minutes of games

    Thu, January 26, 2012 by David Ramsey with no comments

    For details:


  • Reynolds wanted Fitzgerald to take last shot

    Wed, January 25, 2012 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    Just talked with Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds. He confirmed he wanted Mike Fitzgerald to take the final shot, but Fitzgerald was unable to break free.

    Instead, Todd Fletcher took – and missed – a 3-pointer that would have tied the game and gave the Falcons a chance to win in overtime.

  • Bad loss in Fort Worth; Falcons lose 59-56

    Wed, January 25, 2012 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    AFA had chances, but couldn’t deliver in final minute.

    Falcons have lost three straight conference games and now must face UNLV and New Mexico. Tough times for Air Force.