By Thea Skinner
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
From across the country, Air Force men’s and women’s teams earned top accolades placing first at the 2009 Armed Forces Cross Country Championship in Derwood, Md., Feb. 7.
Three Peterson AFB Airmen: Capt. Jason Schlarb, Space Logistics Group, Airman 1st Class Angela Martell, 21st Dental Squadron, and Lt. Col. Mike Wasson, 21st Operations Group deputy commander, fared favorably at the national competition, placing themselves in the running for world championships.
Captain Schlarb is also a participant in the World Class Athlete Program that provides Airmen athletes with support and training to compete in national and international competitions including the Olympic Games.
“Captain Schlarb had the performance of the day. In his amazing last lap, he overcame two Navy runners, overtaking one at the finish tape and propelling the AF team to the overall team title. Air Force men impressively finished third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, edging out Navy by one point. This was the first AF men’s win since 2004, breaking the Navy’s three-year consecutive win streak,” said Colonel Wasson, team leader.
“Our Peterson team performed very well at the Armed Forces championships. Airmen Martell was the Armed Forces Bronze medal winner. She had a critical contribution to the overall Air Force victory in the women’s race. The first Air Force women’s win since results have been recorded – back to 1987,” said Colonel Wasson.
The competition was Airman Martell’s first national competition, a goal she harbored for several years. Colonel Wasson approached Airman Martell at November’s 5-kilometer race in support of the base’s 2008 Combined Federal Campaign.
“I never thought it would come this quick,” she said of her goal. “I was competing with experienced runners and I was happy. I started running three years ago and I found out the Air Force had a team.”
Airman Martell trained with Colonel Wasson and Captain Schlarb for about two months prior to the competition.
“A month before, the training became intense,” she said. “I wouldn’t know what I was doing if it was not for Colonel Wasson.”
According to Steve Brown, chief of Air Force Sports, Colonel Wasson had his “best run” at the national championship and finished fifth overall in the nation in the Men’s Masters 8-kilometer race.
The three racers advance to represent their teams at the United States Armed Forces World Military Championship in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Africa, being held Dec. 2 to 6. Colonel Wasson will serve as the head of a delegation to take the combined team to the international championship.