NCAA Outdoor Championships

Runners compete in the women's steeplechase June 12 at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Air Force's Mahala Norris, third from left, about to land in water, won the race.

Mahala Norris added to her "overwhelming" haul in recent months, becoming the first Air Force woman to be named Mountain West Track and Field Outdoor Athlete of the Year.

Norris set conference meet records in the 5,000-meter run (15:39.12) and 3,000 steeplechase (9:44.1) before capturing an NCAA title in the steeplechase — the first Falcons woman to win a title on the track and just the fourth D1 title in the program’s history in the sport.

On Thursday night Norris, who graduated in May, will complete in the steeplechase finals at Olympic Trials.

“It’s been overwhelming, but it’s kind of nice,” Norris told the Mountain West Network’s Jesse Kurtz.

“It’s kind of nice.”

Air Force had taken the conference’s outdoor track and field athlete of the year three times — Joey Uhle (2015), Jamiel Trimble (2016) and Michael Rhoads (2019).

The Falcons will have three graduates running in the 10,000 finals at the Olympic trials Saturday — Maria Mettler, Hannah Everson and Jaci Smith. Mettler (Air Academy) and Everson (Liberty) were local products before competing for the academy.

Continuing with the local theme, the Mountain West’s top male track and field award went to Eric Hamer of Colorado State, who won the 5K and 10K conference titles. Hamer is a Monument native and Palmer Ridge graduate.

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