Dyess Airmen competed on USAFE track and field team

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shannon Hall
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Two of Dyess' very own Airmen were selected to represent the U.S. Air Forces in Europe at the 2015 Headquarter Air Command Track and Field Championship, May 26-28.

Senior Airmen Kwesi Toney, 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron equipment accountability clerk, and Parnelle Shands, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, competed in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in different running and field events at the championship meet.

"It was an awesome experience," Toney said. "My goal was to produce new personal records, make new friends and build bonds across the waters and that's exactly what I did."

To participate, both Airmen had to submit a specialized training request form that highlighted their most significant performances to the Dyess fitness center. It was then input to the Air Force Personnel Center for selection by the coaches of the Air Force sports program. The coaches review packages from all bases and then decide who gets to attend the training camp and championship meet.

Both Airmen trained on their own to better themselves and help prepare them for this opportunity. Shands trained with his Amateur Athletic Union coach back in Virginia and joined the Cool Running Track club here in Abilene. Toney changed his diet, worked out twice a day and competed in local meets.

"I found out about the Air Force track team from a rival high school coach, and it has been set in my mind that I have to make it. Ever since then I've been training wisely," Shands said.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience helped them grow not only as athletes, but also as better Airmen.

"Being around other airmen of all ranks, officers and enlisted, helps you better yourself," Shands said. "You share experiences and build a stronger bond when we all have the same passion and love for the sport."

They participated in a training camp at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 22-24. While there, the coaches evaluated each member and decided who would compete in what event at the championship. Once the training camp was complete, the team flew to the HQ AIRCOM Track and Field host site in the Netherlands for the championship.
Shands came in 1st place in long jump. Toney came in 6th place in long jump, 8th in javelin and 2nd in the 4x100 meter relay.

Both Airmen are currently applying to compete in Korea at the Council International du Sport Militaire in October 2015, which is a multidisciplinary organization that hosts more than 20 competitions annually for armed forces of 134 countries. The selection process mirrors that of the training camp and accepted Airmen will be notified later this year.